On Friday, May 6th, the Maryland Science Center welcomed 43 high school girls for the first ever Baltimore DigiGirlz Tech Camp. DigiGirlz is a national Microsoft initiative that gives girls an opportunity to learn about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) based careers through workshops and lectures.
The day kicked off with breakfast and a welcome from Baltimore mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and led into the keynote session featuring Shireen Mitchell, founder of Digital Sisters, a non-profit that encourages girls in STEM subjects and nurtures their passion. Starting her interest in technology in an arcade in the New York projects, Shireen has a very inspiring story to share with girls everywhere.
The hands-on part of the tech camp was a team project that tied together both the Imagine Cup and Kodu Cup. Teams were asked to create a game using Kodu (a free visual programming language) that helped promote one of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. To make sure this task was doable, the girls participated in the Kodu workshop to get used to the environment, work through several tutorials, and find out what Kodu can do!
After the Kodu workshop, I got the chance to speak about the 7 Life Lessons from the MangoBunnies. I loved sharing my Imagine Cup experience and the lessons that the MangoBunnies learned. Before dinner, the girls got to explore the exhibits at the Maryland Science Center. Highlights from the rest of the evening include working on their team project, an ice cream social, and getting to spend the night at the Maryland Science Center.
On Saturday, the finishing touches were put on the games and the teams got ready to present their games to the other campers, parents, and a panel of judges. All the games were fantastic. It’s amazing to think that coming into the camp these girls had no programming experience and by the end they were creating engaging games using Kodu. The winning team, Geek Girls, created a three part game that has the player complete a triathlon to win. With a foot race, swimming event, and cycling section, Geek Girls focused their game on a healthy lifestyle. Each member of Geek Girls received a Microsoft prize package and a family membership to the Maryland Science Center!
Congratulations to all of the DigiGirlz campers!
Huge thanks to the Maryland Science Center for hosting this event and to all the event organizers and volunteers! DigiGirlz events make a big impact and we couldn’t do it without you!