By Michael Abeyta

DENVER (CBS4) – On Saturday, Mahsa and Zahra Amiri decided to each build a robot which they will then program to move which is pretty remarkable considering their family has never even owned a computer.

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(credit: CBS)

“I was born in Iran and in that area we couldn’t have a computer for ourselves,” said Mahsa.

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Mahsa and Zahra Amiri
(credit: CBS)

The sisters are taking part in ChickTech Denver. It’s a free program for young girls that teaches them about science and technology.

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(credit: CBS)

“These are young girls who have never necessarily had an opportunity to experience tech either through their schools or through their clubs, so we want to provide them that opportunity,” said Sandra Johnson, a co-director of the ChickTech Denver chapter.

That’s important because women are underrepresented in the ever-growing tech field.

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Sandra Johnson and Elizabeth Gotto (credit: CBS)

“We find that in the community, just as we do in the workforce, there’s still lots of women who are maybe unsure of technology or they don’t trust that they are actually good at it,” Johnson said.

ChickTech wants to change that by exposing young women to tech and giving them confidence in their own abilities.

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(credit: CBS)

“Our goal is really to take those ‘I cant’s’ when they come in the first day and turn them into ‘I can,'” said Elizabeth Gotto, another co-director.

Just like they did for Mahsa and Zahra.

“I thought that the people who work with computers do some difficult stuff that I don’t understand, and I can’t do it, but it was not that hard and pretty fun,” Mahsa said.

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(credit: CBS)

The Program is free for the girls who attend. The girls only need to be nominated by their schools. This year more than 300 girls were nominated, but only 55 girls could attend because of program costs. Gotto and Johnson hope to continue to grow the program and get more sponsors so that they can bring in even more girls next year.

LINK: ChickTech Denver

Michael Abeyta is a 4th generation Coloradan and a Multimedia Journalist for CBS4. His stories can be seen on CBS4 News at 5 & 6. He is on Twitter! Follow him @AbeytaCBS4.

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