Eleven-year-olds Mikayla Morgan (left) and Annabelle Boudreau code an informational video about bear traps during the Hackergal Hackathon at Dunsmuir Middle School. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)

Young girls fight STEM stigma with hackathon

Three SD62 middle schools took part in the Hackergal Hackathon

Girls across Canada came together on Wednesday to explore coding and creativity in a nation-wide, virtual hack-a-thon.

Three schools in SD62 — Journey Middle School, Dunsmuir Middle School and John Stubbs Memorial School — gathered girls age 11 and 12 to participate in the Hackergal Hackathon.

The full-day program gives young girls the opportunity to create their own code for things like videos and games. Hackergal gives teachers and girls access to coding licenses and web-based tutorials before the event takes place so that on the day of, they are ready to go.

At Dunsmuir Middle School, girls were given the theme of environment and used computer codes to make games and videos that educate people about environmental issues.

Nicole Wallace teaches Grade 6 at Dunsmuir Middle School and said she heard about the hackathon from a teacher who participated in it last year.

Wallace said it’s a great opportunity for young girls because girls and women are under represented in STEM fields in both higher education and the workforce.

“It’s just not something that girls tend to see as an option for them so getting them interested in coding and programming early helps them say ‘oh I can do this,’” Wallace said.

According to Statistics Canada, women are less likely than men to choose a university program in STEM fields.

The number of women among STEM university graduates aged 25 to 34 in 2011 was 39 per cent. The proportion of women in STEM occupations requiring a university education in 2011 was 23 per cent.

Wallace said that although the girls had been silent all day as they worked away on their projects, they were really enjoying themselves.

Eleven-year-old Alicia Porter used code to make a game and quiz that shows an image of a polluted park that needs to be cleaned up. Porter said she hopes to continue with coding in the future and said she wants to be able to combine technology and animal conservation.

“Like using drones and better technology to get supplies to people who are out in the field conserving animal species,” Porter said. “This is kind of a really cool topic to work on.”

Annabelle Boudreau and Mikayla Morgan are both in Grade 6 and said they didn’t know they would like coding and computer science until they tried out the Hackergal program.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Boudreau said. “I’ve spent many, many hours at the computer trying to go through all the levels.”

Wallace said the day was filled with excitement and the girls involved spent it working hard on their ideas. She said things like this did not exist when she was in school.

“When I was in high school it was the ‘boys club’ and it wasn’t something that I pursued … but I regret that, I wish I had known and now I love it,” Wallace said. “Any way that I can include programming and robotics in my teaching I do.”

shalu.mehta@goldstreamgazette.com

SD62

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Eleven-year-olds Mikayla Morgan (right) and Annabelle Boudreau code an informational video about bear traps during the Hackergal Hackathon at Dunsmuir Middle School. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)

Just Posted

Sooke businesses respond in time of crisis

Sooke Emergency Operations Centre met with business community to discuss impact of COVID-19

Langford expands COVID-19 response to include all of West Shore, home testing

City’s mobile team has already tested 20 people at home

Greater Victoria resident sick with COVID-19 calls it a ‘horrible disease’

Tim Boat says he has ‘extreme coughing fits every hour’ to clear his lungs

Colwood looks at reopening garbage cans as litter, dog poop pile up in parks

City staff are now being redirected from priority infrastructure to picking up litter

Victoria police seek public help finding high-risk missing woman last seen on ferry

Mariah Konchak has shoulder-length dark hair, scars above her right eye and may be missing a tooth

B.C. records five new COVID-19 deaths, ‘zero chance’ life will return to normal in April

Province continue to have a recovery rate of about 50 per cent

6.5-magnitude earthquake in Idaho shakes B.C. Interior

An earthquake was reportedly felt just before 5 p.m. throughout the Okanagan

John Horgan extends B.C.’s state of emergency for COVID-19

Premier urges everyone to follow Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice

B.C.’s first community COVID-19 death was dentist ‘dedicated’ to health: lawyer

Vincent was 64 when he died on March 22 after attending the Pacific Dental Conference

Two inmates at prison housing Robert Pickton test positive for COVID-19

Correctional Service of Canada did not release any details on the identities of the inmates

BC SPCA launches matching campaign to help vulnerable animals after big donations

Two BC SPCA donors have offered up to $65,000 in matching donations

Quarantined B.C. mom say pandemic has put special-needs families in ‘crisis mode’

Surrey’s Christine Williams shares family’s challenges, strengths

Anti-tax group calls for MPs, senators to donate scheduled pay raises to charity

Bill C-30, adopted 15 years ago, mandates the salary and allowance increases each calendar year

Liberals delay release of 75% wage subsidy details, costs: Morneau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

Most Read