Statistics show that very low levels of women are entering computing technology fields. What a shame, because women bring a whole new level of creative thinking and problem solving to the table! So, UNH Manchester faculty, students, and alumni and three women computing professionals from SkillSoft, Inc. in Nashua volunteered their time on March 19th, to help spark interest at the Second Annual Girls Technology Day, held at the NHTI Concord’s Community College. Over 200 girls from grades 8 through 10, traveled from 18 different New Hampshire schools to attend four 50-minute workshops. They all got to dip their hands into a variety of different programming, engineering experiences. UNH Computing Technology professors, Mihaela Sabin and Michael Jonas, and CIS junior, Pauline Wilk, taught workshops on Game Programming with Greenfoot and Inventing Apps for Android Phones with App Inventor. UNH alumna and enterprise support engineer at Dyn, Bethany Ross, ran a workshop on Careers in Technology.
The girls saw how engaging and captivating computing and engineering can be, gained confidence in their problem solving and design abilities, and got to see that women in the computing technology field are not geeky! In fact they are beautiful, bold, creative, and smart women. We even had the support of a few men who recognize the gender gap and see the advantage of what women bring to the field. Thank you to Mary Laturnau, for transforming a concept idea she had three years ago into a successful, fast growing, and incredible event. We also thank Linda Giordano, Mary Slocum, and Veronica Payan form SkillSoft, Inc. for their role models, which girls experienced first hand during the mobile app development workshops.
Photo Credit: Kim Wall, UNH Manchester
For more information visit the event’s website http://www.girlstechnologyday.com/
Members of the Future Tech Women Group and students at the University of New Hampshire at Manchester, Pauline Wilk, Valerie Therrien, and Meagan Wolf, joined their Dyn mentors, Bethany Ross, Kelly O’Hara, and Jackie Wegman, and traveled to Harvard in February for the WeCode (Women Engineers Code) Conference! What a great bonding trip! FTW was proud to represent New Hampshire women in technology, as they were the only group from New Hampshire to attend.
The girls got to hear from many prominent women in the Computer Science world, like Kimber Lockhart and Rebecca Parsons, speak their hearts out, telling their stories of success, and encouraging females in the computer science and engineering fields to be confident and believe in themselves. Being one of these girls, I certainly left inspired! Especially from my talk at lunch with a few young female Facebook employees. We will definitely be going back for more fun next year!
Learn more about the Future Tech Women group here: http://www.futuretechwomen.org/
Each semester, students in the COMP 425 Introduction to Programming course compete in a battle of wits. They work in pairs, programming to perfection a “computer” player strategy in a virtual version of the board game Quoridor. Quoridor software was created by Michael Jonas, assistant professor of computer science in the Computing Technology program. Coming up with gaming strategies not only requires knowledge of programming concepts, but also creativity and logic.
At the end of the fall 2013 semester, joined with the annual Computing Technology Holiday Party, COMP 425 hosted the Battle Royal, where the students’ strategies were all faced against each other. The participants had a little extra fun with the competition and added intensity by playing music from the Star Wars soundtrack as they watched the games play out. After some light and friendly poking between the competitors, the masterminds behind the winning strategy came out to be the team of Mohamed Fadlalla and Omeed Ghafari. Second place went to the one man team of Zeb Wood. Third place went to the team of Julian Consoli and Jonathan O’Rourke. This year’s prize was a scholarship for each team member and a delicious chocolate Godiva reindeer. Congratulations to this semester’s Battle Royal Winners!