Ant-Man: Micro-Tech Challenge

Raspberry_Pi_AM_MC_LogoEven though it’s fairly small, Raspberry Pi can help make big things happen. It’s why we’re pleased to team up with Marvel to offer high school girls within the United States a chance to compete for a trip to Hollywood, California to go to the premiere of Ant-Man and attend a special workshop from Walt Disney Imagineers at the Disneyland® Resort. Read on for more details:

Were you born to build with tiny tech; do you rave about robotics; are your parts and processors pocket-sized, and your artwork actuated? Have you ever wanted to inspire other young girls to share your passion? Then Marvel’s Ant-Man: Micro-Tech Challenge is for you!

Along with Marvel, we’re looking throughout the United States for girls ages 14-18 in grades 9-12 to create and share micro-technology-based DIY projects they have built using readily accessible and found materials. Upon completion of the contest, build instructions for the winning projects will be provided to a STEM-based girls program in the winners’ home community. Each winner will have the opportunity to lead a workshop in building her project for the selected program in her community.

Each Marvel’s Ant-Man: Micro-Tech Challenge applicant will design and build a DIY project using at least one inexpensive and readily available micro-technology component of her choosing. Projects can be utilitarian, artistic, or just plain fun.

After completing their projects, applicants will be asked to submit a short video demonstrating them and explaining how the projects will inspire other girls to pursue interests in science, technology, engineering, or math.

Micro-technology, such as a Raspberry Pi, can enable tinkerers, makers, builders, and future Imagineers to execute big ideas with an inexpensive base component that fits in a girl’s pocket.

Each winner will:

  • Receive a trip to Hollywood, California for the winner and her parent to walk the red carpet at the World Premiere of Marvel’s Ant-Man on June 29, 2015.
  • Attend a special “The Evolution of Technology” workshop on June 30, 2015 at the Disneyland® Resort where they will meet Walt Disney Imagineers who will introduce them to the broader scope of technology and how innovation is inspired during a behind-the-scenes tour of the Disneyland® Resort.
  • Receive a tour of the Walt Disney Studios.

Winners of Marvel’s Ant-Man: Micro-Tech Challenge will be notified by Tuesday, June 16, 2015. Winners and one legal guardian will travel to Los Angeles, California on Sunday, June 28, 2015.

Please visit http://www.ant-manchallenge.com/ to see the official rules for full eligibility and entry requirements, prize description, conditions, and limitations.

28 comments

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Shame that the organizers chose to make this a gender issue. I’m sure both boys *and* girls would enjoy participating.

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Yeah, it would have been better to offer two prizes – one for each gender – than to exclude one arbitrarily. After all, if it had been a male only competition there would be uproar.

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Mhm, I’d quite enjoy this competition.

I suppose I was born the wrong gender ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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Just be aware that if we in education don’t get girls exposed to STEM fun by the fourth grade, we generally lose the opportunity after that as that’s when the anti-STEM peer pressure starts. “Oh, you don’t want to learn that stuff, then boys will think you’re smarter than them and you’ll never get asked for a date or get married.” I kid you not, it starts that early and is that direct.

There’s not as much of a stigma for boys, and we natural nerds (of both persuasions) were going to wind up playing with technology anyway (OK, and occasionally getting some work done too, boss :) ). We can’t have too many of these kinds of challenges for girls and yes, boys, too.

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“We can’t have too many of these kinds of challenges for girls and yes, boys, too.”

Agreed. But I think that even a single challenge that purposely excludes participants due to gender is one too many.

I have two boys. They’re both very interested in the upcoming Ant-Man movie and would be out of their minds to go to a premiere and tour WD Studios. I’m not going to even bother telling them about this contest because I would immediately have to follow it up with “but even if you tried to enter you wouldn’t win, because you’re not a girl.”

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It seems to me you’re valuing (certain) rights over reality. If an organization were giving money to the poor, would you complain because it excluded rich people? If not, could you say why?

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African American men are also under-represented in STEM(http://www.usnews.com/news/stem-solutions/articles/2015/05/07/african-american-men-the-other-stem-minority).

Can we also have a competition just for black boys please? It would read like this: “SEEKING CREATIVE, DIY BLACK BOYS WHO ARE LOOKING TO FIND THEIR INNER SUPERHEROES” and “we’re looking throughout the United States for black boys ages 14-18 in grades 9-12”. I think it would be a winner.

Helen Lynn

It’s quite true that girls are not the only group under-represented in STEM, and initiatives to address other types of inequality do indeed exist. Examples include Coding While Black and Black Girls CODE (the latter, incidentally, is apparently planning to start Black Boys CODE in 2016).

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You are confusing ongoing and wide-ranging initiatives that make opportunities where previously there were none with a one off competition that removes opportunities where previously there were some.

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As this competition hasn’t run before, then there was no previous ‘some’.

Helen Lynn

Because girls have often absorbed stereotypes about boys being better suited to STEM, they may not feel inclined to compete, or even participate, in related activities alongside boys, despite the fact that they actually outperform boys in many STEM subjects at school. Girls-only activities are one way to mitigate the effects of this damaging stereotype. It isn’t that the organisers have “[made] this a gender issue”; it already is a gender issue, and the organisers are trying to address that.

I have two sons too, and I’m entirely happy that these sorts of activity aren’t open to them; after all, plenty are, and it’s unlikely that it will ever occur to them that computing isn’t for boys, so they won’t need particular support to overcome that misperception.

These kinds of events aim to provide additional support for girls in an attempt to address the damage done by inequality and stereotypes and level things up a bit. There’s no suggestion that they should replace activities open to both genders.

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“There’s no suggestion that they should replace activities open to both genders.”

Which would be a great sentiment if Marvel/Disney/Pi also had a similar competition for everyone. If you are a boy who loves Ant-Man there is no competition you can enter with prizes like this.

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Firstly – To any high school girls (or teachers or parents of) who might be reading:

Please don’t be put off by this comment section. This isn’t about you – We welcome you and can’t wait to make cool stuff with you.

OK… RE:

At this age partaking in activities is heavily reliant on parents and teachers too.

RE: Sisters in STEM. [Mod: this is in reply to a previous comment that has been deleted at the request of its author]
Lucky you! You have parents that work in STEM that had no preconceived ideas that their daughters shouldn’t get involved STEM subjects. Not everyone is this lucky, some parents are not as open to the idea.

It maybe as overt as “Girls don’t make robots, dear” or just a “Oh really? You’re interested in that?! Well, I’m not sure [I want to drive you there, spend time, spend money etc, when I’m not sure that you’re going to enjoy it/find it useful – because girls don’t make robots dear”.

This competition and others like it – that ‘Girls Only’ line is directed at parents and teachers too – it’s saying “We’re talking directly to Girls – this is for them. Rethink your expectations, because they will be welcome here. They won’t be left out or made to feel weird because they’re a girl. It’ll be useful for them, they wont be made to feel stupid.”

Hopefully in future we won’t need to do this – because everyone will know that STEM comps and activities can be for everyone. But for now we *do* need this.

“This argument can be arbitrarily applied to every single industry where a perceived (or actual) gender imbalance exists. ”
.. What? Because there is a problem. I am always astonished when people say “Yeah, but what about lorry drivers? We’re not trying to get more women lorry drivers?” Well – I’m not. We’re not. We are a small computer programme charity – we’ll focus on that and support other sectors who work on their imbalance.

Anecdotally – I have no doubt I could have had a STEM career, but I used ~6 years studying creative subjects, because I’m a girl who makes things – and I don’t have parents who work in STEM – Every teacher saw me as creative, didn’t seem to notice I was good at Maths too (my best subject as GCSE, in the top 3 in my school) and was I put forward for/told about any tech outings or comps? Girls don’t make robots, dear.

It’s a real shame that this is another thread of men stamping their feet about not getting everything. I almost want to laughcry – Activities that attempt to invite new people to this amazing sector are met with existing members trying to push and shove other people out of the way in favour of more of the same.

We have such a long way to go

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“It’s a real shame that this is another thread of men stamping their feet about not getting everything.”

Color me crazy, but it seems to me that if you reversed the genders mentioned in the comments and the contest description, the discourse here would have been commended for being “gender inclusive” and “progressive”.

But apparently because boys are being excluded….that’s ok, because girls haven’t been sufficiently encouraged in the past? The solution to discrimination is….more discrimination?

I highly doubt any group of boys ages 14-18 (the eligibility age for this contest) are responsible for any gender discrepancy in STEM today. So why are they being penalized for it?

Having a separate prize for girls and boys would have eliminated the problem.

But what do I know? I’m a foot-stamping male, who has apparently been served the world on a silver platter.

Casual sexism, indeed.

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If you want to get more people into a field, it makes sense to target under-represented demographics. Do you not see the difference between excluding a minority and excluding the majority? They’re entirely different situations, so flipping the genders to make the argument makes no sense.

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“The solution to discrimination is… more discrimination?”

Discrimination is a requirement, otherwise you’d be confused about the difference between your arm and your elbow. One solution to unjustified discrimination (and more often, institutional inertia, not discrimination as such) is to compensate for it with the opposite behaviour.

By analogy one solution to a group taking from another is to take from that group. If Georgie takes one of Peter’s cakes, we then take it and give it back. This does not make us his moral equivalents.

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I live less than 15 mins. from disneyland in California. Can I come and meet some Raspberry Pi people even though I’m a middle school boy, and ineligible for competition? Would love to share about the project I’m working on in using the Raspberry Pi in police shooting training targets (maybe enter it in a future competition for BOYS).

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As an older, successful male in a STEM field I think this is a great idea. Simply because of the gender disparity in STEM nearly all competitions that are gender neutral are effectively male only. Studies show that girls do far better in STEM when they are in female only environments–anecdotes aside. It is sad when a member of the majority who does not see himself as member of the majority has to complain about a an event that is designed to increase opportunities for the minority. Falling back on the tired argument that favoring the minority is doing them a disservice is being disingenuous. The world IS the way it is. While ideally it should be better to give both genders equal opportunity the fact is there are other social factors that reduce situations that the majority see as equal to situations that actually repress the minority. Complaining about attempts to entice females into STEM using female-only contests shows either an ignorance of social reality or just plain sour grapes. Personally, I find the fact that Disney whose long track record of female suppressive social programming is a part of this to be somewhat comical yet at the same time impressive. This is exactly what I expect from the Pi Foundation and I am happy that some of my money goes to help make things like this possible.

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While it’s great that you are trying to get more females involved with computing I feel that inclusion through exclusion isn’t productive.

It’s like inviting an unpopular kid to a party and no one else turns up because he’s been excluded before.

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I was in the library on Sunday with my son and daughter and they came across this: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Boys-Activity-Book-Usborne-Activities/dp/1409535703

Instead of questioning why only boys might like robots and rockets and making stuff they didn’t bat an eyelid. And that’s why we need more empowering competitions and events like this.

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Only 2 weeks to create and complete the competition entry, including a video of the result? That sounds a bit tight.
Also the kind of multi-skilled requirements better suited to group entry from schools?.
I’m probably ‘out of date’ for thinking that suitable video production facilities are also out of the reach of many – unless the entry is to be made on a suitable mobile phone system, whicb apparently so many have now 8-)

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At least here in America, the times have changed. If you looked at the various class rosters for college STEM inclusive classes, you would find that most enrolled persons are female, as well as those those teaching the classes themselves. Does that mean that we foot-stamping males are not attending college, or that females here are getting MORE exposure to STEM than males? Males seem the more interested in these types of projects privately, however females are getting the most exposure. This stereotype of females being uninterested was the standing 15 years ago, hence the lack of the gender in STEM jobs, but the age group you are targeting here is more involved than ever! This is also why parents discourage the robot building, because they were raised within this stereotype! (Enter foot stamp here) We are not telling you to exclude females, but to merely include us males, because the bonds of stereotypes have been broken!!!!! We are not receiving these types of incentives merely because we are more interested in the subject, while you target the more exposed sex. I respect your ideals, but please, re-examine your motives.

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Really? So equality means boys and girls should always be able to share the same activities and be allowed to enter the same contests?

Have you ever complained because there are no women playing on the world cup? What about NBA games? What about men participating in Miss Universe (as idiotic I find that contest)?

Maybe all this ranting isn´t really about unequality, but about (some) guys feeling they´re too important to be left out of the picture.

Me? My only problem is living too far away from the real world and being unable to have my daughter enter the contest. Maybe I should start one locally…

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We Males simply wanted the chance to enter this competition. It wasn’t about equality (mostly) it was that we wanted a chance too. Not for inclusion, not to reduce sexism, but merely because this is a great challenge. Then, when we Males vocalize, the other gender gets defensive, and brings up the fact that “we think we are better,” and that we are “foot stamping males,” and then we have to defend our territory, as we have these past days, coming to the result you see before you. As Tom Fool says, this is a great competition, males simply want a part in it because, as I previously said, times are changing. My previous post was meant to be a defensive statement to Rachel Rayns.

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Sad… the response to this excellent project is unbelievable. I’ve worked in embedded engineering for over 40 years and worked with dozens of fine engineers and programmers – all but 2 were male. Here’s a positive effort to help more women get into STEM and the resultant bitching from the various people who replied is just disgusting.

What are you afraid of?

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I think the issue here is that eventually the girls are going to have to be in the workplace with boys. Separating them doesn’t fix the problem. If you shelter them, the problems just get worse later. The boys haven’t been taught to accept the girls as peers. You have merely enforced the idea that they can’t perform on an equal footing. Teaching the boys and girls to work together and appreciate the difference in how they approach problems is the key… That and getting girls to stop bullying each other into not liking math and science. There are other underrepresented groups this could also be said about too.

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Too bad everyone is fussing about the girls-only aspect of this. Sort of a narrow reaction.
I am bummed in the short deadlines for it. I just sat down with my 15 year old to talk about this contest. Too soon for her to come up with anything. This is a missed opportunity to motivate girls for the summer vacation.

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Perhaps the whole thing is a little late? Certainly an afterthought. Of the described proportions. Quite frankly the girls probably are not well served. However maybe Stan Lee can be shamed into going the extra mile. His heart is generally in the right place!

Write to “Amy Farah Fowler” to see if she will back stop it. She is an astute person who does have the credentials for real.

Reminds me of a certain Big Bang episode. Just where is the ex-prof from Moscow U? Go Polar Bears!

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