St. Mary's Academy students break stereotypes about women in technology; win first place in Portland State University's CyberDiscovery Camp competition (Photo)
St. Mary's Academy students and faculty members pose after the CyberDiscovery Camp competition with the winning robot.
Two faculty members and six St. Mary's Academy students participated in the first ever Portland State University CyberDiscovery Camp July 7 through July 12, along with seven teams selected from other area high schools. The week-long camp culminated in a robotics competition on Saturday, July 12 in which St. Mary's Academy won first place.
St. Mary's Academy faculty members Mike Bedney and Ian Park led the group of six sophomores: Maria Grossen, Emily Humes, MaryCatherine Morgan, Laura Scully, Anna Steinhilber and Peyton Tierney.
"Six young women have walked away from this camp thinking about what challenges lie ahead with regard to ethical use of technology, cyber security, as well as possible career paths they might consider exploring. Education of this sort will be critical moving forward and it brings me comfort to know that the future leaders of SMA will be prepared for anything," said Bedney.
Throughout the week of camp, teams were challenged to write a paper as a response to readings, participate in a multi-layered security-based treasure hunt, solve a cryptography puzzle and program a robot through a maze as part of the final robotics challenge. The goal of these challenges was for the students to develop a better understanding of national cyber-security and the ethical and social issues surrounding robotics. St. Mary's Academy scored the most points for the duration of the camp and received a financial award of $1250 which will be used to fund projects for St. Mary's Academy's Tech Club in the upcoming year.
"I had some amazing discussions that changed my views on issues - like Edward Snowden and the leaking of secrets, whether or not robots should be allowed in law enforcement and if robots should have their own living quarters. I learned that the cyber-security job market is rapidly expanding and that there is a shortage of women in the field," said St. Mary's Academy sophomore Maria Grossen.
Teams were awarded points based on how well they did with each challenge. The SMA team partnered with the only other all-girls team - three students from Village Home Education Resource Center, a homeschooling community, for many of the events and activities.
"I'm glad both teams placed in the top three spots of the competition. Village Home was the only other group consisting entirely of girls, so we crushed the stereotype that girls aren't good at math or science," said St. Mary's Academy sophomore Emily Hume.
Although CyberDiscovery Camp was focused largely on technology, the Portland State University-hosted tech camp was led by university faculty from a variety of disciplines such as engineering, computer science, math, cryptography and humanities.
"The CyberDiscovery Camp curriculum is truly inter-disciplinary and the threads from different areas of academia were woven together in such a seamless manner as to blur the lines between subjects. The faculty of Louisiana Tech University, who designed the CyberDiscovery experience and brought it to Portland State University, referred to this practice using the acronym MESH - math, engineering, science and humanities," said Park.
Portland State University also partnered with the National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center, funded by the Department of Homeland Security, to present the camp. Students participated in several discussions throughout the course of the week based around cyber-security.
Dewey Taylor III named St. Mary's Academy head basketball coach
Portland, Ore. - St. Mary's Academy has hired Dewey Taylor III as head girls basketball coach. Taylor previously served as varsity assistant coach to the Blues.
"Coach Taylor joins the Blues with more than a decade of experience. His involvement as an assistant coach at St. Mary's combined with his commitment to the success of our team made him a great candidate," said St. Mary's Academy Athletic Director Anna Maria Lopez.
Prior to joining the Blues, Taylor spent six years coaching in the Oregon City youth program and eight years as a club coach through the Police Activities League of Portland. Taylor was also the freshman coach and varsity assistant at Oregon City High School for three seasons. In addition, Taylor was previously a head junior varsity girls basketball coach and varsity assistant girls basketball coach at Reynolds High School. He also served as a head varsity assistant girls basketball coach at Centennial High School.
"I am very much a student of the game," said Taylor. "I attribute my success to the great people I've learned from and have been able to coach under. My vision for the Blues this season is to create a culture of hard work and for that to be our foundation. Having previously worked with the team, I hope that the bonds we have built and my relationship with these young women will inspire them to rise to the challenge and play with a high level of confidence."
Taylor lives in Oregon City with his wife and their children.
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St. Mary's Academy is a Catholic high school for young women located in the heart of downtown Portland that provides a challenging college-preparatory education with a focus on developing the whole person. Founded in 1859 by the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, St. Mary's Academy is Oregon's oldest continuously operating secondary school and offers a supportive learning environment to a diverse student body from more than 35 cities in urban, suburban and rural Oregon and Southwest Washington. It is the only school in the state to have received three Blue Ribbon awards from the U.S. Department of Education. For more information about St. Mary's Academy, please visit www.stmaryspdx.org.