How I Made It

Madison Vickery, Member of an All-Female Robotics Team

Madison Vickery is one of six members of the Ontario-based Amazon Warriors all-female robotics team—which advanced to the world championships earlier this year. Here, she tells FLARE how she made it

Madison Vickery; @Team6875

What grade are you in?

I am in grade 11 and I would eventually like to study to be a mechanical engineering technologist or an industrial mechanical millwright.

Tell us about your biggest accomplishment to date!

As a part of the Amazon Warriors, [our all-girls robotics team], our biggest accomplishment was making it to the world championships and placing 14th in our division and earning the highest-ranked rookie seed. Personally, my biggest accomplishment is being a part of the Provincial GIRLS in STEM Student Executive Advisory Council where I am awarded the opportunity to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in STEM fields.

What’s the worst advice you’ve ever gotten in relation to following your dreams?

‘If something is too hard, just step back and let others do it.’ Being told to not challenge myself goes against everything I believe in—it’s in challenging myself that I feel empowered.

What would you say has been the most significant challenge in life you’ve had to face to date? How did you overcome it (or learn to live with it)?

One of the biggest struggles that I have had to overcome is the daily struggle with my mental health—I have anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I believe that the stigma surrounding mental health needs to be challenged and discussed. There is no shame in taking care of your health.   

When you’re feeling low about school or something else, what’s the one thing you always do/watch/read/listen to bring yourself back up again?

As part of the Amazon Warriors team, whenever we encounter a problem, we take a step back, reassess the situation and find a solution… then we dance! Personally, however, I am more introverted and like to watch movies or listen to music to bring myself back up again. There’s nothing a good zombie or horror movie can’t fix.

When you enter the workforce in your chosen field, do you expect to be paid equally to male counterparts with similar education and experience?

I believe we should be paid fairly and equally, unfortunately I expect that my team members and I will not be paid the same as men with the same qualifications and that our male co-workers will be offered opportunities for higher paid positions.

What’s the number-one biggest issue facing young women your age in Canada right now? How can this be fixed/eliminated?

The stereotypes and expectations we face. Young women are expected to do “girly things” and have perfect figures, but these expectations are not realistic and can lower your self-esteem. If a girl wants to work on machinery, then they should be able to do that without facing judgement. I think that this issue can be fixed by girls going after their dreams and becoming role models for other girls to follow in their footsteps.

What’s your best piece of advice for other young women who want to make a difference in the world?

You’re capable of so much more than you think—all you have to do is take one small step at a time towards your ultimate goal and keep pushing forward.

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