Girlsmart Workshop, 2011

Girlsmarts Workshops a Phenomenal Success

Held on January 29 and February 5, the 2011 Girlsmarts workshops for Grade 6 girls were a phenomenal success. Coordinators Sarah Rastkar and James Lo led a team of about 50 student volunteers who provided two full days of educational and fun programming activities for more than 140 Grade 6 girls.

Together with volunteer Jacky Kong, James Lo increased the number of participants by 50% over last year. James also worked with the logistics team to guide the participants through educational activities and demos. Sarah, with the help of four activities leaders, coordinated the updating, testing and delivery of all the hands-on activities and demos, and helped the programming team completely redesign the programming activity using Kudo.

A big thank-you to Sarah and James for going above and beyond the call of duty to make the workshops a huge success. The group and activities leaders, as well as the volunteers, deserve applause for working tirelessly to make the two Saturdays such a fun and enjoyable experience for the participants.

The success of the workshops is a product of the amazing community spirit of the CS Department. Other than the strong team of undergraduate and graduate student volunteers, staff members Colleen Diamond, Carlin Phillips, Moyra Ditchfield, Hazita Harun, Tim Li and Renée Stephen helped with practice runs, website updates and registration. Faculty members Kim Voll, Gail Murphy and Mike Feeley helped with demos and practice runs.


  • Group Leaders: Mary Muir, Christine Yu, Ryanna Yang, Chandni Navani, Angel Cheung, Jessica Dawson, Leigh-Anne Mathieson, Albertina Wong.
  • Programming activity team: Michelle Hillier (team leader), Shama Rashid, Christopher Goodfellow, Kai Ding, Andrew Duan, Rose Gambrel, Kai Di Chen.
  • Hardware activity team: Amy Kwok (team leader), Peter Cheung (assoc. team leader), Ron Maharik, Melissa Johnson, Ka-Ho Cheng, Anika Mahmud 
  • HCI activity team: Shannon Larson (team leader), Jenny Chu, Mona Haraty, Jennifer Waldern, Jré Sarenac, Thea McKerricher, Garros Chan, Vivian Luk, Andre Malan.
  • HTML activity team: Ivy Tsai (team leader), Michelle Chuang, Diane Tam, Kasandra Fcong, Jerome Li.
  • Logistics team: Khushi Chachcha, Michael Choi, Evelyn Kim, Jacky Kong, Michelle Susanto, Amy Shuang Yu.
  • Demo presenters: Benjamin Jones, Andrej Karpathy, Mary Muir, Kimberly Voll

Feedback from workshop participants:

  • "I liked that they made computers pretty fun."
  • "I liked "how everyone was nice and super helpful. HTML was cool."
  • "I loved the website building. It was super challenging, but very fun and you feel really good about yourself at the end."
  • "I really liked how the programs are more hands on and less like lectures."
  • "I learned that even in university they use Xbox controllers; it was really fun knocking out turtles instead of feeding it and I also enjoyed making new friends."
  • "I was able to learn more about computer science than I did before and I learned how things worked, how programs were made, and I was able to make new friends."
  • "I love making websites and also learned how to make them.  Soooo cool!! :) Also loved programming Kodu loved it!"
  • "I liked how everybody was really nice ! I also liked that we actually got to make our very own website!"
  • "I loved the programming, I love free candy :-), HTML is so cool and I love everything today! :) Kodu was so fun.  I programmed Kduto eat the turtle ;-), and I deleted all of the land.  Evil!  Wicked!  It was so fun!"
  • "I liked everything, it was so much fun! I've never learned more about computer this much before... until now!"
  • "I liked all the volunteers because they were all so nice. I also liked ALL of the programs and learned a lots!"
  • "I loved all the things I learned and the funny group leaders especially... everybody! I love Kudo! we made a pink tree in the sky and rain white apple!"
  • "I liked everything about today.  The think I liked the most was the way GIRLmarts taught the students at the same time we learned and enjoyed ourselves"