Kristine Holloway is a teacher and founder of Code4Girlz (Ontario, Canada). Here she shares a little about her passion for introducing girls to the world of coding, and the inspiration behind it.
What is your specific area of STEM?
How would you explain your STEM field to young girls?
Code4Girlz is a club that encourages girls and young women to pursue careers and passions in Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Math (STEAM). Code4Girlz are early adopters and trailblazers. They can often be seen making, coding, designing and co-creating in the large open and bright design workshop space.
What traits might a child possess that may indicate an interest or aptitude for your STEM field?
Children that enjoy logic puzzles, experimenting, creating, inventing and innovating. Games may include Code-a-Pillar, Scratch Jr., LittleBits, MakeyMakey, RaspberryPi, GoldieBlox, Sphero, Dash and Dot Robots, just to name a few.
Why did you choose your STEM field? Were you inspired by someone?
I have always been passionate about technology and I wanted to help inspire a new generation of girls to be the same, but ultimately I was inspired by Hadi Partovi, the founder of Hour of Code movement. After a GoogleHangout with Hadi Partovi I was truly bothered by the fact that while girls and women are avid users of technology, they are significantly underrepresented in its creation.
I believe strongly that this lack of participation of girls in this ever growing field can have serious consequences for technological innovation, if we let it continue. In learning to code, girls can be empowered to take control of the types of games they want to play and they can begin creating other applications designed specifically for girls and women globally.
Code4Girlz was founded to help close the tech gender gap and to encourage young women to be brave, and to create the future we want: a better world for girls and women globally to live in.
What did you know about your STEM field when you were a child?
Computers and technology have always been a part of my life. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been passionate about technology. Ever since I was a little girl I can recall playing Cabbage Patch on ColecoVision, E.T. on Atari (although I never could figure out how to get him to phone home) and I was one of a few from my generation that was able to play on a Commodore 64 and had access to HAM radio operator equipment. When the Nintendo came out, the whole family got into the car for Christmas vacation in Buffalo, New York. I can recall the excitement of un-boxing Mario and Duck Hunt! In school, I can remember the excitement of Oregon Trail, Number Cruncher, and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? on the Apple computers.
Design and technology class was also a favourite of mine. I recall designing a pin hole camera and then processing the black and white film in the dark room. I also made a clock, puzzle and train during middle school. In Family Studies, I learned how to sew on a machine and by hand. At home, I enjoyed learning sign language, drawing blueprints, designing new fashions and inventing new things, such as the world's largest globe, made out of hula-hoops and a hand drawn map taped together and wings cut out of cardboard and tied onto the arms for human flight.
More recently, as an adult, I have become passionate about space research. I attended an Educator's Conference at the Canadian Space Agency and Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama.
What are some really cool things that people in your profession work on?
Girls in coding experience the latest in technology. They are early adopters and trailblazers. They enjoy 3D Printing, RaspberryPi, MakeyMakey, micro:Bit, just to name a few. Many fabulous creations, including new websites, wearables, bedroom and furniture designs, vlogs (video blogs), Pixar-quality animations and videos, websites and new innovative ideas and creations start with coding!
What inspirational message would you give young girls to inspire them to pursue STEM?
Be brave, not perfect. Dare to do something different. Dream BIG. Fail Forward. Make EPIC Mistaeks.
Thank you for contributing, Kristine!
(Follow the cool stuff happening at Code4Girlz on Twitter)
Women in STEM, we invite you to take our survey. You'll inspire young girls and contribute to the success of the STEM Girls Books series!