Ada Lovelace Day 2016 – A Map of Events Worldwide

Today is Ada Lovelace Day, the international celebration of achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and math. There’s a huge, interactive database of events to attend.

Ada Lovelace Day Events

Click to go to the interactive map, list, or calendar.

British activist and journalist Suw Charman-Anderson founded Ada Lovelace Day in 2009. Her official site hosts an interactive database of 2016 events and activities. You can view them as a calendar, a list, a map, or photos. You can narrow events to your local area, and export them to an ICS file to load onto your personal calendar.

In Hackbright’s San Francisco / Silicon Valley neighborhood, there are three events worth checking out:

  • Oct 11, Tuesday, 6:30-9:00 pm
  • Oct 12, Wednesday, 5:30-8:00 pm
  • Now through December 12
    • The Computer History Museum’s exhibit Thinking Big: Ada, Countess of Lovelace features historical documents from Ada’s childhood, correspondence with her tutors including Charles Babbage, and paintings and photographs from her life. Admission is $15.

Charman-Anderson says the goal of Ada Lovelace Day is to “increase the profile of women in STEM and, in doing so, create new role models who will encourage more girls into STEM careers and support women already working in STEM.”

She adds:

The inspiration for Ada Lovelace Day came from psychologist Penelope Lockwood, who carried out a study which found that women need to see female role models more than men need to see male role models. “Outstanding women can function as inspirational examples of success,” Lockwood said, “illustrating the kinds of achievements that are possible for women around them. They demonstrate that it is possible to overcome traditional gender barriers, indicating to other women that high levels of success are indeed attainable.”

She chose Ada as her archetypical role model. In 1842 the Countess of Lovelace wrote down what is believed to be the first known algorithm meant for a machine, her friend Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine. A working Difference Engine wasn’t built until 1991, as a museum piece. But the Countess’ pseudo-code has inspired engineers from the start.

Hackbright Academy is eager to promote Ada Lovelace Day, as we work to help women software engineers become just such “inspirational examples of success” by raising awareness, access, and the size of the candidate pool.

If you know of an event not listed on the site, you can create an account and add it yourself.

Any questions or problems? We love puzzles! Please do email me and we’ll help you participate in the day with us.

Inspired to become a programmer? You can become a software engineer in 3 months at Hackbright Academy, the leading engineering school for women in San Francisco. Learn more about our program at our upcoming Info Session on October 12th in person or via livestream.

6 Ways Parents Can Encourage a Love of Science and Tech in Their Kids

If you’re keen to get your kid interested in STEM, we’ve got 6 strategies to help you open their eyes to the wonders of science and technology! According to STEM education advocacy group Change the Equation, just 56 percent of high schools offer a computer science class of any sort. The situation with science isn’t much better.

“On average, students in kindergarten through third grade spend 19 minutes a day on science and 89 minutes per day on language arts. This abbreviated exposure reduces time students spend solving open-ended problems and investigating, experimenting, and observing the world,” reveals Vanessa Stratton, Vice President of Programs at Project Lead The Way. “Young people begin to see science, technology, engineering, and math [STEM] as a series of discrete facts that have no connection to their lives.”

“Science class is not well connected to broader, relevant things in the workplace and to life after school,” agrees Claus Von Zastrow, director of research at Change the Equation. No wonder by the time they get to high school, only 37 percent of students tell pollsters they like science class.

So what do you do if, as a parent, you’re convinced this just isn’t good enough? How can you nudge your own kids towards an interest in STEM?

The good news is you have a lot to work with. First, kids are naturally curious about the world. The same poll that found a minority of kids like studying science in school, also found that 81 percent liked science itself. Second, there are a ton of resources at parents’ disposal to help you open your kids’ eyes to the wonders of STEM.

explore the world together

1. Explore the world together.

In fact, the world itself can be seen as one huge laboratory for your kids to explore. Encourage them to ask questions and find their own answers. “Instead of answering questions such as, ‘Why do leaves change color in the fall?; turn the question around and ask them what they think,” Stratton advises parents.

Von Zastrow has an even more specific suggestion: Science Buddies, a website that offers thousands of ideas for at-home experiments. Or check out citizen science projects that allow young people to take part in actual, ongoing studies in which real-life researchers deputize the public to help sift through or provide data, from examining silt for micro-fossils to photographing lady bugs for entomologists. Scientific American has a list of ongoing projects. Online coding classes and programs are a good bet as well – you can check out this list of free websites that teach kids coding.

Ada lovelace

2. Introduce them to STEM professionals.

This tip may be easier for parents who work in a STEM field themselves, but introducing your children to real-life scientists and technologists can go a long way to proving STEM leads to viable and fascinating career options. If that’s a stretch given your location or social circle, your local library may be your next best bet.

“Many books now exist for primary students including non-fiction offerings such as Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine by Laurie Wallmark and The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer; and fictional offerings such as Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty,” Stratton points out.

girls goldieblox

3. Provide the right kind of toys.

Children’s books and web resources can help parents spark a love of science, but so can the right kind of toys. And today, thankfully, there are more great options than ever before. Focus on multi-functional toys that allow for open-ended play, suggests Stratton. “Some of my sons’ favorite activities over the years have included Magna-Tiles, GoldieBlox building sets, and Minecraft,” she says.

Or just stick with old standbys from a time when childhood was less structured and more imaginative. “I would also encourage parents to supply their children with basic supplies and unstructured time to allow them opportunities to explore the outdoors, observe insects and wildlife, and build structures with cardboard, sticks, and other recycled items,” Stratton adds.

4. Explain that STEM is for everyone.

While there are excellent toys out there for budding scientists, there are also some offerings at your local toy store that send exactly the wrong message, especially for girls. Von Zastrow suggests that while books or toys that portray space exploration or dinosaurs as “for boys” and ironing and fashion as “for girls” are highly annoying (and still all too common), they also offer parents a perfect teaching moment.

“Intentionally talk to your kids about what they’re seeing and explain why, if it’s ridiculous, it’s ridiculous,” Von Stratton tells parents. “Kids soak it up,” he says of this sort of stereotype-busting talk, “but it’s going to be a constant fight.”

For more resources to encourage your little girl to get excited about STEM, check out GoldieBlox, Black Girls CodeEngineerGirl, Girls Who CodeYellow Scope, RoboGabby and A Mighty Girl for games, books, tutorials, events and more!

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5. Find the science in your kid’s hobby.

Another approach to encourage a love of science and tech is to enter through the back door. Rather than pushing STEM directly, figure out what your kids are already passionate about already and highlight how that connects to technology and science. There’s a link for almost any interest you can imagine.

“Computer science is becoming infused into all areas of our lives. I would encourage parents of kids who might feel like science isn’t for them to look closely at a hobby or interest of theirs and find the science, technology, engineering, and math involved,” suggests Stratton. “Hobbies such as sports, fashion, art, and music involve STEM. In short, find the hobby and look for the science.”

mom and daughter coding

6. Be persistent.

Finally, just keep chipping away at it. “So many people led to my decision to become a NASA engineer,” says real-life rocket scientist Jenny Moss. “It wasn’t one particular moment that set me off in that direction. It was a progression of support that led to my career.”

“I’ve learned it takes an army to keep people moving forward, especially women in engineering. They need encouragement and nudges in the right direction all along the way,” agrees aerospace engineer Jamie Krakover.

“The most important thing a parent can do to encourage a love of science in their child is to provide support and encouragement,” concludes Stratton, who points to research showing that encouragement from family and peers is the key to getting kids interested in STEM and keeping them hooked.

In other words, you really do have the power to shape your kids’ feelings about science and technology. Now go exercise it wisely.

Hackbright Academy is the leading engineering school for women. Learn more about the programs we offer here.