International Girls in ICT Day: The Enactus Project Taking Action

To celebrate International Girls in ICT Day, we take a look at CS Sparks - an Enactus UCD project taking action. We spoke to Surabhi Agarwal, project leader and Computer Science student.

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CS Sparks is an initiative to teach transition year girls how to code using mini programmable devices called micro: bits. We do this by introducing them to the coding world in a fun and exciting environment consisting of programmable games using micro: bits and robotics. The main problem we are trying to solve is the decrease in the number of females in STEM and technology leading to a lack of diversity in the technology industry. Part of the project's mission is also to encourage girls in DEIS schools to consider third level education and go to college.

Our coding workshop provides girls confidence in coding related areas and makes them believe that they 'can' code, changing their can't to can and showing them the various opportunities which lie in the technology sector and how companies are encouraging more and more females in tech-related jobs. 

 

How is CS Sparks empowering young girls?

We run workshops around micro bits and robotics which are run by UCD Computer Science undergrad and masters students. Students volunteer to teach and mentor the girls and help them gain knowledge and confidence in coding. We also provide talks and university tours to help girls gain an understanding about University and how life is as a Computer Science student in UCD.

We also go out to the schools to give workshops where we help girls teach the content to other girls in their school. We arrange our previous students to teach our new students.

What is the main goal of the project? 

Our main vision and goals of the project are to reach out to as many girls as possible and give them an insight about how it is like to study Computer Science and encourage them to pursue a career in STEM or technology.

We have had an 80% success rate in this aspect wherein girls mentioned in the feedback forms that they would more likely to choose Computer Science after having completed the workshop.

Our main ambition is to raise female leaders in technology and strike a balanced and diverse workforce in the technology industry

 

What is your favourite aspect of the project?

My favourite aspect about the project is seeing the enthusiasm in the girls. When I am able to impact each student at a personal level, I feel a sense of fulfilment since I believe that I was able to make her learn a new skill that day which could be beneficial for her in the future.

Also looking at how these girls work so well together in teams and have that team spirit to make things work out, gives me and my team a sense of motivation to do our level best in every workshop.

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Liam Redmond