Getting Girls into Technology is Personal for this Talented Grad

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This story is part of a series of profiles the Ventura County Office of Education is presenting about outstanding graduating seniors in the Class of 2019.

Technology and art are two of Sabrina Stone's biggest passions. As a student at Oak Park High School, she found a way to combine those interests along with her desire to encourage more girls to pursue careers in technology. She came up with an idea teach computer coding and animation to middle school girls in a fun, friendly and supportive environment. Her proposal won a grant from the National Center for Women in Information and Technology which allowed her to start WonderCode, a coding camp that she created and led last summer. "We actually had a field trip to Disney Animation Studios, so I got to bring all the girls over and it was it was amazing," she says.

Only about 25 percent of jobs in technology are held by women, but Sabrina says the idea that girls don't like technology is a myth. "Girls are interested in computer science and fields like that, but at a certain level it's intimidating being one of three or four girls in a classroom full of guys." So she's doing all she can to break through the barriers to girls in tech. She established a chapter of Girls Who Code at her school and participated in computer "hackathons," including Hackathon by the Sea, presented by the Ventura County Office of Education.

At these educational events, students design apps, games and websites and compete for prizes – sometimes burning the midnight oil to code all through the night. "I love hackathons, they are so great," Sabrina says. Last December's at a VCOE-sponsored hackathon exclusively for girls, Sabrina and her friends created a unique virtual reality experience. "We got a 360 degree camera and I put it on my dog's head and recorded a bunch of footage. Then we created a whole simulation of life from my dog's perspective."

Sabrina rounded out her high school experience with an internship at Pixar Animation Studios, home of the Toy Story movies. She was also on the varsity tennis team, volunteered as a coach for the Special Olympics and as a peer counselor. This overachiever won't be slowing down after graduation. She'll be studying computer science and media studies at Claremont McKenna College on her way to a career in digital animation – blazing a high-tech trail that other girls are sure to follow.


The second annual VCOE Hackathon by the Sea – Girls Edition takes place in Camarillo on June 21 and 22, 2019.


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