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Spelman's Robotics Team De-Programs Bias

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SpelBots Robotics Team members

Members of Spelman College's SpelBots Robotics Team with their robots.

Credit: Spelbots

Junior Jazmine Miller showed off a soccer-playing robot to prospective members of the Spelman Robotics team. "His name is Charles, he's very difficult. That's why it's a he," she laughed.

Creations such as Charles must be programmed to find and kick the ball and prevent an opposing team of robots from scoring in the annual RoboCup World Championship soccer competition. Spelman, the historically black women's college in Atlanta, GA, has been sending robots to the competition since 2005.

Miller's romance with robotics started early. A self-described "world-traveling military kid," she was on the robotics team at her high school. Jonecia Keels, Miller's co-captain, was less sure of a computer career. "For a long time I didn't think I was smart enough to get into computer science. I only saw males in the industry and I just didn't think I had what it took to be a computer programmer," said Keels. Two things helped change her mind.

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