From left: Kehli Cousins, Sashamoy Palmer, Mrs. Jenice Lynch, Lecturer, SCIT, Divinia Bryan, Tuwanie Morgan, Dr. Sean Thorpe, Head of School, SCIT, Roshelle Pinnock and Juleen Gentles.
May 14 2019 marked a historic day for the School of Computing and Information Technology (SCIT), when the six-member team who represented UTech, Jamaica won the coveted 3rd Girls in ICT Hackathon national championship. UTech, Jamaica came out on top against Northern Caribbean University and the University of the West Indies who placed second and third respectively in the young women category.
The event was held in observance of Girls in ICT Day celebrations and is part of a thrust to kindle the interest of Jamaica’s females in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). The competition involves young women and girls from across Jamaica who compete using technology to solve the issues of gender-based violence and climate change and climate resilience.
The team consisted of Team Captain – Juleen Gentles, Social Media Guru – Tuwanie Morgan, Roshelle Pinnock, Sashamoy Palmer, Kehli Cousins, Divinia Bryan and Kasjshae Quimwarrwye.
The team’s winning solution targeted Climate Change and Resilience. They designed a mobile application prototype called Green Dream. The application helps households reduce their carbon footprint by allowing them to be more efficient with the energy/electricity consumption and also by optimizing their driving patterns to consume less petrol and release less exhaust daily. The application consists of several challenges that members of a household can engage in competition against and with each other, for example recycling challenges, conservation challenges and other activities that promote a healthy environment.
From left-: Juleen Gentles) and Tuwanie Morgan (right) show Hon. Fayval Williams(centre) Minister of Science, Energy and Technology their mobile app, Green Dream.
Dr. Sean Thorpe Head of SCIT expressed his sheer delight on the achievement of these young women and their staff coach Ms Christine Anuli and mentor Ms Jenice Lynch. Dr Thorpe describes the achievement as “a monumental feat for these six young women and the academic staff team who worked with them,” adding that “this serves as a shining example for the School as a whole – that through team work the dream does work. This type of staff and student engagement is to be revered as it creates seeds of opportunities for people and the community around them,” the Head of School said.
Dr Thorpe noted further that “SCIT fielded three teams this year which showed the level of commitment that these young women had in wanting to win the event. I am so happy for these students and by extension let me thank all the SCIT staff and their diligent efforts to support and encourage our students to engage in these types of visible national activities. This can only serve to build the public image and visibility of the School, the Faculty and the University on a whole. I do know that plans are already underway to defend the title at the 2020 staging,” he said.
The girls were involved in several activities to gain points before the day of the hackathon. These included producing a podcast, launching a social media campaign, attending online webinars on prototyping, designing, pitching, etc. The students also engaged in a tree planting activity in keeping with the competition’s theme of staying green. The team planted two almond trees on the UTech, Jamaica Papine Campus.
The prize awards included J$30,000 dollars each for the members of the winning team and their coach courtesy of NCB as well as a paid Summer Internship courtesy of Spectrum Management Authority for the winning team to work in the area of Information Technology. In addition, the captain of the winning team travelled to Trinidad on June 18, 2019, courtesy of the GirlsInICT sponsors to promote their winning mobile application solution as well as to use the opportunity to engage and empower other young women across the region to pursue opportunities in ICT.
Giving feedback, the team members of the winning SCIT team reported that the experience was empowering, eye-opening and showed the possibilities for career advancement, as well as provided opportunities to make a difference, allowed team members to identify their strengths and to demonstrate that hard work pays off.
The School of Computing and Information Technology, Faculty of Engineering and Computing and the wider University Community extend congratulations to the Girls in ICT teams on their notable achievement.