Last week, the University of Nevada, Reno held the 10th Annual Microsoft DigiGirlz camp at the University of Nevada, Reno's College of Business. For two days, young women aged 14 to 18 were able to attend a free technology day camp. During the camp, participants listened to keynote speakers, engaged in hands-on workshops and learned how to network in order to prepare themselves to confidently enter the science, technology, engineering, arts and math (S.T.E.A.M) fields. Speakers from Tesla, Envirolution, Intuit, Sierra Nevada Journeys, The Discovery, FIRST Nevada, WaterSmart Software and Microsoft were all present at the camp. This year, DigiGirlz had nearly 125 high school girls from around the community participate, setting a new record.
DigiGirlz is dedicated to helping educate and inspire young women to learn about the vast opportunities in the STEAM fields and hopes by the end of the camp participants are confident in their abilities to achieve success in the STEAM fields.
During the camp, the girls attended three daily sessions that focused on a variety of different topics all lead by the companies in attendance. This included workshops that focused on data, design, robotics, coding, problem-solving and more. One class included a hands-on workshop requiring girls to use unique problem-solving skills to design a zip-line carrier to help move a stranded or injured person safely and out of danger. This workshop not only showed the girls how to think creatively but also encouraged teamwork by getting the girls to work together to create the most efficient and safe zip line.
Among other classes that were available were coding, a workshop that let the girls in attendance design their own game unique to them. The workshop offered both beginner and advanced challenges for those with previous coding experience.
The keynote speakers for the event included Cindy Healy, director, Microsoft Worldwide Learning Experiences, and Erin Oksol, who earned her doctorate in clinical psychology. Healy had previously worked in different fields from the entertainment industry to aerospace, including working as a software engineer on NASA's Mars Pathfinder Project. She is passionate about using her story to inspire others to identify their dreams and plot a course of action to achieve them. Oksol shared her knowledge of positive psychology and taught practical strategies to create significant positive changes to one's business and personal life.