Children ages 4 to 17 and their parents worked together on technology-related projects during Bring Your Daughter to Hack Day, held recently at the University of New Orleans.
New Orleans Women in Technology organized the event for the second year. Sponsorship by 365 Connect, UNO and GE Capital made the event free for about 75 children who attended.
Boys were welcome at the event, but its specific purpose was to encourage girls to engage with technology at a young age.
The kids and parents worked on one of four projects, targeted to different age groups, in which they dealt with fundamental concepts in engineering, coding and video production. About a dozen coaches from the New Orleans tech community were on hand to help.
For children ages 4-8, the workshop was Thinkarella’s STEM Laboratory. Thinkarella provides hands-on experiments to inspire the next generation of makers, builders, shapers, doers and inventors. Cherie Melancon Franz, of New Orleans, created the program, which expanded to Mandeville this year.
Like the other teachers at Bring Your Daughter to Hack Day, the teachers from Thinkarella donated their time, helping the younger children with activities including creating stars that twinkled with battery power and vibrating noise machines based on plastic cups. For children ages 8-12, the project was the Electric Girls Work Bench, in which they explored the basics of electronic engineering, learned to use a soldering iron and experimented with circuit boards. They used a conductive dough to complete electrical circuits and light a bulb and used the vibration devices from cellphones to make small robots move.
Electric Girls is a project of Flor Serna, who started it in 2014 in response to her experience as an audio engineer in a male-dominated field. Electric Girls meets Saturday mornings in the Idea Lab at St. Martin’s Episcopal School in Metairie. The cost is $600 for a 12-week session; scholarships are available.
Children ages 11 and up had a choice of participating in the Elephant Quilt Video Studio or the Website Factory with Tech Talent South.
New Orleans-based filmmaker Ben Samuels guided participants in the Elephant Quilt Video Studio as each one used stock video and music clips to create a 30-second commercial about either technology or New Orleans. They learned the basics of timeline creation, sound editing and captioning using free video editing software.
Website Factory participants had assistance from Sia Karamalegos, of Tech Talent South, as they used a basic text editor and browser to built websites on topics of their choice, which ranged from the earthbound (high-heeled shoes) to the intergalactic (nebulas).
The day ended with a project showcase.
Volunteers and coaches for Bring Your Daughters to Hack Day were as follows:
Sarah Lohmeier, Becca Roth, Cassie Wang, Jocelyn Horner, Lila Mohamed, Ana Muñoz, Dom Saulet, Cindy Chang, Chloe Frank, Mykia Smith, Chris Huddleston, Lindsey Dale, Brittany Roberts, Andrea Foglesong, Lindsey Foster, Ambyr-Shae Jarrell, Ave Maria Bordenave, Jill Edwards, Susie Diaz, Ny-Kaira Gray, Cristian Franco, Cynthiya Shrestha and Yessica Ruiz Carrasco.