Six CoderDojo Girls shortlisted for Digital Girl of the Year!

The Ada awards celebrate and recognise the efforts of the top girls and women in technology worldwide. We are delighted that all six girls nominated and through to the next round of the European Ada Awards’ Digital Girl of the Year are actively involved in their local CoderDojo clubs!

The girls who have been shortlisted for the awards across three age categories are: Helena Staple, Zara Ilyas, Ruby Scott Kenny, Aoibheann Mangan, Charlotte Johnson and Maeve Galvin. Well done to you all!

The fact that so many girls who were shortlisted this year are CoderDojo Ninjas is testament to the great work volunteers in Dojos across Europe and beyond are doing to actively support girls in their Dojos to be technology creators. We would like to thank all the CoderDojo volunteers and parents who have supported these girls and others at their local Dojo.


Shortlisted in the under 10 year-old category:

Helena Staple, Zara Ilyas and Ruby Scott Kenny.

Helena is a regular attendee of CoderDojo Ham (UK) where she has become proficient in Scratch and is currently learning Python. She not only enjoys creating complex projects in Scratch, such as a personalised interactive Birthday Card project, but also enjoys mentoring younger children. Helena has developed a great instruction handout to help other Ninjas entirely on her own. With the support of Mentors at her Dojo over the last year she has grown in confidence and expanded her communication skills, and is now at ease helping children considerably older than herself. Helena also gave a talk about kindness at Pycon UK 2017, using a micro:bit she coded.

Friends Zara and Ruby both attend Silicon Docks @ Accenture Dojo. Zara is described as having an ‘insatiable passion for technology and learning’, joining the Dojo when it first started and attending every robotics session since. Ruby is always keen to support fellow Ninjas in the Dojo. She inspires other girls and professors alike with her understanding of technology and drive to learn more! 


Shortlisted in the 11-14-year-old category:

CoderDojo attendees Aoibheann Mangan and Charlotte Johnson.

Aoibheann, an advocate of coding and technology opportunities for girls has Mentored with Cloghans Hill and Robeen Dojos for the last two years. She has devised and hosted various girls-only workshops to highlight that “girls can do anything they want when it comes to digital skills”. Aoibheann is a passionate about improving broadband services in rural areas so that no young people are excluded from accessing digital skills and opportunities because of where they live. See her recent blog about hosting a workshop at Mozfest here!


Charlotte attends her local Dojo in Glasgow Science Centre where she really enjoys learning new coding skills. She traveled over to Dublin for Coolest Projects 2017 and Brussels for EUDojo in the European Parliament, where she got to meet and share her insights with other young coders and MEPS. Last month Charlotte was named a National Coding Week Rising Star 2017. She is currently working with one of her coding colleagues on a project for Coolest Projects 2018.


Shortlisted in the 15-17 year old category:

Maeve Galvin, who has won the Tech Week Ireland Scratch competition for the last three years consecutively in her age category. She also volunteers her time to Mentor younger children in her local Dojo in Kinvara explaining coding logic and more using Scratch and lessons which she prepares.


We know that role models play a major role in encouraging girls to feel included and empowered in the tech sphere. That is why we want to also recognise CoderDojo attendees Lauren Boyle and Niamh Scanlon, both of whom previously were awarded the title of European Digital Girl of the Year. Lauren, of Microsoft Dojo was awarded in 2014 when she was nine, with Niamh of CoderDojo DCU winning a year later, aged 13. We hope that those who have been shortlisted this year go on to inspire even more girls so they too can get involved in coding and creating with technology.


“Earlier this year we launched the CoderDojo Girls initiative, the purpose of this is to work with the community to increase the number of girls attending Dojos right around the world. Showcasing role models is one crucial aspect, which is its incredibly motivating to see that every single girl shortlisted is either a CoderDojo attendee, or a youth mentor. “

Giustina Mizzoni, Executive Director of the CoderDojo Foundation


Thanks to all those who are supporting girls to be tech creators through their Dojo and beyond. We wish all the girls the best of luck ahead of the final award announcement on November 30th. Remember you can see our most comprehensive guide yet of practical approaches Dojos have tested to engage and sustain girls, which is available for free in English, Italian and Spanish, here as part of the CoderDojo Girls Initiative!



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