GALENA PARK -- A Galena Park High School senior gives a whole new meaning to girl power.

Karina Padilla is as tough as the machines she helps put together.

As president of the Robotics Team, she helped her teammates achieve a No. 5 world ranking in programming.

It s no small feat considering who they are up against every year.

Teams from China, New Zealand, Australia, Mexico, United States... it s 4,000 teams we re competing against, said teacher Paul Johnson.

With a male majority on her team, Karina is seen as a role model for other girls who also have a passion for mechanics.

They re really trying to push to get more girls, said Karina. They need the diversity. But when people ask me, oh you re on the robotics team? I m like, yeah, I m president. And they re like, oh wow.

She s one of the new generation of girls coming up interested in math, interested in engineering, said principal Tony Gardea. In those fields, there aren t many, so she s encouraging -- she s a role model for other girls.

Aside from her passion for math and science, Karina is active in a number of clubs and honor societies. She maintains a 4.8 GPA.

It s been a struggle, but I really like the challenge, Karina said.

Karina plans to major in mechanical engineering when she heads to either the University of Houston or Texas A&M in the fall.

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