Just like the majority of today’s workers, those of us in Discovery, Technology, & Publishing (DTP) work with technology every single day. We frequently find ourselves implementing newly released applications, troubleshooting those that we already have, and excitedly hypothesizing about those to come. Because of these daily occurrences, we know just how important it is to encourage our students, and students of all of ages, to take an active interest in technology since it has become such a pillar of today’s world. So, when we found out DTP student employee Amy Shick (WC ’16) won a scholarship to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, we couldn’t help but want to tell the whole world!
Amy, a double major in Computer Science and Accounting with a Mathematics minor, started working with DTP at the beginning of her sophomore year. Shortly after her first few days, she began working with another highly skilled student employee, Michael (RC ’13), on a hometown map for our digital exhibit celebrating the anniversary of the Westhampton Campus. Amy didn’t stop there – she continued to join the team in all of the implementing, troubleshooting, and hypothesizing previously mentioned, helping us accomplish a remarkable amount with our digital projects. She customized code and edited images for the interactive Westhampton Scrapbook and established a workflow for mass image-to-PDF conversion, saving her fellow student employees a lot of time!
Amy’s enthusiasm and passion for the computer science field has shown in every project that she has worked on for DTP, so it came as no surprise to us when she received first place for undergraduate poster presentations at the recent Capital Region Celebration of Women in Computing conference, thereby earning her scholarship to attend the Grace Hopper Conference. Her poster presentation detailed an educational computer science game that she created as part of the National Science Foundation grant aimed at increasing female involvement and achievement in STEM. The goal of the game is to help teach introductory computer science concepts and increase interest in the field. Entitled “Ice Maze”, the game is played by the user swimming around as a penguin in an ice maze searching for buckets of fish. Each bucket of fish corresponds to a different “game station” that offers a mini game or quiz with a specific introductory computer science topic. The topics tested include searching, sorting, the binary number system, working with arrays, evaluating loop conditions, and identifying variable and expression types. The game was actually part of a study conducted across seven universities to examine the efficacy of an intervention designed to encourage a growth mindset (the belief that computer science ability can be developed) and it has been released to over 400 students.
Here are several screenshots of the game:
Of course, in addition to game development and interactive flipbooks, Amy also takes a full load of coursework and is a member of a variety of organizations and societies, such as Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity (of which she was recently elected President!!), Mortar Board National College Senior Honor Society, and Beta Gamma Sigma International Business Honor Society, just to name a few!
Despite all of these engagements, Amy still finds time to happily join us every week in DTP to work diligently on new challenges. We are so glad that she is a part of our team and are very proud that she is representing UR at the Grace Hopper Conference, encouraging women everywhere to jump into the study of computer science!