ARGO at Seneca


Julia Roach, Contributor

ARGO is an artificial intelligence start up company located in Pittsburgh. They are a company of engineers creating self driving cars. Seneca’s Honors Women Engineering class was lucky enough to have a presentation from a few of the ARGO engineers.

The ARGO representatives created an informative PowerPoint explaining what made them decide to become engineers. Beth Ballard, the mechanical engineer, and Lisa Fischer, a vehicle operator, were the two women that visited our school to talk to us. Jessica Motz is a sibling of one of the students in the class and she also works for ARGO, but not as an engineer. She was generous enough to coordinate the visit with Mr. Fortunato, the teacher of the Honors Women Engineering class.

Lisa started the presentation by giving some background as to why she became a vehicle operator. She always had a hobby of racing cars. That hobby is very much male dominated, so Lisa created a women’s group for racing. They even have young girls in their group. Then, she began to explain what she does with the cars. The autonomous cars are not a the level that they can drive without a person in the car. So, Lisa’s job is to sit behind the wheel and be prepared to take over driving if anything happens. She is required to know exactly how the cars functions so she can be prepared for anything.

The next part was Beth’s presentation about what she does. She is responsible for understanding how to make the car work and understanding the program. She did not just talk about her job though, she in cooperated stats of how many women compared to men are in engineering fields. There are many different fields and some are more male dominated than others. She showed us a diagram of women compared to men.

The last part was the coolest part of the presentation. ARGO was nice enough to bring one of their autonomous cars to the Seneca Valley campus for us to see. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take any pictures of the car. They answered all of our questions about the car and how everything works. The car looks like any other car, but it has a very large box on the top with cameras. The car on the inside it operated by a computer. To switch the car in and out of the self driving there are two buttons near the wheel.

The engineering girls gained new contacts for future reference and got to ask all of their questions to women in the stem field thanks to ARGO.