Girls Day Out in STEM: Sustainability CryptoQuest

The GDOS Sustainability CryptoQuest gives girls the opportunity to learn about the important technology of cryptography and see firsthand how to think differently and creatively to solve sustainability issues. Image: Shutterstock

Combine your love of tech and the environment in the Girls Day Out in STEM Sustainability CryptoQuest

Want to save the planet with your tech smarts?  In solidarity with this year’s International Women’s Day theme – Changing Climates: Equality today for a sustainable tomorrowGirls Day Out in STEM (GDOS) is bringing sustainability to computer science by hosting an epic interactive online quest. 

In partnership with Google, the Sustainability CryptoQuest invites girls aged 10-14 to solve six fun cryptography challenges. Each will have a sustainability theme and encourage the development of advanced tech concepts like cryptography, cyber security and software engineering, while tackling real-world climate issues.

“We’re hoping to empower the girls with tech skills for a sustainable tomorrow!” stresses event organiser Petriea Skitek. “ The event will showcase how using cryptography can keep information and ourselves cyber safe. Combine this with a focus on the importance of sustainability actions in our daily lives and it should be quite the experience.” 

Jenna Google
Jenna went to UQ where she studied a Bachelor of Science majoring in Mathematics with an Honours degree in cryptography, which she followed up with a PhD in Graph Theory.

Jenna, a Google Security Engineer at Google, agrees. She’ll be kicking off the challenge by taking the girls through the evolution of Cryptography and how to encrypt and decrypt messages. Participants will then have the opportunity to have access live meet-and-greet sessions hosted by some of her colleagues. 

“Security is an exciting and challenging field, which means that you get to solve really complex, interesting, real-world problems that make a real difference to people’s lives,” she says. “I really like the fact that a lot of these security problems require both technical expertise as well as creativity and imagination.”

Just like with any GDOS comp, the prize list is epic! By simply registering, participants automatically go into the draw to win prizes from Google, Telstra, Flexischools, Priceline, Great Barrier Reef Legacy, Royal Flying Doctor Queensland Division and many of your favourite STEM authors such as Lee Constable, Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith, STEM Aussie Stars and Wednesday Weeks series and more. 

So, what is cryptography?

From protecting military and financial data to chasing cyber criminals, cryptographers spend nine to five creating sophisticated algorithms to mask information and protect our digital spaces. 

With a solid grounding in mathematical theory, the job requires some seriously advanced algebra smarts – along with a good understanding of all things tech. And the career opportunities? Huge! 

According to AustCyber 7,000 additional cyber security jobs will be added to Australia’s economy by 2024 – that’s 33,500 all up! And with just 13% of Fortune 500 companies featuring women in their top cyber security positions, there’s plenty of space for talent. 

Look into employers like Google, CBA, Facebook, NAB, Telstra, AISIO, DST, The Australia Police Force and RBA – all crying out for diverse STEM grads well-versed in solving complex cyber problems. 

How does the Girls Day Out in STEM: Sustainability CryptoQuest work?

  • Register to access the SECRET code to decipher the crypto sustainability challenges.
  • Organise your time during the week to complete the daily challenges. There are surprises and delights for each challenge in addition to the activity and some fun facts.
  • Do the quests.
  • Share your challenges online with secret encrypted messages that only other participants can read.
  • Vote to have your say.
  • Win fabulous prizes. Participants who finish all 6 challenges will be entered into the final draw for a chance to win the grand prize.

Register for the GDOS Sustainability CryptoQuest here.

This article was created in partnership with Girls Day Out in STEM. Keen to know more about their previous events? Check them out here and here


Cassie Steel

Author: Cassie Steel

As Refraction’s digital editor, Cassie Steel spends her days researching robots and stalking famous scientists on Twitter.


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