The Middle School Girls STEM Empowerment Program was held on Friday, October 25, at Deer Park Middle Magnet School. The event was part of the Maryland STEM Festival and held to encourage young girls to seek education and careers in the STEM fields. There were several organizations there to support the project which included Towson University Cisco Academy Support Center, Million Women Mentors (Maryland Chapter), Society of Women Engineers, Young women in Bio and the Baltimore Police Forensic Division. The program was open to the students at Deer Park Middle Magnet school and many girls and their parents came out to hear about the many opportunities the different organizations had to share. They offered mentoring opportunities, participation in projects geared to inspire young women in STEM related fields and support for women already in the field.

The presenter for the evening was 7th grader, Archi Marrapu. She was there with her parents and little sister Anisha. Archi attends Rachel Carson Middles School in Fairfax County, Virginia. Her presentation was based on her proposal to develop an artificial intelligence powered bionic arm. Her theory is based on programming a micro-controller like the Raspberry Pi or Arduino, implanted into a prosthetic arm connected to a patient’s neurological system. The arm would also have an eye in the middle of the palm that would be used guide the patient’s movement. What a revolutionary idea!

Archi was an articulate, dynamic speaker with brilliant ideas. She is motivated to learn all she can about science, technology and neurology in order to make her vision a reality. She wants her inventions to help people around the world. She is humbled by the importance of learning about science and she mentors’ girls along with her little sister Anisha, who has developed science experiments of her own. The future is very bright for this young lady as her determination and ambition to spread the word will make her a pioneer of the future. Archi promotes STEM literacy to all girls/women to join STEM fields. She wants to bring the awareness that computer science is NOT for men alone. As a changemaker, she plans to bring the modern technology education to all the students of our communities irrespective of the race or socio-economic status. She strives to improve the balance of diversity in the STEM-related career fields.