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Marian Middle School’s ‘Tigerbots’ show that girls can dominate in STEM

Katie Rodas-Santizo, an eighth grader at Marian Middle School, loves watching her robotics designs succeed in challenging tasks.
Emily Woodbury
St. Louis Public Radio
Katie Rodas-Santizo, an eighth grader at Marian Middle School, loves watching her robots successfully complete challenging tasks.

For six years, St. Louis’ only all-girls Catholic middle school has won the Clavius Project Jamboree — a local robotics competition for middle schoolers. Katie Rodas-Santizo, an eighth grader at Marian Middle School, will defend her team’s championship title for the second year in a row.

“It's a great feeling you get when you see all the effort you put into it,” Rodas-Santizo said. Although this will be her last jamboree, Rodas-Santizo will continue learning about robotics when she attends high school next year. “It’s a great way to learn new skills that I know will help me in my future,” she said.

Sierhah Price, interim principal at Marian, said she actively works to shut down the gender biases that many people experience in the field of STEM.

“The girls are capable,” she said. “STEM is a part of our culture.”

Retired engineer Mark Viox volunteers his time to coach Marian’s robotics team because he supports Price’s mission to encourage girls’ interest in STEM.

Though Rodas-Santizo would love to win the competition one last time, to her, the best part of the jamboree is the teamwork.

“If something is wrong, we try to tell each other, ‘It’s OK, keep trying.’”

Related Event
What: Clavius Project Jamboree
When: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Jan. 21
Where: St. Louis University High School, 4970 Oakland Ave, St. Louis, MO 63110

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is produced by Miya Norfleet, Emily Woodbury, Danny Wicentowski, Elaine Cha and Alex Heuer. Avery Rogers is our production assistant. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr. Send questions and comments about this story to talk@stlpr.org.

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