Four Year 10 students have taken the Melbourne University Electrical Engineering Club (MUEEC) by storm, achieving first place in SuperHack. The event involved a hackathon designed to teach girls the technical skills required to solve a design challenge based on a real industry problem. The School of Engineering at the University of Melbourne sponsored the event, as well as various companies including Schneider Electric.
Charlotte, Anay, Isobel and Emily competed in a challenge against teams of 3 to 5 girls from Years 10 and 11 from schools across Victoria, programming robots to perform various challenges, including a rescue mission.
The weekend also provided the opportunity for the girls to network with industry and university mentors. Charlotte, Anay, and Isobel, and Emily received $1000 in prize money for their brilliant efforts.
We are incredibly proud of our students to continue to go above and beyond to challenge themselves and learn new skills in this emerging field.
Some of the students involved reflected on their experience at SuperHack, and we have provided these below.
Charlotte, Year 10
Following my enjoyment in the algorithmic elective this year, I was extremely eager to sign up to participate in the Melbourne Uni run ‘SuperHack’ event as it seemed both an interesting and educational opportunity. Throughout the weekend, we each learnt and refined our skills in coding by learning a new language, Cee. With the help of our mentors, we learnt the application of our code using the robot and its different features such as Infrared scanners, line sensors and an LCD screen. On the second day, using our skills developed from the previous sessions, we worked as a team to solve a maze based problem. To solve the task required collaboration between all of us as well as a problem solving mindset. Whilst frustrating at the time, we all learnt the importance of perseverance needed in this type of field when sometimes working on possible solutions for hours to find it doesn’t work. When competing against other schools we were judged on our robots ability to navigate the maze, the quality of our code and a final interview of our processes. Reflecting on the jam packed two days, there were moments of frustration, lack of hope and just annoyance but overcoming these moments resulted in a very rewarding experience in which we got to interact with other girls interested in STEM as well as professionals in the area and at Melbourne University.
Emily Year 10
I entered into the Super-Hack as I wanted to gain experience in the field of emerging technologies as well as learning some potentially useful skills for my future. Overall I really enjoyed the weekend and learnt so much more than I thought I would, as well as a new coding language. I also learnt how to work more collaboratively with others to come up with different solutions and how we could make those work. In order to complete the tasks we had to program a robot to do a number of tasks including staying on a black line and choosing a direction to go at an intersection. As a group we had to use our coding skills to interpret the tasks and successfully complete them then, at the end of the day we raced our robot on a large setup against the others teams to see who would win. This competition has shown me how much I enjoy coding and challenges such as this and I would love to use these skills in my future education or work.
Anay Year 10
On the weekend of December 1st, myself and three other girls participated in a hackathon. On the first day we learnt how to code a robot to travel certain speeds, make sounds with differing frequencies, print out text on an LCD screen, turn on LEDs, and many more basic commands. We also heard from a speaker, who had broken the glass ceiling in her field, showing us that women can be leaders and can work in areas of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). On the second day we had the competition, coding a robot to follow any black line, and turn when needed so that it could stay on track. We had to use its sensors to detect whether it was on the path and where to go if it wasn’t. The final submission was brought into a room with a track we had no prior knowledge of, and followed it until it reach the end. We had to face the challenge of an unknown path, so had to make the robot make decisions, rather than follow a specific path. We also programmed some creative things like making it beep when close to an object and also displaying on the screen how close objects were. We heard from two other speakers, reminding us that women are allowed to do STEM, even though it’s male dominated. The message with the biggest impact, was from someone referred to by many as a “hackathon queen”. She taught us to share our stories and be proud of our achievements, that we should see others success as a goal, rather than competition. Girls need to learn to not be afraid of what they achieve, having first hand experience of girls being afraid to stare their amazing achievements made this message even more impactful. I chose to participate because I have a passion for science and maths, and enjoy coding.