Team: The Fire-Breathing Rubber Duckies
Hometown: Portland, OR
Tesca Fitzgerald, age 12 (front row, far left): "I wasn't very interested in technology before, but FIRST has inspired me to become a computer software engineer. I already know four different computer programs. Last year I found a way to enable the robot to read and write text files."
Taytlyn Fitzgerald, age 14 (back row, far left): "When I was only one of two girls on a team, it was hard. I spent that entire year sitting on a radiator watching the boys program the robot. Our coach said, 'Boys are the surgeons and girls are the nurses: You hand the boys the pieces to build the robot.' I knew better."
Alumna: Cynthia Botello, age 19
Hometown: Phoenix, AZ; here with her 2007 winning team
"I'm a sophomore at Arizona State University, studying to become a project engineer. I don't think I would have gone to college at all if not for FIRST. My high school was 96 percent Hispanic. Girls in our community aren't going to school, especially not for science and engineering. But once you get into FIRST, you see that it's fun. Before FIRST, I didn't even have any idea what an engineer was, but now I feel I can be successful in a male-dominated field—and I can inspire my younger sisters to stay in school."
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