Girls Day Out in STEM: Sustainability CryptoQuest

The following article has been written by the team at Girls Day Out in STEM, Eureka Explorers and Careers with STEM.

Combine your love of tech and the environment in the Girls Day Out in STEM (GDOS) Sustainability CryptoQuest.

Want to save the planet with your tech smarts? In solidarity with this year’s International Women’s Day theme – Changing Climates: Equality today for a sustainable tomorrow – Girls Day Out in STEM (GDOS) is bringing sustainability to computer science by hosting an epic interactive online quest.

In partnership with Google, the GDOS Sustainability CryptoQuest invites girls aged 10-14 to solve 6 fun cryptography challenges. Each challenge will have a sustainability theme and encourage the development of advanced tech concepts like cryptography, cyber security and software engineering, while tackling real-world climate issues.

Jenna Thompson, a Google Security Engineer, will be kicking off the challenge by taking the girls through the evolution of cryptography and how to encrypt and decrypt messages. Participants will then have the opportunity to have access to a live meet-and-greet session hosted by some of her female colleagues.

"Hi everyone! My name is Jenna and I am a Security Engineer at Google. I work on protecting Google users’ data by securing the platforms which can access it. I went to the University of Queensland (UQ) where I studied a Bachelor of Science majoring in Mathematics with an honours degree in Cryptography. Outside of work, food is my passion; I love to cook and I love to eat the food I cook, as well as trying to find new and interesting things to taste. In addition to cooking, my hobbies include hiking, running, and swimming in the ocean."

Jenna Thompson, Google Security Engineer

So you might ask, what is machine learning (ML)?

At GDOS, we’re empowering girls with tech skills for a sustainable tomorrow! Event organiser Petriea Skitek commented that, “The event will showcase how using cryptography can keep information and ourselves cyber safe. Combine this with a focus on the importance of sustainability actions in our daily lives and it should be quite the experience.”

What is Cryptography and why is it important?

Cryptography is the science of protecting information by transforming it into a secure format. And one person who knows exactly the importance of this industry is Jenna! “Security is an exciting and challenging field, which means that you get to solve really complex, interesting, real-world problems that make a real difference to people's lives,” Jenna says. “I really like the fact that a lot of these security problems require both technical expertise as well as creativity and imagination.”

From protecting military and financial data to chasing cyber criminals, cryptographers spend nine to five creating sophisticated algorithms to mask information and protect our digital spaces.

With a solid grounding in mathematical theory, the job requires some seriously advanced algebra smarts – along with a good understanding of all things tech – and the career opportunities? Huge!

According to AustCyber, 7,000 additional cyber security jobs will be added to Australia’s economy by 2024 – that’s 33,500 all up! And with just 13% of Fortune 500 companies featuring women in their top cyber security positions; there’s plenty of space for talent. In other words, STEM needs girls!

How does the Girls Day Out in STEM: Sustainability CryptoQuest work?

  • Register to access the SECRET code to decipher the crypto sustainability challenges.

  • Organise your time during the week to complete the daily challenges. There are surprises and delights for each challenge in addition to the activity and some fun facts.

  • Change the World Activities: Do the quests and solve the challenges.

  • Share your challenges online with secret encrypted messages that only other participants can read. How secret is that!!

  • Poll: Vote to have your say in the best ways to save the planet.

  • Win fabulous prizes. Participants who finish all 6 challenges will be entered into the final draw for a chance to win the grand prize.

Just like with any GDOS comp, the PRIZES are epic! By simply registering, participants automatically go into the draw to win prizes from Google, Flexischools, Priceline, Great Barrier Reef Legacy, Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) and many of your favourite STEM authors such as Lee Constable, Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith, Aussie STEM Stars and the Wednesday Weeks series and more.

Complete all 6 challenges and be entered in the draw to win the GRAND PRIZE, a Samsung tablet, from our friends at TELSTRA.

Higher order thinking and analysis are essential talents looking to the future, so let’s get those skills in place and be ready to help save our planet. Register now for the GDOS Sustainability Cryptoquest!

What can the Girls Expect to Experience in the Quest?

The girls can expect to have a lot of fun with their friends and family encoding and decoding messages and even safely posting their own encrypted ones.

Our daily challenges give the girls the opportunity to practice during a whole week of learning about the important technology of cryptography and also to see first-hand how to think differently and creatively in solving sustainability issues in their own unique way. All of us have the power to make changes within our tiny universe and contribute to a greener environment. Be the hero in your own world, let’s get sustainable!

Jenna, a Google Security Engineer, with varied experiences in this field will take the girls through the evolution of cryptography and how to encrypt and decrypt messages. On Sunday, March 13th the girls will have access to our live meet and greet session where they can ask their questions to a panel of professional women Googlers – that is an impressive experience in itself. WOW!

What is Girls Day Out in STEM (GDOS)?

GDOS helps girls aged 10 to 14 aspire to a career in STEM through education, working with professional female role models and through opportunities in STEM.

Join us for this International Women’s Day theme – Changing Climates: Equality today for a sustainable tomorrow with the Girls Day Out in STEM Challenge: Register now!

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