Who has designed and built a solar-powered tent for the homeless?

Answer: An all-female team of high school engineers.

by / February 22, 2018

The team of 12 young women from California's San Fernando High School was put together by a nonprofit called DIY Girls, which teaches engineering, math and science skills to young women from low-income communities. After discussing a range of ideas for their project, the team members chose one to help the homeless because it was an issue that hit close to home. The homeless population in their hometown of San Fernando has increased significantly in recent years, but “because we come from low-income families ourselves, we can’t give them money,” said team member Daniela Orozco to Mashable.

In order to build their tent, the team was awarded a grant of $10,000 from the Lemelson-MIT Program. They also had to learn how to code and use a 3-D printer, as well as solder and sew in order to build the prototypes. There were two, although one has since been destroyed by rigorous testing. The other will be presented by the team members at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology young inventors conference.

Team member Chelly Chavez told Mashable, “You’re learning new things you’ve never even heard of or even thought of.” Chavez learned the C++ programming language during this project, and her teammate Paola Valtierra said she and another teammate are the “only two junior girls in our AP calculus class, which has way more guys than girls. But we’re gonna change that.”