Ê: What was it about coding that captivated you at such an early age (7), and why do you think age doesn't really matter when it comes to things like tech and coding? A: What captivated me about coding at such an early age, was being able to see my code do something. For example, making a Scratch character move across the screen as part of a game or being able to bring a crafted object to life by coding the Micro:bit to control electronic components.
From the day we’re born and throughout our lives, we have to deal with different situations, problems & changes. I think tech & coding allow people of all ages to deal with new problems, situations & change in new ways. You can start coding or be interested in tech at any age as long as you are curious and motivated, that’s all that matters.
Ê: We heard you lead a Micro:bit workshop for CoderDojo at Kingston University...and you are eleven years old! What is it like running a class on a huge university campus and who are your students?
A: It is held in a really big room. There’s a lot of space & 5 or 6 different workshop usually run at the same time, which creates quite a buzz. Being on the University campus is cool & adds to that buzz. My workshops are attended by boys & girls aged between 9 - 14. They have an opportunity to explore coding, physical computing & robotics in a cool and exciting tech environment.
Ê: We read that you were often the only girl in your Geeky Kids coding classes - did that bother you? What would you say to girls your age who might be nervous to be the only girl in a class or to raise their hand?
A: It didn’t prevent me from wanting to go because it was great. The thing that bothered me about being the only girl, was that loads of other girls were missing out on a fun learning experience. It’s ok to be nervous. Don’t wait for other people to give you the green light. Sometimes you have to be the person who leads the way.
Ê: Tell us about the robot challenge you won last November and the hardware category you won in April at the "Coolest Project UK!" Do you have new challenges coming up and, if so, can you give us a hint about your next ideas?
A: Last November, I entered one of my robots into the Microbit first birthday challenge and it won in the best working device category. It was coded to wave a balloon, play the happy birthday tune & say “happy birthday Microbit”. I made the body of the robot with upcycled objects and it was exhibited at the Bett show in January.
At the end of April, I won the hardware category at theCoolest Project UK with my voice command robot – Voice ‘O’ Tronik Bot. The Voice ‘O’tronik Bot responds to 4 voice commands, “roll eyes”, “open mouth”, “move arms” & “wave arms” and is made out of upcycled materials. I demoed the Voice ‘O’ Tronik Bot at the Maker Faire Rome this October.
My next project will probably include vision recognition. I like working with upcycled materials so I guess there will be some of this!
Ê: We think mentors matter...especially for girls at an early age. Who is one of your mentors and what is it like for you to be considered a mentor for younger girls today? A: I have had many mentors that I have learnt from or have inspired me. Llewelyn, the founder of Think Learn Create is one of my mentors. He has helped me with things related to the Micro:bit & the Raspberry Pi. Val & Ben have also been really important mentors on my journey, they helped me to gain the confidence to start mentoring others.
For me, being a mentor is quite a buzz and I feel privileged to be helping to raise girl involvement in tech & coding. I’m very proud of the girls who have come to the workshop that I run and most importantly who have come back!
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