22 March 2022

Undergraduate student wins award at the FDM Everywoman in Technology Awards 2022

Congratulations to undergraduate student, Lea Button, who has received the One to Watch Award at the FDM Everywoman in Technology Awards 2022 for her work encouraging girls to study STEM subjects at school.

Student winning an award

Lea is a first-year Computer Science student studying at The University of Sheffield. She has created a scheme to introduce cybersecurity to girls at her secondary school. She has created the lesson material so it can be taught by anyone. 

It felt absolutely surreal to win this award, it has really validated the work I've done so far towards helping to get girls into Computer Science. I had felt as if I didn't really have much of an impact with what I've done and what I'm doing, but it really showed me that it is worth it and really important to keep doing it! I also hope it can show other girls, particularly those younger than me, that they can do the same, and to also inspire them to get into Tech.

Student winning an award

When Lea was in year 10 at school she began attending summer camps which focussed on getting young people into Cybersecurity. At school she was one of the only girls taking GCSE computer science, and the only girl taking A-Level computer science, so attending the summer camps where she was in an environment surrounded by like-minded people her own age further solidified what she wanted to do in the future and made her want to encourage more girls into the field.

“ I had been disheartened prior to attending the summer camps because I had felt very out of place perusing and being interested in something I saw no one similar to me doing. However, I realised I really did want to be in cybersecurity after meeting girls of my age the same as me, and after meeting women in the industry on these courses.” 

The lesson plan Lea has created follows the story of a dinosaur who has a secret. Every week/lesson, the pupils learn a new concept of cybersecurity, e.g. the first week is an introduction to encryption/ciphers, so they learn about a simple cesar cipher. The dinosaur has a secret that week, and after learning the content, they have exercises where they decipher the dinosaur's encoded secret. There are also extra weekly bonus challenges. As the weeks progress, the pupils learn more and more complex ideas, and the dinosaur in turn gets better and better at hiding his secrets.

About the award

One to Watch Award - Sponsored by Computacenter

This is awarded to a girl aged 11-18 who is actively encouraging girls to study STEM subjects at school-level or making waves in the tech space. This award seeks to identify young game-changers and is open to inspirational students.

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