Members of Girls Who Code and partnered robotics club at St. John Brebeuf Catholic School were joined by two guest speakers from the Engineering Department at Carleton University as a part of a feature event to celebrate International Day of Women and Girls in Science.
Recognized as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, February 11 is used to shine a light on the significant gender gap at all levels of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines all over the world, as well as to highlight the critical role women and girls play in science and technology communities.
In honour of this day, the club had an interactive presentation with current engineering students, Catherine Butts and Elli Carton. Catherine was able to connect to the girls as a Wellington Catholic alum, having attended both St. Joseph Catholic School in Fergus and St. James Catholic High School prior to beginning her post-secondary education with Carleton University.
During the presentation, Catherine spoke about her academic focus of biomedical and mechanical engineering and shared how her time participating in STEM opportunities at Wellington Catholic helped lead her to the career path she is on.
“When I was in elementary school there was a Skills Canada Club, I really enjoyed the skills and challenges we did because it is like trying to solve a puzzle - so when I got to high school I was able to focus on programs like that,” she shared. “I also did a program called Go ENG Girl (with the University of Guelph), which was another outreach program where I was given the opportunity to meet women in engineering.”
Following the presentation, the leaders of the Girls Who Code club shared what led them to be interested in participating in a STEM focused club.
“I do like to try new things, I like to experiment with things and engineer as well, and also represent the girls,” shared Abigayle.
“I quite like computer science and science in general and I thought coding would be a lot of fun,” said Sophia. “I would like to take coding in high school and also it really sounded like a fun thing to do.”
“I’m here because I always wanted to learn about computers and how they work. And here, I am able to achieve that goal and make it a reality,” explained Keelan.
Currently the Girls Who Code and robotics clubs are working on a master project that helps to implement their coding skills, all while making a positive influence on the environment around them.
“We built code for a website and are working on cleaning up the river behind the school, we will be then using the website to monitor that,” shared Sasha.
While Sophia will be returning to St. John Brebeuf for her grade 8 year, Abigayle, Keelan and Sasha are all headed to secondary school. Here they hope to expand their focus on STEM related courses.
“If you have the structure, and the desire to learn then you can take these skills on with you,” shared Lowell Butts, principal of St. John Brebeuf.