Engineering a Future
January 2, 2018
You really have the power to make anything you can imagine,” said Junior Preeti Pidatala on the subject of computer science. Since freshman year, Pidatala has used this fascination to actively participate in robotics team at Wayzata High School.
Currently the lead of programming and Wayzata’s robotics team captain, Pidatala works to help members develop skills and to create a positive environment.
“I manage and assign specific jobs to each person on my programming sub-team, so that everyone has something to do. My job also includes helping to plan our outreach/ volunteering activities as well as our fundraisers,” said Pidatala.
“The biggest challenge for our robotics team is community awareness. Even though our team has been around for over 10 years and has placed in the top 10 at regional competitions, most people in our community and school don’t even know that we exist,” said Pidatala.
Through her role in robotics, Pidatala’s main goal is to make careers in computer science more acceptable for women to take on, according to Pidatala.
“Because of the huge gender gap of students in tech, our team worked hard to recruit more girls onto our team and show them how cool robotics and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) really is,” said Pidatala. “To me, it’s extremely alarming to see how few females are involved in technology compared to men.”
Last year, Pidatala was named Aspirations in Computing National Honorable Mention by the National Center for Women in Technology (NCWIT.) According to the NCWIT website, the award provides females with an interest in computer science “with ongoing engagement, visibility, and encouragement for their
computing-related interests and achievements from high school through college and into the workforce.”
“After I received this award I got many opportunities to expand my knowledge of computing and technologies. For example, I got to go to the Microsoft Headquarters and learn about rising technologies like Visual Reality and self-driving cars.”
Pidatala was also accepted into the Junior Academy, a virtual program that is affiliated with the New York Academy of Sciences, according to the Junior Academy website.
“We were challenged to come up with a solution to help decontaminate water to aid people in need around the world,” said Pidatala. “The coolest thing about this academy is that the winning solutions are actually produced and put into action globally.”
According to Pidatala, she hopes to further her interest in computer science with a possible major in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics in college.
“Many people have a negative stereotype on engineering and technology; they consider it to be boring,” said Pidatala. “As a team, we really want to help people see past their stereotypes.”