Girls exposed to science, math at DigiGirlz camp

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“Science happened” during a two-day technology camp for girls from eighth through 10th grade at the Carnegie Science Center.

“Microsoft started the DigiGirlz camp in 2000,” said Donna Woodall, Microsoft Community Outreach manager. “We found that there was a disparity in the number of girls pursuing careers in the field of technology, so specifically we looked at a way to encourage young women to look at information technology as a valuable career.”

b5withrobots
WITH ROBOTS—From left: Dana Townson, 13, of the Hill District; Jasmine Johnson, 15; Morgan Matthews, 13, of Ohio; Dawn Dallmus from City Charter high School; Sara Williams, 15, of Wilkinsburg; and Maura Boston, 14, from Upper St. Clair, are team Technically Girlz, with their robots.

Since 2000, DigiGirlz has expanded and is provided in 20 different cities as a technology camp.

The admission process is highly selective. Twenty-seven girls throughout the greater Pittsburgh area, Ohio, and New York were given the opportunity to explore the fields of computer science, robotics and creative innovation alongside many top executives from Microsoft.

Jennifer Stancil, executive director of the Girls Math and Science Partnership, expressed her enthusiasm as being “delighted to host the event in the largest robotics exhibition in the world, which is Roboworld at the Carnegie Science Center.”

“The girls have the opportunity to see how Pittsburgh is growing around robotics, which is an emerging field. We have created a lot of fun activities exploring applied robotics, robot toys and allowing the girls to have an opportunity to use a panoramic camera operated by a robot,” Stancil said.

Jocelyn Mclaughlin, a 10th-grader at City Charter High School, started learning about technology and decided to further her knowledge around the subject.

“I had a lot of fun learning about programming robots. I don’t know what I want to do when I grow up so I want to get a taste of everything before I choose a career. Broaden my horizons,” Mclaughlin said.

Using the Microsoft Visual Stimulation Environment 2008 Edition the future female leaders of technology were able to program the robots to compete in a dance off.

The big “Robo Reveal” consisted of five teams who presented presentations that were created over the weekend long event. The girls were able to use the stimulation environment to control the distance and speed of their robots. Stars, zigzags, box and spin were just some of the moves created.

The task was not a easy one to complete and many were able to put frustration aside to effectively work in a team atmosphere to get the mission accomplished.

The winning team received a Girls Math and Science Partnership canteen that is a tool kit for girls to assist them in proactively changing the world through science, technology, engineering and math.

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