Arizona Women Finish 1st in Country and 3rd in World in International Robotics Competition

A group of Arizona women, also known by their team name, ‘Desert Wave’, were recently named first place champions in the country and third place champions in the world at an International Robotics Competition.

Desert Wave competed together for the first time only last month. They are one of two teams in the world consisting of only females. Over half of Desert Wave’s members are Arizona State University freshmen.

“Engineering as a whole is obviously male dominated and you can see it in your classes,” Samantha Nieto, a member of the team and junior at ASU, said. “When I go to class, there can be 100 students and only 2 to 3 girls.”

Nieto has firsthand experience with being overshadowed by her male classmates in such a male dominated field.

“I kind of feel like I can’t ask questions, or I have to keep to myself,” she said.

Desert Wave was created thanks to the Si Se Puede Foundation and ASU who wanted to create an all-female team to promote women in STEM.

Desert Wave created an underwater robot that performs tasks.

Nieto wants other women to be confident in themselves and know that they are worthy to be a part of STEM.

“Believe in yourself, ask questions,” she said. “Because what’s the worst thing that could happen?”

Winning 1st place and 3rd place has given Desert Wave the jolt of self-confidence they need to keep flourishing as women in a male dominated environment.

“It seems like such a little thing, but to me it’s made a whole difference in my life,” Nieto said.

Desert Wave is already preparing for next year’s competition.

Click here to learn more about team Desert Wave.




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