Our Youth

Let Them Speak: Inspired by the Women of NASA

The Robotics Team from The Mary Louis Academy, Jamaica Estates. (Photo: The Mary Louis Academy)

By Danielle Santos, Jillian Kerby and Jewel Jenkins, Student Writers

The Mary Louis Academy’s Robotics Team has strengthened the interest of many students in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) as we worked and planned to build our robot for this year’s theme “Deep Space” at FIRST Competition.

Our efforts were rewarded in the 2019 competition when we won the Imagery Award for “attractiveness in engineering and overall visual aesthetic integration of machine and team appearance.”

TMLA’s 2019 Robotics Team chose the name of Sally Ride for our robot because she was the first American woman in space. However, her work did not end there.

After her space travels, Sally established the Sally Ride Science Organization. This nonprofit organization works for education, diversity, and equality in the science field.

Sally was able to break glass ceilings and provide a pathway for women in the future. The NASA Class of 2017 is a primary result of Sally’s work.

The back of our TMLA shirts has the women’s names from that class. Along with Sally’s major accomplishments, we also chose to name our robot Sally Ride because we, as a team, can look up to these women who have made an impact.

As an all-girls team from an all-girls school, Sally Ride is a big inspiration to us to pursue careers that are predominantly male-dominated and to feel that the sky’s not the limit.


Santos, Kerby and Jenkins are rising juniors at The Mary Louis Academy, Jamaica Estates.

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