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U of M ladies take on computer science games

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(From Left) Diana Carrier, Samantha Scarcella, Hayley Guillou and seven other ladies will head to Montreal March 21 to 24 to compete in the Computer Science Games. They will be the first all-female team to compete.

STEPH CROSIER Enlarge Image

(From Left) Diana Carrier, Samantha Scarcella, Hayley Guillou and seven other ladies will head to Montreal March 21 to 24 to compete in the Computer Science Games. They will be the first all-female team to compete. Photo Store

For the first time since its inception, an all-female team from the University of Manitoba will be taking the Computer Science Games by storm — or keyboard, or mouse.

Diana Carrier, 22, of Stonewall, is going to the games for the fourth time. She’ll be captaining the team. Carrier said she formed the team because she could.

"The stereotype is that there aren’t many women in computer science, but it’s actually a true stereotype," said the fifth-year computer science student. "About 10% of all people in computer science, no matter where you go, are women. So it’s kind of not really evenly split, so we’re trying to fix that."

Carrier said there has never been an all-female group before.

"I think the most another school has ever brought is five women and that is across two teams of 10," Carrier said. "There’s still lots of schools who bring 20 people and none of them are women."

The CS Games will be hosted by École de Technologie Supérieure in Montreal March 21 to  24.  At the end of the games, no money is awarded, and you only get to hold onto the trophy for a little while. The true prize at these games is being noticed by the heavy-hitter sponsors.
Google, Microsoft, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and Yellowpages.ca are of the most recognizable, and all will be watching the competitions.

Carrier’s teammate Samantha Scarcella, 24, of Comox, B.C., hopes being an all-female team will help their chances of being noticed.

"Even when we aren’t in competition we’re going to get noticed," Scarcella, a fourth-year computer science student, said. "I don’t think it matters how well we do in the competition, as much as we’re representing U of M as an all-women team."

Hayley Guillou, 20, of Waverley Heights, is also on the team. She hopes her team will inspire female students in the first year of the Computer Science program.

"Maybe it will help more girls to see that ‘Oh maybe I should keep going with (computer science),’" said Guillou, a third-year computer science student, who has found that girls often quit the program.

Carrier said their strategy at the games is to be as loud as possible.

"There is an opening ceremony where each team gets introduced and you walk into the room doing your school chant," Carrier said. "So the louder you are there, the more you get noticed, and the more people care how you do in the competitions."

Amongst the competitions are web programming, gaming, relay programming, security/ cryptography, a scavenger hunt, artificial intelligence and even sports.

Currently the team is called the Computer Science Women’s team. Carrier said they are looking for a better moniker before they leave for the games.

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