Grade nine girls hit post-secondary campuses to discover wonders of STEM
Calgary, AB — More than 650 girls from Grade nine classes around Calgary took over classrooms Wednesday at SAIT, Mount Royal University and the University of Calgary to explore the world of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) during the 16th annual Explore IT event.
Explore IT introduces young women to the high-tech world of information and communications technology through interactive workshops, discovery sessions and one-on-one mentoring across all three campuses during the day-long, interactive conference supported by faculty from all three post-secondary institutions.
Over the past decade, attendance at the one-day event has more than quadrupled — an inspiring fact for the organizers of Explore IT who are passionate about attracting more women into STEM areas of study.
According to 2013 data from Statistics Canada, the amount of women enrolling in STEM post-secondary areas is strikingly low as a national average. In fact, women accounted for only 39 per cent of university graduates aged 25-34 with a STEM degree in 2011. It's a national issue that organizers of Explore IT are passionate about improving on.
Girls who attend the SAIT portion of the conference will get a lesson in computer forensics, enabling to them to protect their computers from nasty bugs such as viruses, Malware and Trojan Horses. In another session, students will learn about the field of residential architectural technology, and draw and animate houses using 3D Architectural Design and Animation with SketchUp.
At Mount Royal University, the IT fair includes an introduction to sending messages through cryptography; how to see the invisible (your breath or the rays from a remote control); and demystifying our physical environment. Students also get to design and program a Lego robot, build their own animated computer story or 3D video game on Alice, and extract DNA from a strawberry.
At the University of Calgary's Schulich School of Engineering, participants can choose their own technology adventure from nine interactive design workshops. Students will have opportunities to locate treasure on campus with GPS, build their own miniature self-driving car as well as design a snowflake using code and bring it life with a 3D printer. Girls will also have a chance to build robots, explore how the natural world informs design and create mobile apps.