Hackathon introduces girls to tech


by Rob More

On August 6, 40 girls ages 10-18 from the Ottawa Valley will be working together through a unique event known as the Hackathon in the Ottawa Valley, hosted by Hackergal, a national charitable organization based in Toronto, and Beckwith Tech Camp.

Hackergal’s mission is to inspire girls to explore opportunities in computer science, a field where women currently represent 22% of the workforce in Canada. These 40 girls, who are from UCDSB and CDSBEO schools, will have the opportunity to test out the new Canadian coding platform Lynx Coding, which is considered to be an intermediate coding platform based on MIT’s Scratch visual programming platform and uses the Logo Language. This platform is one of the new programs that Ontario students will be using starting in September in conjunction with the new math curricu-lum.

After spending the morning with Lucy Ho, Executive Director of Hackergal, Kumiko Imai, Director of Education, and Gail Carmichael, Technical Educator of R&D for Shopify, the girls will have the opportunity to collaborate with each other in developing their own coding project. MPP Jill Dunlop of the Ministry of Women and Children Issues will also drop in to bring greetings to the girls.

The following week, Beckwith Tech Camp will continue to host virtual meetings affording the girls and any other interested campers the opportunity to network together and provide support in their development of their project.

On August 14, all participants will have the opportunity to present their projects through a virtual meeting. This presentation will be recorded and critiqued by Gail Carmichael of Shopify, Sandy Graham of the Centre of Excellence in Mathematics and Computing, Bill MacPherson, UCDSB Trustee, and Jennifer Cooney, CDSBEO Trustee. The presentation will also be broadcast on Cogeco TV Channel 10 in their Podium series, on UCDSB TV on all school monitors, and Beckwith Tech Camp’s Youtube channel and Facebook page.

Finally, once social distancing ends, these 40 girls will also have the opportunity to visit Shopify’s Headquarters in Ottawa.

Beckwith Tech Camp, which serves as a social enterprise for the Rural FASD Support Network and raised almost 25% of their revenue last year, is pleased to provide this extra-curricular activity to inspiring leaders from the Ottawa Valley interested in STEM careers and welcome additional sponsors to help provide this type of after-school programming and virtual opportunities for our youth.

For more information, please contact Beckwith Tech Camp at [email protected].


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