University of Calgary

Explore IT

UToday HomeMay 10, 2012

By Jennifer Sowa

Students at Explore IT in 2011 test the LEGO Mindstorm robots they built and programmed in the design labs at the Schulich School of Engineering. Photo by David MollStudents at Explore IT in 2011 test the LEGO Mindstorm robots they built and programmed in the design labs at the Schulich School of Engineering. Photo by David MollMay 9 wasn’t a typical school day for about 650 girls in junior high school. The grade 9 girls stepped out of their classrooms and into the world of information technology. Calgary’s three largest post-secondary institutions partnered for Explore IT, an event to raise awareness among young women about information technology and careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The University of Calgary, Mount Royal University and SAIT Polytechnic hosted interactive presentations and laboratory demonstrations throughout the day. At all three schools, girls heard words of wisdom and inspiration from keynote speaker Nicole Gerald, a systems engineer at Cisco Systems.

At the Schulich School of Engineering, students built and programmed search-and-rescue robots, hunted for treasure using GPS, built electronic circuit boards and met LINDSAY the Virtual Human, an interactive computer model.

At SAIT Polytechnic, students explored a state-of-the-art television studio and discovered the elements that go into producing a news program, including the roles of camera operators, computer graphic experts, lighting directors, and news anchors. They also created mobile applications for smart phones and got a peek inside the world of computer forensics by learning how to protect against viruses, Malware and Trojan Horses.

Mount Royal University featured a life-size aviation simulator and a session on cryptography examining how people throughout history have used codes to send secret information. Students also learned about information design by using technology to create their own postcard, and they explored the field of biomimicry, the study of sustainable design ideas found in nature.

Explore IT began 13 years ago and has exposed more than 5,000 female students in Calgary to the world of information technology and the range of career options. For more information, visit www.explore-it.ca.