With a focus on Year 9 and 10 girls from Māori and Pasifika backgrounds, the DigiWahine programme strives to dispel stereotypes associated with high tech jobs through mentors, role models, and technical experiences.
The 17th of May saw DigiWahine’s first event for 2021 at the Bay of Islands College, with 90+ Year 9 and 10 Māori and Pasifika girls in attendance. The beautiful sights of the town Kawakawa and upbeat volunteers set the tone, with students abuzz from the inspirational keynote speech from Eteroa Lafaele, a Developer Evangelist at Xero.
After a great kick off to the day, the students then began their workshop rotations where they got hands on with various technologies. This included a Power Apps Workshop with Apprising, with students learning to build a mobile phone app to recognise objects with Microsoft Power Platform. The girls then witnessed the wonders of robotics with Spot the Robot Dog, with the chance to steer him and learn about the mechatronics involved. Students participated in the Kinect with Microsoft workshop, where they interacted and played with the Xbox Kinect. Finally, they were able to get hands on with the Microsoft HoloLens, learning about the VR world and mixed reality games which were a great hit.
After lunch (with thanks to the local Māori business Catering Box for our amazing volunteer meals) and a chance to chat with the girls, discussion groups were held for the students to have more one on one time. These discussions included Sophie Ribton who works in Business Impact & Customer Support at Brightly, Samantha Haehae, an experiential designer, and Lisa Flynn, a director in the Commerce & Lifecycle Services at Ingram Micro. This was an opportunity for students to hear about each of these women’s career journeys and their wise words of advice for these young girls.
DigiWahine at Bay of Islands College for 2021 saw countless smiles, laughs and moments of inspiration, not only for the students but also the volunteers. As 2021 unfolds, Microsoft DigiWahine is looking to support young generations of Māori and Pasifika in their career and technology journeys all around the North Island, so keep an eye out for future events to come!