IT scholarships for female students

  • Back row, left to right: BHS Head of School Linda Parker, Minister of Government Reform Lovitta Foggo and Dmitry Mnushkin, Treefrog Consulting Ltd President.

Front row, left to right: BHS pupils Lara Backeberg, Kameron Young and Ashlyn Lee.

Three students have landed IT scholarships in a bid to get more women into the industry.

Lara Backeberg, 13, Ashlyn Lee, 15, and Kameron Young, 16, from Bermuda High School for Girls, each landed $5,000 scholarships from software specialists Treefrog Consulting Ltd.

The girls have demonstrated excellence in the fields of robotics, computer science and artificial intelligence.

Dmitry Mnushkin, Treefrog president, said: “We hope that we can make this an annual award as there is a real need to get more women into the IT industry. It is estimated that only one in nine people working in this area are women. That is not enough.

“We are also extremely keen on helping to develop the IT skills of young people here in Bermuda and hopefully these scholarships will go some way towards that goal.”

Mr Mnushkin added: “Lara, Ashlyn and Kameron are all outstanding students and I hope this scholarship shows them that their efforts are very much worthwhile and deserving of our praise and support.

“These young ladies represent the future of computing and we are happy to play a small part in their continued success.”

Head of School, Linda Parker said BHS has three types of robotics clubs, one of which is run by the students who represented Bermuda in the First Global Competition last summer, against 162 other countries, placing 59th, ahead of the United States, Britain and Russia. Two of the recipients were on that team.

“We also have a coding and hacking club, Steam club, maker club and a digital leaders programme.

“Computer science and robotics are also built into the curriculum. This academic year, we have partnered with Great4Learning, which is owned by our new head of computer science, Darren Burchall, to offer Steam camps to girls across the island.”

Ms Parker added: “Our responsibility in schools is to provide these kind of skills, they are the employable skills and are required in a variety of professions. Our job is to prepare these girls for the future. In addition, there is a lack of representation by women in fields such as robotics and it is important that we help to address that.

“Lara is the most enthusiastic student that we can think of with computer science and robotics, Ashlyn is a very smart young lady who was part of the First Global Robotics team as the strategist and Kameron was part of the First Global Robotics team. She worked incredibly hard for her GCSE exams, gaining four grades higher than predicted and ending with 7As and 2Bs.”

Year 9 student Lara said she had her sights set on a career in technology, adding: “I like to learn how things work and to put things together. Using technology comes easy to me and I like being able to do stuff. I’d like to thank Mr Mnushkin for his generosity.”

Ashlyn said: “I do see it as a career path and definitely want to continue studying these fields. I am very grateful for the scholarships which will help me further my studies.”

Kameron said: “The science side of technology interests me, things like neuron technology. I am really delighted to receive this scholarship.”

Government reform minister Lovitta Foggo congratulated the students and told them: “You are our future and these scholarships will help you develop your skills. I wish you all the very best with your education and I am sure you will all go very far.”