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)

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)

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)

Young girls fight STEM stigma with hackathon

Just Posted

Former Oak Bay High Grade 12 student Brandon Kip plays the $100,000 Steinway piano in the Dave Dunnet Theatre. (Black Press Media file photo)
Oak Bay High Alumni Association passes torch to new president

The association has given back more than $70,000 in its 16 years

This photo courtesy of Leanne Grover shows the immediate aftermath of the fire at 7987 Galbraith Cres. that caused extensive damage and displaced six residents. (Leanne Grover/Submitted)
Residents of a Central Saanich duplex ‘fortunate’ to escape Sunday morning fire

Damage to the duplex extensive with one resident said to be ‘catatonic’ after escaping building

A speaker series, hosted by the Citizens Environment Network in Colwood, is aiming to help the community celebrate Earth Month. (Photo by Annacapictures/Pixabay)
Colwood speaker series celebrates Earth Month

Electric cars, community gardens, water systems and more to be highlighted in virtual webinars

Kiana Chamberland was last seen April 15 in Esquimalt. (Victoria Police Department)
MISSING: Kiana Chamberland, considered at high risk

The 24-year-old was last seen April 15th in Esquimalt

Six people are said to have escaped injury and are currently receiving assistance after an early Sunday morning fire in Central Saanich displaced them. (Central Saanich Fire Department/Twitter)
Six people escape early Sunday morning fire in Central Saanich unharmed

Cause of the fire on Galbraith Close remains under investigation

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

Pat Kauwell, a semi-retired construction manager, lives in his fifth-wheel trailer on Maxey Road because that’s what he can afford on his pension, but a Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw prohibits using RVs as permanent dwellings, leaving Kauwell and others like him with few affordable housing options. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Rules against RV living hard on Island residents caught in housing crunch

Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw forcing pensioner to move RV he calls home off private farm land

(Black Press file photo).
Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Russ Ball (left) and some of the team show off the specimen after they were able to remove it Friday. Photo supplied
Courtenay fossil hunter finds ancient turtle on local river

The specimen will now make its home at the Royal BC Museum

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

Most Read