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Source: University of Otago

New Comp Girls Leaders Maaha Ahmad and Kate Truman have taken over from previous leaders Magdeline Huang and Kezia Somerville-Petch.
The new leaders of student lead group, Comp Girls, are looking forward to another year of promoting and encouraging women pursuing careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
Third year students, Maaha Ahmad and Kate Truman are co-leading the group started in 2016 and meets fortnightly, with their first event for 2021 taking place in late January.
“I’m one of very few girls in the majority of my classes,” Maaha says, who is completing her Bachelor of Applied Science majoring in Computer Science and Software Engineering. “I think that sometimes girls are intimidated by the ratio of males to females who work in technology and the dated belief that girls aren’t smart enough for this. We want to help change those ideas.”
Kate, who is working towards her Bachelor of Science in Statistics and Computer Science, says that when mainstream media portrays storylines of women in tech, it very rarely discusses more than just software design.
“There are so many other things you can study and do professionally with technology. Comp Girls aims to give people a chance to meet professionals who are doing different things with their studies and showcase a variety of different things that can be studied within STEM subjects.”

“Anyone can come along to Comp Girls, you don’t have to be a girl to join us, just believe in promoting women equally.”

Traditionally the group has attracted computer science students but this year, Kate says, the group would like to welcome people with other majors too.
“We would love to see even more diversity, including people who are simply interested in knowing more about our passion for computer science. Technology is in everything we do, so you can even relate it to business studies and marketing.”
Maaha says that one thing she likes about what she’s studying, is that you can pick it up at any age.
“I first learned about programming back in Pakistan when I was 17. I took a short course because it looked interesting and then I discovered that I could understand it quite well and that I enjoyed it more than a lot of other subjects I took in school.”
“When I finished school my Dad, who is a PhD student here, suggested I apply, and I was fortunate enough to gain a scholarship. I would love to encourage other people, particularly women, to give it a go. If people find that they have an interest in tech then I think they should take the chance to study it.”
Throughout 2021, the group plan to meet fortnightly, taking visits to businesses in their industry and meeting with professionals who work in their chosen field. Kate says they would love to see some new faces this year.
“Anyone can come along to Comp Girls, you don’t have to be a girl to join us, just believe in promoting women equally.”
You can find out about their events and how to join in by visiting their Facebook page.

MIL OSI