Sophie Charlotte – Inspiring young women to follow a career in computer programming


My name is Sophie Charlotte Keunecke. I am 22 years old. I’m from Duisburg and I’m studying Mechatronics at
Bochum University of Applied Sciences. I love working with robots. When I was little, I wanted to be a princess. But that quickly changed when I realized there’s so much more to discover in the world. The first time I programmed a robot was a very special moment for me. And I was only 12 years old at the time. I never thought I’d be able to do it. But it was so easy … suddenly the robot
was moving and doing exactly what I wanted it to. And when I talk about it, the response is:
Wow, as a woman, that’s pretty cool. It’s unusual, people would say. But I find it a shame that it’s unusual. When I look at my course for example,
or computer science courses, then yeah, I would say it’s a sector dominated by men. But I don’t see why it has to be that way. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a boy or girl; what matters is what you want to achieve. and how hard you work to get there. I was first introduced to Open Roberta
when I was a student assistant. Open Roberta has definitely given me a platform to learn with a more advanced robotics system. It’s showed me things
that I didn’t think about before, because it presents very complex things
in a simple way. So it’s straightforward steps and methods. For me, it was amazing to find that I’d learned so much that I could share what I knew
with the younger generation. And I was happy that
I was able to do this at university. Open Roberta helps me
to transfer this knowledge to the students. It’s simple, it’s colourful. And it’s easy to understand. So it’s maths, computer science, design, mechanics:
everything in one system. Open Roberta represents the future –
which is programming. That sounds cliche, but it’s the thing that
really helps me teach the students, especially when, and this applies to boys or girls,
but usually it’s the girls, when they come to me and say:
“I can’t do this.” Or if there’s a boy,
and unfortunately it’s usually boys, who take things off the girls and say:
“You don’t know how to do it.” Then I step in and tell them:
“No, that’s not true. I managed it. I did it too.” I had to overcome these hurdles, and
I believe that others can too. Then one day, these hurdles won’t exist. That has to be the goal.

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