April 13, 2024 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

Microsoft at Westfield Century City hosted a free DigiGirlz event Friday, as part of Microsoft’s Make What’s Next campaign.

Half a dozen girls between the ages of 8 and 12 showed up to the interactive event, designed to introduce them to computer science professionals and learn how they can explore careers in technology. The event also offered a basic hands-on coding workshop for the highly popular Minecraft computer game.
CCN-DIGIGIRLS5616Community Development Specialist Keaton Branch told Century City News that the DigiGirlz programs are “designed to inspire young women to seek careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), and events like these serve as inspiration and unlock the creative parts of their mind.”

 

He also noted that the coding workshop is always really popular with the girls, “because it really lets them get under the hood of a video game.”

IMG_3539

Eight-year-old Devyn Williams-Rogers said before the class started she was “really excited” to learn the coding, “because I love Minecraft.” During the coding session she squealed with excitement every time her code worked, throwing up her hands and exclaiming, “I did it!”

That kind of enthusiasm is exactly what DigiGirlz is looking for and why Devyn’s mother, Erika, brought her to the workshop. “I think it’s really important for young ladies to understand they have opportunities in technology, because there are so few [women] in the industry,” she said.

Microsoft Associate Experience Manager Meghan Sullivan spoke about how she switched from the fashion industry to technology, before showing the girls a short film about what a DigiGirl is – “any [girl] who is interested in technology… you can use computer science to express who you are.”

The film noted that Hermione Granger from “Harry Potter” would absolutely be a DigiGirl given that she’s smart, resourceful, studies hard and knows how to master all the scientific spells.

IMG_3534In the film a group of young girls are asked if they can think of any famous women inventors, something they find difficult to do. The film then highlights several, including Bertha Benz, the wife and business partner of Karl Benz, the creator of the automobile, and Canadian-American Yvonne Brill, best known for her development of rocket and jet propulsion technologies. The film also profiled women currently making names for themselves in the industry, including Migela Evans who is a support engineer for Microsoft Azure.

Evans pursued her career in technology after attending a DigiGirlz camp while in high school, saying the experience opened her eyes to the opportunities available for women in STEM.

And while the girls at the Century City store event are still far too young to be choosing colleges and careers just yet, they were all completely engrossed in the event and were excited to start creating code for the Minecraft game.

Asked if she wanted to do something in the science and technology field when she grew up, Devyn said, “Yeah, maybe. I might want to make video games. Either that or be an actress.”

This is Los Angeles after all.

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