Digital Media Academy’s Made By Girls program goes beyond just teaching tech skills; it’s a community built to empower girls, giving them a safe learning environment to express their ideas and reach their full tech potential.
Our Made By Girls Scholarship contest wrapped up last month, when our five incredible recipients were finally announced. Each week we’ll feature one of our Made By Girls Scholars and tell you a little bit about each of these amazing girls, who can’t wait to dive headfirst into STEM. Last week, we introduced you to Kimora Oliver.
Next up: Ava Deakin of Chicago, Illinois!
Made By Girls Scholar Ava Deakin
Ava Deakin is our latest Made By Girls Scholar. She loves technology, art, playing music on her guitar and flute, fashion, and participating in the Girl Scouts.
This summer, Ava will be attending our Adventures in Programming camp at the University of Chicago!
She believes that the Adventures in Programming camp will help build the foundation she needs in computer programing and languages to jumpstart her dream of working in biomechatronics – the mix of neuroscience and wearable technology.
A Personal Passion
Ava first became interested in biomechatronics when she saw the head of the MIT Media Lab, Professor Hugh Herr on Ted Talks. Herr is creating the robotic prosthetics that should help end many physical disabilities.
“It is amazing that MIT has brought people across medicine and computer programming to help lead the ‘bionic age’,” Ava says. “This sounds like a very weird passion for someone my age, but for me it is personal.”
Ava has a progressive neurological condition that affects her balance and leg strength. While she’s been able to retain her ability to walk with non-tech wearable devices, many of the kids in her therapy program have not. “Someday, I would like to design and program wearables that can improve their lives,” she says.
“I would like to dream of the world as it should be, and then be able to build it! I can imagine programming robotic boots that help people with cerebral palsy walk; shirts that monitor diabetics’ sugar and gives medicine through the skin; bracelets that can give adrenaline for severe allergy attacks; and even gloves with built-in games to stretch muscles and improve coordination.”
Wearable tech has the potential to be amazing in the future. It just needs the right programmer — and that programmer might just be me.
– Ava Deakin, Made By Girls Scholar and Future Wearable Tech Programmer
“I also believe that wearable tech should be as fashionable as it is functional,” she states. “Today most non-tech wearables are built for function – leaving kids that rely on them little choice to let their personalities shine through or just blend in. Wearable tech has the potential to be amazing in the future. It just needs the right programmer — and that programmer might just be me.”
Ava in Action
Ava has already taken the first step to making her dream happen. She was recently the runner up in her school’s robotic competition for submitting concept art for a “BraceBot.” The BraceBot is the leg brace of the future. Paralyzed and partially mobile kids alike would wear the braces to stimulate electrical activity in their legs, thus improving their mobility, speed and balance.
The brace would be programmed to be easily modifiable and customizable at the touch of a button – from rate of electrical impulses to fashion colors and patterns.
“What I have now are just dreams from my imagination. I’m not sure how to make them happen in real life, so when I saw the Adventures in Programming camp, I thought I might be able to ‘connect the dots’ on how to make my ideas come to life,” she says.
Ava believes that programming is the missing piece for her. At school, she’s been studying some basic concepts – but nothing like the animation, games or advanced programming with Java. “I want to move to the next level!” she exclaims in her entry essay, which she titled Freedom Through Programming.
“It would also be an exciting experience to take classes on the University of Chicago’s campus, while making new friends with girls with similar interests.” Ava wrote. We’re so glad that we can help her achieve her dreams, goals and freedom through programming!
Join Ava and DMA’s Made By Girls!
Made by Girls is dedicated to empowering girls through technology and providing a safe learning environment designed to increase confidence in coding and computer science. Classes are led by female mentors dedicated to serving as role models and building a supportive community for girls learning STEM.
Made By Girls aims to make an impact on the global community by helping girls realize their potential, and encouraging them to express their creativity and personality every step of the way.