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Teen robotics instructor seeks to break barriers, inspire others

While many teenage girls in America are often preoccupied with taking selfies or choosing their next outfit, one metr...

Posted: May 4, 2018 7:53 AM
Updated: May 4, 2018 7:53 AM

While many teenage girls in America are often preoccupied with taking selfies or choosing their next outfit, one metro Atlanta girl is focused on breaking barriers in the engineering world.

Madison Kenney, 14, of Sharpsburg, has more than six-years' experience at building robots. For the past three years, she's been captain of an all-girls robotics team called "Robo Chicks Robotics."

But that's not all she does to keep herself busy. She also coaches four teams of younger girls at a southwest Atlanta YMCA, teaching them how to build robots that compete in underwater races.

"I made my first robot when I was around eight years old, said Madison.

She remembers it well. She was attending a Girl Scouts expo that promotes science, technology, engineering and math.

"They had Lego crocodile that I could program to open and close its mouth, and it was just the most amazing thing to me," said Madison. "I wouldn't leave, not for one second, and I told my mom, 'This is what I want to do.'"

Her fascination for building robots became an obsession. So her mother decided to enroll her in an online public charter school called Georgia Connections Academy. That way, Madison could take her classes online and still have flexibility for all her robotics competitions.

She's now a grade level ahead – 9th grade instead of 8th like other girls her age – and she's already enrolled in classes at Georgia Gwinnett College.

Madison's dream is to be a mechatronics engineer.

"It's a combination of mechanical and electrical engineering," she explained.

Madison enjoys teaching younger girls about engineering and robotics. At age 13, she wrote a grant so she could coach the girls at the Young Family YMCA.

"I was really blown away when Madison reached out to me," said the center's executive director Gavin McGuire.

He said watching the girls compete recently in an underwater robotics competition was inspiring.

"It really gave them the confidence that they need not only in school, but you also have a lot of aspiring engineers in that group," McGuire said.

Madison has received numerous awards and accolades for her accomplishments. But that's not what motivates her. What does?

"I really want to set an example for other girls," she said, "showing them, 'Hey, you can do this, too."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 147382

Reported Deaths: 3763
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto973199
Hinds9668197
Harrison6898109
Jackson6178119
Rankin5319100
Lee487695
Madison4666106
Forrest371386
Jones346788
Lauderdale3355144
Lafayette317549
Washington3122107
Lamar283449
Oktibbeha240861
Bolivar240184
Lowndes229763
Neshoba2177115
Panola215849
Marshall209650
Leflore201490
Pontotoc196128
Monroe191477
Sunflower190555
Lincoln186865
Warren172657
Tate165451
Union163925
Pike160658
Copiah159540
Yazoo152039
Scott150729
Coahoma148743
Itawamba148234
Pearl River146567
Alcorn146327
Simpson145153
Prentiss141230
Adams137949
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Leake131943
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Tippah123030
George122324
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Winston119124
Wayne116223
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Marion111646
Attala109833
Tishomingo106542
Chickasaw104132
Newton103629
Tallahatchie96327
Clarke88853
Clay87127
Jasper81222
Walthall75328
Stone73114
Calhoun72913
Montgomery72125
Carroll70614
Lawrence70314
Yalobusha70027
Noxubee69717
Smith69616
Perry65426
Tunica59619
Greene58422
Claiborne57616
Jefferson Davis55017
Humphreys52918
Amite51814
Benton48717
Quitman4816
Webster42114
Kemper41918
Wilkinson38722
Jefferson34211
Franklin3265
Choctaw3117
Sharkey30717
Issaquena1124
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 239318

Reported Deaths: 3532
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson31391491
Mobile19562361
Tuscaloosa12813154
Madison12741146
Montgomery12198235
Shelby1000577
Baldwin847398
Lee764466
Morgan634348
Calhoun6112115
Marshall607954
Etowah606565
Houston517038
DeKalb474736
Cullman428038
Limestone413744
St. Clair409055
Elmore400762
Lauderdale393653
Walker3588108
Talladega343453
Jackson307624
Colbert301941
Blount285539
Autauga268641
Franklin247833
Coffee239715
Dale230354
Dallas224531
Russell22053
Chilton219638
Covington216833
Escambia197431
Chambers173749
Tallapoosa173391
Pike157514
Clarke156319
Marion136535
Winston129923
Lawrence124836
Geneva12028
Pickens119418
Marengo119124
Barbour117010
Bibb116217
Butler114441
Randolph100921
Cherokee100824
Hale94531
Clay90223
Washington90219
Fayette87316
Henry8496
Lowndes79129
Monroe78111
Cleburne75714
Macon72321
Crenshaw70730
Bullock69119
Conecuh68314
Perry6756
Lamar6508
Wilcox63118
Sumter57122
Choctaw41913
Greene41418
Coosa3374
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