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National Women’s History Month Student Spotlight: Jane Rickards, Robotics and Automated Technology

Janke Rickards, ROB

March is National Women’s History Month. EASTERN is celebrating by spotlighting several of our successful female students and alum. Today’s student spotlight features Jane Rickards, an EASTERN Robotics and Automated Technology/Abington Senior High School junior, who chose the Robotics and Automated Technology program because she has always been fascinated with building and engineering, starting as a child with her Lego set.

Recently, Jane’s History class at Abington Senior High School did an assignment on important women such as Emilia Erhardt and Kamala Harris. To Jane, this was the perfect lesson to celebrate National Women’s History Month, and to learn more about these important women who achieved so much. “I want to be someone who breaks barriers for women in technology as well,” said Jane.

When Jane was in tenth grade at Abington Senior High School, she took a Coding class, and entered a 3D printing contest, and won! She called her creation a Dodeca Squid, a squid with twelve legs that she made into a tree ornament. Jane first heard about the Robotics and Automated Technology program from her Coding and Math instructor at Abington Senior High School, Mr. Han. She then started hearing daily announcements about EASTERN and decided to look it up and see what the school had to offer. That led her to attend EASTERN’s Open House and found Robotics and Automated Technology to be a perfect fit for her interests.

In the Robotics and Automated Technology program, Jane is known as a leader in her class. She works hard to stay ahead of her assignments and deadlines and is now helping to create EASTERN’s SkillsUSA Chapter Display. SkillsUSA is EASTERN’s student leadership organization. Initially, Jane thought she would keep to herself and quietly do her work, because she was not sure how her classmates would react to her being the only female in the class. “I have gotten to know all of my classmates, I am respected in the classroom, and respected by my instructor, Mr. Passante.”

Jane is inspired by the many great women recognized during the month of March, but her mom is the one who inspires her most. “My mom has always encouraged me to do what I want to do,” said Jane. “She supported my decision to attend EASTERN. My mom has accomplished so much and has come so far in life. She makes me want to work hard. She has a master’s degree, and is a nurse in the OR, and still continues her education.”


Jane’s advice to any potential Robotics and Automated Technology student is, “Always push yourself. Even if you are the only female in the room. Be the boss,” said Jane. “Mr. Passante relies on me in the class. Do not be afraid to take a chance.”

After graduation from EASTERN and Abington Senior High School, she is interested in attending Penn State Main Campus to major in Mechanical Engineering.