Promoting and encouraging women to pursue and be retained in the STEM fields is one of the social initiatives of the Department of Computer Engineering and Informatics (DCEI) at Middlesex University Dubai. After the success of Women in STEM event held in collaboration with Cisco, on October 12, 2015, this year we partnered with the Meera Kaul Foundation to support the Second Women in STEM Hackathon held on February 19-20, 2016.
We had two teams representing the university. Stalwarts which ranked fourth, comprised of five first year Engineering and BIS students namely Jyotika Thukral, Anusha Pramod, Jasmita Malik, Isuri Geesha Wijesooriya and Kashaf Fatima Irfan. They pitched for a stress-relieving app inbuilt into a watch for mothers and kids. This app was designed to meet safety and daily-life purposes. It used GPRS for locating the child. The app was based on the idea of creating a watch using M2M technology to contact family members during times of distress. The second team, CodeTroopers comprised of our recent graduates, Lizandra Almeida (BSc IT), Sonia Selopal Omkar (BSc IT) and Miriam Denny (BA Accounting and Finance). Based on the theme of women empowerment, they developed PepperSpray, an app that promotes women safety and helps them during times of crisis. Features included a panic button that is a direct helpline to the nearest police station, and alerts the user's emergency contacts.
In addition, all the volunteers at the event , Ayesha Hasib, Livia Jacob, Zarif Yahya, Sahar Waqar and Joby John were Middlesex University Dubai’s IT students . Our student Hari Kava was one of the official photographers. As awards, 50% scholarship for the winning team and 30% scholarship were given to the runner-up towards admission to MSc programs from the Department of Computer Engineering & Informatics at Middlesex University Dubai (subject to meeting the admission criteria). Ms Pallavi Ranjan, lecturer in DCEI was one of the student mentors and Leanne D’Souza, Year 2 BSc IT student and winner of last year’s Hackathon was the student mentor. Student participation was coordinated by Mr. Jaspreet Sethi.
One of the team members, Jasmita Malik said, “It was an amazing experience working as a team. We were provided with the best platforms and infrastructure to come out with innovative ideas. We thank our teachers for encouraging us to take part in this competition.”