In April, the Digital Leadership Institute carried out it’s first-ever Digital Muse Girl Tech Fest, a day-long, volunteer-run event promoting entrepreneurship, science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (“ESTEAM”) to 11-14 year old girls from the greater Brussels area, in order to encourage their participation in ESTEAM studies and careers. This fantastic event was hosted by our school! As a result of the stunning success of this event, some of the participants were invited to attend a Women & Tech event with google which took place on May 3. We are delighted to bring you an exclusive report written by one of the participants, Giuliana Locchi!
Some of the Laeken participants enjoying the Tech conference on May 3.
“At Google, we believe that Technology is for EVERYONE. It’s perhaps no surprise then, that furthering diversity both within Google and in the tech industry at large is a top priority for us.” Says Matt Brittin, President, EMEA Business & Operations, Google. Google is looking to bridge the digital divide, they want more women to work in the tech industry. Therefor the Digital leadership Institute (DLI) organized a teenage tech fest on April 30th inviting only girls from lots of different school in Belgium to make us more interested in science and technology, and our school EEB4, hosted it! A week after that very successful event, a few girls including me, were invited to a women & tech event with Google.
May the 3rd, myself and nine other girls: Benedita Cowling; Ellen Hayes; Gabi Gjuric; Katie Jane Wickham; Leah Keeley; Maria Cudell Salgueiro; Marta Cooney; Maud Rowland; and Sadhbh Lennon Hudson, set off to go meet Google and create & learn about coding. We met Rosanna Kurrer, Master Trainer in “MIT App Inventor”, also she and Cheryl Miller (with the super cool purple hair) are co-founders of the DLI and Digital Muse, who we give a great big thanks to because she organized this for us. We all then followed her into a colourful and fun looking room where we were pared into groups of two. I was with my friend Katie Jane. After that we each sat in front of two well advanced devices, an Apple Mac book air, and a tablet. Rosanna Kurrer then told us we had an hour to create two different types of apps, using a coding software, the first app was a drawing app, and the second was a language translating app. Rosanna worked with us to create these apps and helped me to understand a lot more about technology!
Three girls were chosen to present during the debate what they had made. There were also girls from other schools. When our hour was up, a bunch of important people started to arrive. When almost everyone was there they served us gourmet food with fancy looking drinks with different colours. We had a few minutes to chill and then we all entered a rectangular room with screens and lights everywhere! The chairs were modern, high counter stools (that were not very comfortable…). On each stool there was a white board in a shape of a thinking bubble with a white board marker – the set up was really modern and cool.
We all entered and sat down, the whole conference was in the dark due to all the power points. The president of Google spoke first ‘Matt Britten’, he was very dynamic and fun to listen too and learn from. Then the Commissioner for Justice, Vera Jourova spoke, she was more serious but also super interesting. I was really happy to hear these high level speakers. Finally, Gabi, Sadhbh, and Florence were introduced and each individually presented what they made on behalf of the other girls who worked with them. Then there were more presentations, but sadly had to leave, back to school for the last period…
I was thrilled to have such a great opportunity to work with my friends, learning about and creating apps. We got to use advanced technology making things more clear and much more interesting. It made me feel important to be a part of this project. I think it’s necessary that girls start getting involved into more scientific and technical work, making things equal with boys, but I also think a lot of girls don’t realize they can participate. Part of the reason is probably stereotypes like “girls are not as good as boys in math and sciences…”. Not true! As a matter fact, in my math class the the best at maths are mostly the girls, and same goes for science where lots of the girls are really good science, but never say anything… With events like these I hope and believe this will change.