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Dal Alumnae and Students Inspire Girls to Code, From Coast to Coast

Posted by Rebecca Rawcliffe on June 7, 2018 in News, Alumni & Friends, Outreach, Women in Tech, Students
Girls Learning Code Day 2018. (Canada Learning Code: Halifax chapter photo)
Girls Learning Code Day 2018. (Canada Learning Code: Halifax chapter photo)

From coast to coast, Faculty of Computer Science alumnae and students spent their time volunteering at the fifth-annual National Girls Learning Code Day.

Held on Saturday, May 12, Canada Learning Code’s 2018 event focused on collaborative game production in 35+ cities across Canada, with Faculty of Computer Science alumnae and students getting involved in Halifax, Montreal and Victoria.

Canada Learning Code’s Halifax Chapter’s event was hosted by the Faculty of Computer Science on campus and saw 25 girls ages 8-13, and their parents, come to Dalhousie to build a video game to address a social or environmental issue.

Collaborative game development


Aleysha Mullen (BINF’17), instructed the event in Halifax. With support from mentors from the Faculty of Computer Science, Women in Technology Society, and the wider community, Aleysha led attendees in working through the game development process together – from pre-production to the finished product.

“I first became involved in Canada Learning Code a year ago when the Faculty of Computer Science hosted the 2017 National Girls Learning Code Day,” says Aleysha. “Since then, I have attended almost every Kids Learning Code workshop held in Halifax, and a number for adults too. I got so much out of mentoring at last year’s event, I came back to teach this year!”

From flying horses to saving bees and a Super Mario spinoff, participants had the opportunity to experience the collaborative aspects of game development, as well as develop their technical skills using a variety of tools, programs and languages.

Mentorship across the country


Like Aleysha, Chelsey Childs (BCS’17) was also first exposed to Canada Learning Code at last year’s National Girls Learning Code Day where she was asked to mentor. Upon graduating from Dalhousie, Chelsey moved to Montreal where she is now working as a software developer.

“I really enjoyed mentoring at the Girls Learning Code Day event last year,” Chelsey says. “I was excited to learn that the organization was present in Montreal, and I’m looking forward to getting more involved in mentoring in the future.”

Over in Victoria, current Computer Science student Mimi Kolomyytsev is in the process of completing her studies remotely, before returning to Dalhousie to graduate in the fall with a Bachelor of Applied Computer Science degree.

Mimi introduced the Faculty of Computer Science to Canada Learning Code when she brought National Girls Learning Code Day onto campus in 2017, after being involved with the organization for a number of years.

“A friend of mine introduced me to Canada Learning Code during my first year in school, when I attended a JavaScript workshop,” Mimi explains. “I later came back as a mentor for a variety of adult and youth workshops and found that mentors benefit from the experience as much as attendees do. It’s a great opportunity to expose youth across the country to computer science.”


Supporting future tech leaders

National Girls Learning Code Day is just one of the many events organized by Canada Learning Code.

The Halifax Chapter of the organization design, deliver, and partner on technology education for the community – particularly women, girls, kids, teens and teachers - equipping them to become creators, not just consumers, of technology.

“It’s amazing to see Dalhousie Faculty of Computer Science alumnae and students mentoring and instructing at this important event for us, not just in Halifax but across the country,” says Chris Kolmatycki, Halifax Chapter Lead at Canada Learning Code.

“Without support from our sponsors, community partners, and volunteers our programming and initiatives would be not be possible, and it’s great to have the Faculty of Computer Science on board.”

Learn more about Canada Learning Code in Halifax and beyond online.