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Technology as a man’s domain is an antiquated idea getting a redesign thanks to opportunities like the Virtual Reality Environment Design event sponsored by Women in Technology and attended by Thomas County Central High School Girls Who Code club.
Sponsor Mark Thompson, who teaches computer science classes, wanted his students to attend because he feels it is essential to expose them to as many aspects of technology as possible, which touches nearly every part of their lives.
“The border between art and technology is thinner than we often realize,” Thompson said. “Just as importantly, girls are overlooked when it comes to computer science. This event was a great way to show our female students that there are so many different ways to use technology. If they are inspired to create, then it was a worthy trip.”
The group from TCCHS included Emily Wood, Lainey Woodfin, Cadence Curnalia, Heather Smith, Shelby Bryant, Rowan Garland, Julia Hutchings and Genesis Mickles. Held April 30 in Duluth, girls from across Georgia participated and split into teams to design 3-Dimensional environments using VR headsets.
Sophomore Julia Hutchings, 15, attended to learn more about the VR experience and potential VR occupations.
“My favorite part of this trip was seeing how differently other girls’ minds work, how their creative flow is different,” Hutchings said.
Sophomore Genesis Mickles, 15, loved drawing in VR more than digitally or traditionally.
“When drawing in VR, it’s like you’re closer to your art,” she said. “I can’t describe it.”
WIT judges selected one team’s design as the best overall. They invited its members to attend the 2022 WIT Connect networking event June 4 alongside hundreds of top-level executives and leaders in the technology industry.
Mickles was a member of that group.
“It’s nice being a member of the winning team,” Mickles said. “Getting to go back and learn more about what I can do with technology is amazing for me!”
Her team chose deep-sea mysteries as its inspiration.
“We decided that with the deep-sea environment, you could go crazy with ideas: underwater creatures that haven’t been discovered, underwater colonies, etc.,” she said.
According to its official website, WIT strives to empower girls and women to embrace and excel in Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Math, or S.T.E.A.M., opportunities and professions through offering education, exposure and experience. For more information, visit mywit.org.
Hutchings appreciates the opportunity to attend the event and supports WIT’s mission.
“It is important for girls to have outlets where they can learn more and act more on technological occupations,” Hutchings said. “Our world is moving toward being very tech-savvy, and girls need to see that there are many occupations out there for them and what are the benefits.”