New school holiday pop up program to engage girls in STEM through cybersecurity

Australia, 4 April 2018: Australia’s wildly successful Girl Geek Academy is taking its mission to the masses. Following the triumph of it’s #MissMakesCode primary school initiative, the pioneering team has announced a new cybersecurity pop-up workshop for tweens (aged 9-13).

With the support of NAB Cyber Security team, Girl Geek Academy will roll out the new workshop during the upcoming Easter holidays. Industry leaders from the bank have developed the program and Girl Geek Academy are delighted to deliver it free for 25 young girls this school holidays.

Sarah Moran, co-founder and CEO at Girl Geek Academy said she’s excited to be able to reach an older cohort of young girls and lift the veil of mystery on the world of cybersecurity at such a young age.

“Young girls make the best hackers. They’re naturally curious, challenging and you can see them becoming stronger and more resilient with every problem they solve. This program aims to take that energy and harness it for both learning technical skills and building friendships.”

“Developing this new Cyber Security pop-up workshop with industry leaders from NAB has been very rewarding. We hope that by engaging upper primary students we can ignite their passion for STEM before they hit high school — as we know these are the key ages where girls will fall in love with STEM-based studies,” said Ms Moran. 

By providing real world cybersecurity problems, the Cyber Security pop-up workshop for 9-13 year olds will immerse the kids in hands-on practical Cyber Security activities like robotics, programming, code breaking and online safety.

NAB Cyber Security experts will be on-hand to give kids a behind the scenes glimpse of what it’s like to be an Information Security professional and why it’s so important that they stay safe when surfing online.

Tracey Edwards, Head of Technology, Security Engagement at NAB said: “It’s so important to make young people aware of the fun of technology at an early age. We are facing a talent shortage in this high-growth area that sees no sign of stopping any time soon. By investing in education programs we can engage young people in STEM so that when electives come round they are choosing to study these areas. We aim to increase the number of people aware of cybersecurity as a profession, to increase the number of STEM and cybersecurity grads, and ultimately increase the numbers in the workforce.”

Girl Geek Academy will also be running two of their popular #MissMakesCode workshops for young girls ages 5-8 this school holidays.

#MissMakesCode workshop for 5-8 year olds is the world’s first coding initiative aimed solely at this age range, immersing them into a fun and creative world of technology before they have been exposed to any gender-bias, which studies say kicks in around age six.

“We initially piloted #MissMakesCode in 2016 as an initiative specifically targeting girls aged 5-8, as this is the premium age to capture their interest and make coding a native skill like reading and writing. Our success in delivering this workshop to thousands of young girls in 2017, plus upskilling over 1,000 Australian teachers in the program so they can deliver it in their own classrooms, has generated a huge demand with parents and older students who also want to learn to code,” Ms Moran said.

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