As more opportunities arise for women to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM), Carlsbad Unified School District takes pride in its new generation of STEAM Girls. Some of these talented young women are demonstrating their skills in programs such as the Women’s Hackathon and the Project Lead The Way (PLTW) Engineering pathway. Other girls are learning coding, electronics, design, and science in classrooms across the district.
In October, six students from Carlsbad High School (CHS) and Sage Creek High School (SCHS) competed in the Women’s Hackathon held at Cal State University San Marcos. In the Hackathon, high school girls and college women work in teams to create technology solutions for selected nonprofit organizations, with the assistance of professionals from local industries who serve as mentors or judges.
Teams from Carlsbad Unified won two of the top awards in the competition. Claire Perhach, Kendall Schubert, and Margaret Yao from SCHS—and Hannah Ghassemian, Hanna Hong, and Kayla Choi from CHS—used their analytical and coding skills to solve a problem for a nonprofit organization, and then did a presentation on their solution to a team of judges.
The Foundation for Animal Care and Education, a nonprofit that provides grants for people unable to afford emergency or critical care for their pets, wanted to establish a forum on its website to give those people information about pet services in their area. Claire Perhach, Margaret Yao, Hannah Ghassemian, Hanna Hong, and Kayla Choi, through brainstorming and with some guidance from their mentors, were able to use Facebook Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to set up a “chat bot” that could provide location access information to users based on keywords.
Kendall Schubert’s team, made up of students from CSUSM and other high schools, also won in its category. The team took on a challenge for Hera Labs, a nonprofit that helps women launch and scale their businesses. The team’s project was to create a small website to help keep Hera Lab’s clients on track.
Dr. Saied Moezzi, who teaches AP Computer Science at CHS and Computer Science Principles at SCHS, says, “These students deserve to be recognized for their successes in the Hackathon. They are hardworking students who excelled in a field of top students from across the county.”
Physics and Engineering teacher James Fieberg is proud of the girls in his 4th year Project Lead The Way Engineering class. There, groups of students are creating innovative solutions to well-researched problems. For example, Bonnie Brasher and Zyra Kingston are working with other students to design a cheaper version of noise canceling headphones. As Bonnie says, “The best part of PLTW is that what we learn is applicable to getting jobs and being ready for college. There are lots of interesting internships and field trips.” Bonnie wants to study aerospace and mechanical engineering in college. Zyra is interested in mechanical, architectural, or civil engineering.
Kirsten Steele and Keely Hsieh’s group is designing a hydration monitor that fits on your arm and, using bioelectrical impedance analysis, measures how much water is in your fat/skin. The monitor transmits through bluetooth, so you can read the results on a smartphone app. A runner or a laborer who works in the hot sun would be warned if they became seriously dehydrated. Kirsten would like to study mechanical engineering. Keely is interested in mechanical and computer engineering and wants to be involved in design.
At Carlsbad Unified, the Future is Now—and our girls are up for the challenge.