Canyon Vista students named national ProjectCSGIRLS Finalists

A team of three sixth-grade students from Canyon Vista Middle School have been named national finalists in the 2017 ProjectCSGIRLS Competition for Middle School Girls.

The team, GemGirls, consists of students Krithi Palakodati, Anya Vadayar and Manika Aggrwal, were among more than 700 middle school girls from 40 states to participate in the competition. As finalists, the team received an all-expense paid trip invitation to the 2017 ProjectCSGIRls National Gala, to be held June 3 and 4 in Washington, D.C.

The team found success after laying a strong foundation through the Girls Excelling in Engineering and Math (GEMS) club at Canyon Vista. The team said the large gender gap in the computer science field is what made them more interested in an all-girls competition.

“It’s really exciting,” Anya said. “We didn’t think we’d make it to finals, we just are interested in computer science and wanted to learn more.”

ProjectCSGirls is a national nonprofit dedicated to closing the tech gender gap by running a national computer science competition for middle school girls and workshops around the country. The challenge for the competition was to build something using computer science and technology that can help solve an imminent social problem under one of three themes — Global Health, a Safer World and Intelligent Technology. GemGirls chose the Safer World category and came up with an innovative mobile app called SafeNSmart that can be used to manage safety at school including emergencies (fire, smoke, intruder etc.,) and bullying.

“Anya, Krithi and Manika are outstanding students who showed true collaboration and a drive to always learn more,” Canyon Vista Principal Nicole Hagerty said. “We are incredibly proud of this team of girls and wish them well as they travel to Washington, D.C. to represent Canyon Vista and Texas on the national stage.”