30 October 2019

Department of Computer Science donates kit to support SheFest.

The Department of Computer Science are delighted support the SheFest Robotics Programme by donating kit that will be used in workshops to teach young women to build and test their own robots. The kit was purchased with money donated by epiGenesys to help support outreach activities.

Robotics kit and staff members

SheFest was founded in 2016 by a small group of Sheffield based, female, social entrepreneurs as a not-for-profit organisation, SheFest first began as a one-day event in 2015 in partnership with Sheffield City Council. Born out of the Women’s Hub, part of the council’s Equality Hub Network, as a desire to increase the representation and engagement of Sheffield residents throughout International Women’s Day celebrations.

In January 2019, two SheFest committee members became World Education Robotics (WER) specialists following teacher training. They were inspired to address the gender imbalance within science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). They will be hosting a series of workshops. Each workshop will allow a group of young women to build and test their own robot. Launching in March 2020, as part of SheFest 2020. Following the workshops, there will be opportunities for those interested to take part in the regional, national, or even international World Education Robotics Contest.

As a not-for-profit organisation SheFest rely on sponsorship and donations in order to run their workshops. Claire Healey, who works at the University and is on the SheFest Committee, contacted the Department of Computer Science to ask if they would be sponsors.  

We are delighted to have been donated these Robots.  Our partnership with the university will allow us to engage young girls in a topic we are passionate about as well as get them actively involved in STEM, a field where women are still very much underrepresented.  Getting young girls into critical thinking, problem solving and STEM education is something we wouldn't have been able to do without the university helping us to access these resources and we couldn't be more grateful."

SheFest

The Head of Department, Prof Guy Brown, is “delighted to be able to support this initiative” and stated that “as a department we are striving to address the gender imbalance within the subject area. We are proud to hold a Silver Athena SWAN award which recognises the Department’s commitment to create an inclusive working environment that allows both women and men to thrive. By supporting initiatives like SheFest we are encouraging the next generation of computer scientists and engineers to join the field.”

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