STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
An all-girls science club set a goal for themselves. The girls from San Fernando High School near Los Angeles used their science skills to help the homeless.
UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: We are DIY Girls.
UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: We have built a solar-powered backpack to...
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
That solar-powered backpack developed by the DIY Girls actually folds out into a tent complete with solar panels, charging stations and lights. DIY Girls is a program that helps young women from low-income areas get involved in science.
GREENE: And they noticed a rise in homelessness, so the girls spent a year developing their tent with the help of a $10,000 grant from MIT. They did all the work themselves, coding the solar panels to stitching the tent, everything. Here they are on a sewing machine.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "GET READY FOR THIS")
2 UNLIMITED: Y'all ready for this?
GREENE: Sewing to music. But then after all that work...
EVELYN GOMEZ: We ran some safety tests and some water repellency tests. And we pretty much destroyed the first prototype and had to start over again with the second one.
GREENE: Oh, no.
INSKEEP: Great idea, didn't work. Evelyn Gomez there, executive director of DIY Girls, says the second prototype did work. She says it's important for girls to get comfortable with science and tech.
GOMEZ: People in general, they just tap into what they know. And this project is a prime example of that. These girls saw a problem in their community back when they decided to take action. And if we have more young women and more people of color and more people from low-income communities that are able to identify a problem within our communities, then we're going to be better equipped to solve those problems because we've lived through them.
GREENE: The next step is to find a partner who can get the tent mass produced. Gomez hopes this is just the first of many inventions for the DIY Girls. She says several of them will be studying science, tech and engineering in college this fall.
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