In the last week you may have seen around MC and DC some red and white T-shirts with "CS Girls Rock" written on it. For those of you who didn't ask one of the girls wearing the T-shirt, or you I haven't already told 12 times in the last 96 hours, there was a CS seminar going on last week.
In attendance were 40 grade 9/10 students from across Canada, ranging from Winnipeg to Houston BC to the North West Territories. Just as there were no students from Toronto, there were also no male students in attendance. The reasoning behind this is due to an unfortunately harsh reality: the percentage of femmes who enroll into the Faculty of Mathematics at UW has been decreasing since the late 80's, early 90's, and is currently sitting somewhere just below 20%.
Therefore, in an attempt to encourage awareness in Math and Computer Science, a seminar was created, courtesy J.W. Graham and RIM (all hail the ever UW-loving RIM: may they live long and prosper). Since a Math seminar (co-ed) already exists, the push was to develop one more oriented towards CS — attempting to get the students more comfortable with computers, and to get them to know a little more about Computer Science.
They had a great week checking out hardware and software, climbing walls at SportsWorld, watching Shakespeare at Stratford, and watching many many many movies (courtesy the selection at Mackenzie King — finally I've had my watcard for more that 12 h straight!).
As a benefit, they all received these mysterious T-shirts: not the stereotypical Orientation week style T-shirts that are used once, and then are fit for either pajama wear, working out at the gym with, or laundry days. (By the way, for people who like these types of extra extra large T-shirts, I believe that there are some Eng-Scunt gods from this term who are willing to sell them cheap). Instead, we (as a house parent myself, and the two other house parents, received them as well) received T-shirts that FIT!
Even though it was the first time UW has offered this seminar, it was a real blast. I would thoroughly encourage femmes of grade 8/9 to try it out next year. Unfortunately, I'm not sure how many people of grade 8/9 read mathNEWS, so instead I would like to say that YES, it IS possible to get GOOD T-shirts out of seminars and camps and such (it just doesn't happen an awful lot). Hopefully when they have the seminar next year they'll be able to keep the same design of the T-shirt, since for certain it will be just as informative, and enjoyable for the participants as it was this year.