City’s Women in Computing Society (Women ++) is also launched at the event.
Carrie Anne Philbin MBE, Director of Learning at the Institute of the Imagination, delivered the 2023 Ada Lovelace Lecture at City, University of London on 24th May 2023.
Ada Lovelace (1815-1852), was an English mathematician who wrote an algorithm for a computing machine in the mid-1800s. She is seen as “the first computer programmer.”
Introduced by Dr Sionade Robinson, City’s Vice President for Enterprise, Engagement and Employability, Carrie Anne’s lecture was titled STEMMING the Tide: Cultivating a Passion for Computing in the Next Generation.
Her very informative and thought-provoking lecture (which also drew on personal experience with computers as a child and young person) looked at overcoming the challenges around computer literacy and the teaching of computing and the ways in which present and future generation of young people could become passionate about computing.
Carrie Anne spoke about the vital need for the educational system to awaken creativity in learners instead of suppressing it, especially in relation to the teaching of computing.
Citing several leading academic researchers such as Dr Sue Sentance and Dr Peter Kemp (and sharing insights gleaned from her MSc STEM Education research), Carrie Anne spoke of the disparities between girls and boys in computing, noting that “many girls were more interested in digital art as distinct from computing”.
She spoke of the need for girls and young women to possess more ‘computing capital’ so as to boost their ‘self-efficacy’.
Carrie Anne is the host of a Computer Science series on popular educational YouTube channel Crash Course and the creator of a YouTube video series for teenage girls called the Geek Gurl Diaries, which has won a Talk Talk Digital Hero Award. The episodes include interviews with women working in technology and hands on computer science-based tutorials.
She is also the author of 'Adventures in Raspberry Pi' a computing book for teenagers wanting to get started with Raspberry Pi and programming. She is Winner of Teach Secondary magazine's Technology & Innovation Best Author award 2014.
The day of the Ada Lovelace Lecture also saw the launch of City’s first ever ‘Women in Computing Society (Women ++) comprising a combined group of academics and students: Dr Marjahan Begum, Dr Mai Elshehaly, Poorvika Negi (MSc Artificial Intelligence alumna), Yasamin Kardar (STAGE 1 STUDENT), Shiva Taherzadeh and Mayra Sara Mita Gabriel (MSc Data Science).
The Society is passionate about women in computer science and the representation and diversity of women, following in the footsteps of women at other universities who have bravely embarked on founding similar societies and interest groups.
As outlined in the Society’s strategy document, Dr Begum says:
“We want to create an environment where women can thrive and contribute. Essentially, we want to address the diversity challenge to recruit more women in computer science (academic staff and students) and retain them by creating a positive environment.”
“Our launch event marks the start of our initiatives consisting of research-informed activities around three themes: Confidence building, creating a culture of belonging, and addressing inequalities. In the future we will host the annual Ada Lovelace Lecture to promote the successes of our students, staff and wider groups of female professionals in academia and Industry.”