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Area girls put building skills to the test with help from experts

Kids grades first through sixth were given a set of materials and 30 minutes to build anything construction related.

MOLINE, Ill. — A building competition put on by the National Association of Women in Construction sparked young girls' interest in construction and architecture Saturday in Moline. 

Competitors at the Moline Public Library were given 100 Legos, string, a rock and foil to build anything construction related. Builders did not have to use every item, but no scissors or outside advice was allowed. 

Co-chair of the competition Nicole Moreno said the perception of women in construction has begun to change over the past few years.

"I feel like they should all have the opportunity to see what they can do. You know, a lot of times in construction industry, a lot of its administrative in the office. However, we've got a lot of female designers, female builders," said Moreno.

Three judges ask a set of questions to each builder to better understand their design. 

"So as they're developing it, we asked, 'Who would use this product?' Or, 'Who would use this design? Is it for people to live in? Is it for people to use?' That type of thing," said one of the judges Sara Somsky.

The winner of the competition, sixth-grader Natalie Reyes, built a bulldozer powered by solar panels. She got interested in building at a young age.

"I got into building when my mom and dad got me my first Lego set, which was about like, maybe four to five years ago. It was like a coding one. And I was really excited about it," said Reyes.

The top six designs will be entered into the regional contest before possibly going to nationals.

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