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Interview with Molly & Lily Sand: Sisters paving the way for the next female generation of Robotics

July 13, 2022


Written by: Katie Katie Henningsen, ARM Institute Summer Marketing Intern

Earlier this month, we interviewed Molly & Lilly Sand, two sisters from Philadelphia, PA who are involved within their respective robotics teams and working towards a future in the robotics industry. Molly and Lily both attend Central High School in Philadelphia and play different roles on different robotics teams at their High School. Molly was involved on her school's co-ed robotics team and Lily was part of the all-girls robotics team. 

Molly recently graduated from Central High school and is planning to study Neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania. She was a member of the robotics team throughout Highschool. She was a member of the Business team, which means that she was in charge of managing all four of her high school's teams. 145 students participated in total across the teams. Through her role, Molly was responsible for deciding who would go on which team and ensuring the operations across all the teams and programs went smoothly. 

Lily Sand is a rising junior at Central High School and a co-captain on her all girls robotics team. Lily has been involved with robotics since middle school and was a driving force to bring a robotics program to her school, with the help of her father and her homeroom teacher. 

In this interview, we explore how Lily and Molly got started in robotics, their future goals, and more. 


1. What is your favorite thing about robotics? 

Molly said: "My favorite part is the frustration that comes with robotics and struggling with a specific project or getting something to work and that the payoff of finally figuring it out or getting something to work is always greater than the frustration and annoyance of working with these projects." She also said that she likes getting to teach kids about robotics, helping them with their projects, and knowing that she is helping make a difference. 

Lily explains that her favorite thing about robotics is "Having the opportunity to work with different types of tools on projects and getting to see the progress of these projects as you go. I like getting to watch what you are creating turn into something super exciting." She also expresses that she loves getting opportunity to spread her knowledge of knowledge to the next generation and showing them why robotics is so important.

Both sisters are very involved in teaching the next generation of roboticists by going to schools and working with non-profits and camps to teach kids about robotics and giving them the opportunity to learn and have hands-on experiences with robotics. They also said they love the opportunity to be able to make a difference in younger students' lives and watch them grow their knowledge.

2. What are some challenges of being on an all girls robotics team? What is the best part about being on an All girls team?

This question was specific to Lily, who is the captain of her all girls team. She explained "There were definitely several challenges and inequalities we are faced with being on an all girls team, specifically while competing against numerous male dominated teams. Unfortunately, we were faced with the challenges of sexism and experienced how differently we were being treated than the boys on different teams within their program."

So how did Lily deal with these challenges? She spoke up, showed evidence of unequal treatment, talked about how that treatment made her team feel and came up with a solution to fix things moving forward. 

Lily explains that her favorite part about being on a female dominated team was being able to work with girls with the like-minded interests and liked that everyone was extremely motivated. This helped them work better as a team while also having a very organized structure while working on projects. 

3. What advice you would give to young girls who want to become involved with robotics? 

Advice Molly would give young girls who want to become involved with robotics is to, "Learn to stand up for yourself and your work early on. Have confidence in yourself, learn and know the value of you, your work, and everything you bring to the table. Be motivated and push yourself to work hard.". Even though breaking into the industry may be tough at times, Molly reminds us that progress is being made for women in robotics and all STEM fields.

Lily's advice to young girls interested in robotics would be to remember, "That it is not your job to accommodate other people. Be aware that not everyone is going to have the same mindset as you. Be your own person and know your own worth and what you can bring to the table. It's also okay to be excited and to show emotions." 

4. How do you believe the robotics industry can become more diverse and inclusive? 

Molly remarks that, "From growing up in the inner city public school system in Philly, it was brought to my attention how much of bias is affected by social class, gender, race, and everything in between. I saw it first hand while attending competitions." She emphasized the fact, that most robotics and STEM programs in the city schools typically do not have as many resources or funding as the schools in suburban areas or private schools., This gives suburban and private schools a bigger advantage in robotics competitions. 

Lily comments that, "I believe that there tends to be a lack of women in STEM, but not because they are actively being pushed out. I think that most opportunities in STEM are typically geared toward men. That is what tends to weed out a number of potential prospects and women from working in STEM fields." 

Both sisters are involved with a non-profit in Philly, whose mission is to create equal opportunities in STEM fields for women and ensure that all students have access to the resources needed to succeed. This has also given Lily and Molly, as well as other members of the Central High School robotics program, the opportunity to make a difference in young students' lives. They go to local elementary and middle schools to teach students about robotics and provide hands-on experience.     

5. What motivates you? 

Something that motivates Molly is "Learning about the endless opportunities in robotics and how robotics experience can be used in several different industries and jobs. and how technology is advancing everyday due to the technologically world we live in and how the skills she has learned thus far from being involved in robotics can be used and all the future opportunities that are available within reach." 

Lily comments that what inspires and motivates her is "The leaders and those who have been working in the industry and how they have succeeded on their own journey's and paved the way for young girls like herself, specifically someone who she is inspired by is American Engineer and Astronaut, Mae  C. Jemison." 

6. What are your future career aspirations? 

Molly has just graduated from high school. She will be attending the University of Pennsylvania in the fall and is planning on studying Neuroscience. When asked about her future career aspirations she responded, "I am super interested in neuroscience and artificial intelligence (AI). In my future career, I would like to find a way to combine or work with both subjects by learning how AI can filter into neuroscience and help specific discoveries. I have always been super intrigued by the brain, how it works, and how we can quantify the measurements of the brain. Much of the human brain is undiscovered. " 

Lily just completed her sophomore year so she is only halfway through her high school journey, but she does have a general idea of what career path she would like to pursue after graduation. Lily is interested in a career in aerospace engineering. She would love to become an astronaut and go to space. Her lifetime career goal is to spend the night on the International Space Station. 

7. How do you plan to use your experience in robotics to propel your future? 

Molly is very close to starting the next chapter of her life by going to college. She states "Leaving the robotics team and preparing for a future of new opportunities and experiences. I am looking forward to using my knowledge from robotics in the field of Neuroscience." She also looks forward to exploring AI and finding ways that the two fields can intersect, as it is a growing industry. 

Lily credited robotics with giving her many different career paths in STEM fields. Thanks to the skills she learned with her robotics team, she feels like she will be prepared for a variety of education and career options after high school.

8. Who is someone who has impacted your journey in Robotics thus far? And how they have impacted you?  

Both Lily and Molly cited one of their Robotics Coaches, who joined their program this past year as someone who has had a positive impact on their robotics journeys. They said that this Coach goes above and beyond to keep everyone interested, is always available to help, and pushes the students to learn and become the best version of themselves. One example is this Coach working with Lily over the summer on a variety of projects, including building a computer and 3D printed. He has become a big mentor and role model for both girls in such a short amount of time." 

Getting Started in Robotics 

If you are like Molly & Lily and could see yourself pursuing a career in Robotics in the future but you are not sure where to start, visit! You can learn about future career options available in the robotics Industry and find a ARM endorsed training program that is the perfect fit for you. also offers numerous other resources to help get you started on your very own robotics Journey. 


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