9th October 2018
York College staff and students celebrated National Ada Lovelace Day putting a spotlight on the achievements of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) with a series of Ambassador Talks, career drop-in sessions and a poster competition.
In 1843, Ada Lovelace published the world's first computer programme. She created the programme to be used on inventor Charles Babage's general purpose computing machine - the Analytical Engine. She was the first to see the machine's potential and predicted it could be used to create art and music.
Marking the tenth annivesary of Ada Lovelace Day, several female STEM ambassadors visited the College to encourage students studying a range of Digital Technology courses to consider career routes in STEM. Sharing their personal experiences and job roles, they spoke about their educational backgrounds and career paths to date. Amongst the guest speakers were representatives from GCHQ (Government Communications Head Quarters), Drax, Northern Gasworks and a returning student who studied a PhD with the electronical engineering department at the University of York.
Creating a STEM vibe around the College, biographies and quotes from inspirational women in STEM were displayed on screens around the campus, including the astronaut Mae Jemison and the world’s first computer programmer herself, Ada Lovelace. Demonstrating how far STEM careers have advanced for women, students could also read quotes from previous York College students who have studied STEM related courses and have been successful in their careers.
To encourage girls into STEM and supporting women already working within the sectors, the College’s STEM poster competition (sponsored and judged by local cyber security company Software Box Ltd) challenged students to create a poster about an inspirational woman in STEM, with a winning prize of £100 in Amazon vouchers.
Emily Tait, York College student, won our Ada Lovelace design competition and took home the prize of £100 in Amazon vouchers. See below Emily's winning design.
Digital Technologies tutor, Richard Hind is keen to shout about the fantastic careers in STEM sectors: “We wanted to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Ada Lovelace Day – it’s quite incredible to realise that over 100 years ago Ada Lovelace wrote the first computer programs for Babbage’s proposed mechanical computer. Today we are still failing to achieve a good gender balance in STEM workplaces and yet there are so many career opportunities for women. At York College we do all we can to support and encourage female student in STEM related subjects and I hope Ada Lovelace Day informs students to find out more about relevant careers in STEM.”