Girls’ tech camp celebrates 10th anniversary

Over 30 girls learned how to extract DNA from bananas, designed bracelets with LED lights and programmed Lego robots that dance as part of IBM Canada Inc.’s four-day E.X.I.T.E. Technology Camp.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the annual camp for girls ages 11 to 13 also brought back some alumni campers to talk about how they went on to pursue studies in the sciences during high school and university.

Held every summer at the IBM Toronto Lab in Markham, Ont., E.X.I.T.E. is designed to inspire an interest in math, science, technology and engineering through mentoring and activities in an all-female setting.

ComputerWorld Canada visited the camp to watch the DNA extraction in action. In the interview below, Grade 7 student Sophie was “not really” interested in technology before the camp, but said she’s “a lot more interested” now. “The best thing about camp was all the activities,” she said.

Grade 8 student Arrchana, another E.X.I.T.E. camper, said she already had an interest in science and technology. “I’ve been asking people about their jobs and descriptions so when I head into high school, I’ll have a better idea of what subjects I should take,” she said. 

Arrchana also said the experiments are the best part. “It’s making it fun for us to learn,” she said.

“What we are really excited about is that girls are viewing science and technology from a different angle and see it as something that is fun and exciting,” said Galina Antova, co-chair of IBM E.X.I.T.E. camp.

Antova said the girls express a lot of interest in future career opportunities and how the sciences relate. “At this age, the girls are just starting to get exposed to deeper levels of science, so it’s good to keep them interested in those areas,” she said.

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