Today’s STEM female role model is someone I had the pleasure of meeting and being on a couple panels with a few months ago. Last November at LosCon she was the Maker Guest of Honor and I got to chat with her during and after our panels on Diversity in Fandom and Women in STEM Fields.
Annika O’Brien is the founder of the L.A. Robotics Club and she breaks just about every stereotype out there. She is smart, funny, engaging, and absolutely beautiful inside and out. She’s also a highly visible role model now as the robo-tech for team “Game Over” on the show Robot Combat League.
The robotics club she founded has over 1400 members and I got to witness firsthand the positive affect she has had mentoring kids at the club. She brought along one of her young proteges to the Women in STEM fields panel, and the young lady knocked the audience’s socks of with her poise, passion, wit, the clear explanations of the skills and knowledge she has acquired in the club, and her drive. It’s always nice to see first-hand proof of how effective a mentor is, and clearly Annika is good.
Annika came across as approachable and practical, and has an educational mentality I really appreciate – if you don’t have the skill, work hard to earn it. Can’t weld? Take a welding class. She even paid to take several club members to a welding class with her. She’s happy to guide and assist new members but knows the great importance of learning to do something yourself. This is definitely someone I’d be happy to have my daughter work with and look up to.