According to the Census Bureau’s 2009 American Community Survey, women make up 48% of the workforce in the United States — but just 24% of the workforce in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields. However, many women are fighting to change that statistic, some of whom are only 9 years old.
She isn’t even in middle school yet, but Andie Nugent is already taking the science world by storm with her inventions and creative spirit. This year, along with hundreds of other (primarily male) applicants, the 9-year-old even submitted one of her inventions to a national convention.
For her project, Andie took on the challenge of coming up with something “that would keep kids away from screens.” Her invention, called The Kazi, would give kids a code to unlock their devices, depending on how active they have been. Kids won’t be able to play on their devices until they have been outside or active enough.
On June 3, 2017, The Kazi beat out the competition at the National Invention Convention in Washington DC. Andie won the Technology and Wearables Award.
This award is likely just one of many that Andie will win, since she hopes to continue inventing for decades to come.
“When I grow up, I want to be a problem solver,” says Andie. “When I get older, I think the world will — instead of having an endless amount of problems, I think they’ll have an endless amount of possibilities.”
Even when she’s just playing and being a regular kid, Andie is working toward her dream of being an inventor by playing with toys like littleBits’ new Droid™ Inventor Kit. With her Droid, Andie can practice building, programming, and even robot customization. And by showing her friends these innovative toys, Andie encourages them to expand their horizons, too.
“I think some people are scared to invent,” says Andie. “What if they can’t do it? What if this is too hard?”
“It takes bravery to actually start tinkering with them and to actually come up with an idea that you know some people won’t like. I don’t think they realize that they can do anything that they set their mind to.”
Both of Andie’s parents are very encouraging of her passion for inventing, and her dad is especially proud that she hasn’t let societal pressures get in the way of her dreams.
“There are so many external pressures on girls,” Andie’s dad says. “I think a lot of those pressures have girls thinking STEM… [isn’t what] girls are supposed to be doing. Boys don’t have that same kind of pressure, at least that’s what we see. We wanted to make sure that [Andie] knew that those boundaries weren’t there.”
Check out Andie’s inspiring story below, and make sure to SHARE this video to inspire other young girls to become inventors, too!
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