Nerds Rule in Liberty City

Teenage girls in Liberty City might be the least llikely demographic you'd expect build kick-ass, soccer-playing robots. (Think shrunken R2d2.) But at Northwestern Senior High School, business teacher Kathy Lyden has gotten a group of ten young ladies totally jazzed about robotics. She excitedly points out: "Miami is the world capital for robotics! Did you know that?"

With the help of some glittering grant money from The Children's Trust, Lyden and company are creating obedient eight-inch creatures that will compete in a downsized soccer game at University of Miami. They are holding workshops at the high school this week, where they'll talk about laws of science that are way beyond Riptide's comprehension.(We like to imagine the stiff little men come alive, crack open robot beers, and take over the school once the students are gone for the night.)

Anybody can swing by the school from 3-5:30 p.m. on Thursday in room 2109. Lyden stresses the importance of getting females - especially in the inner city - involved in science. This past weekend, two Northwestern students died in a shooting the Herald called a "bloodbath." This is too common in this part of town, and all the more reason teachers like Lyden are pushing to help kids get out of the ghetto through career-building after school programs. "We don't get opportunities like this," she says. "We're not the Gables or Palmetto. But we're opening doors."

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