Hopkinton High School's Student News Site

HHS Press

Hopkinton High School's Student News Site

HHS Press

Hopkinton High School's Student News Site

HHS Press

Rylee Blair: a Leader in Robotics

Ines Aqdim
Rylee Blair sits in front of her laptop as she works on code for the robotics program.

Senior Rylee Blair recently became the coach for the middle school robotics team. She aims to create a welcoming space for girls and combat sexism in the field.

Before that, Blair had years of experience with designing, building, and programming robots.

“I started doing robotics-related stuff when I was pretty young so in the 4th grade and then actual robotics at school in the 6th grade,” Blair said.

Being getting involved in robotics-related activities, Blair actually started off as a cheerleader. However, an incident helped her pave a new path to a newfound passion.

“I switched [from doing cheerleading] because I have a medical issue with my ear that makes it so I couldn’t cheer anymore. When I stopped participating in cheer, I realized that I really liked building,” Blair recalled.

“I did a lot of building when I was sick with my ear. I took that and I learned about that robotics program so that’s kinda why I started.”

Over time, Blair has achieved significant success in the world of robotics, participating in middle school VEX IQ for three years and high school EDR since her freshman year. Her accomplishments include winning the community award twice and the innovative award once.

These achievements have allowed Blair to learn various things, such as “how to be a part of a team, how to build a robot, and how to program.”

In addition to participating in competitions, Blair has chosen to use her knowledge of robotics to help others succeed.

“I learned a lot in my middle school robotics experience, and it was very important and helpful in my education, so I wanted to help other middle schoolers to do it,” she said.

As a woman in STEM, Blair is driven not only by a passion for robotics but also by a desire to address issues of sexism, especially in middle school robotics.

“I also noticed a big problem with sexism, especially in middle school for robotics, and I almost quit one year because of how brutal it was for me. I want to make sure that that’s not happening to other girls so that’s a big reason why from 9th through 12th grade I would just go down there and help with various tasks.”

Going above and beyond, Blair stepped up to coach the middle school robotics program when she realized they lacked a coach.

“They didn’t have a coach, and they had just won the international award, the best award you can get,” Blair explained. “So I thought it was kind of stupid that they wouldn’t have a coach and not be able to continue. That’s when I decided that I wanted to help them to continue.”

In her role as a leader, Blair recognizes the strengths and weaknesses of her team members.

“I also make sure we stay on top of stuff,” she said, emphasizing her commitment to effective teamwork.

Blair feels that she suits her role well.

“I love being a leader,” she said. “I feel like I fit well with that task, and it just comes naturally to me.”

Looking ahead, Blair hopes to continue her involvement in robotics and assist others on their journeys. Rylee Blair’s story is not just about robotics; it’s about her leadership, mentorship, and the joy of doing what she loves while making a positive impact on others.

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