Zara, age 13
The Henrietta Barnett School
1. Which Acorn Aspirations event did you attend?
#AcornHackGirls, #AcornAccelerator 2016, #AcornHackWOW (as mentor), #AcornHack2016
2. Why did you choose to come to an Acorn Aspirations hackathon?
Well for me, it was actually quite unexpected. At the time, I wasn’t actually into coding or any kind of app development, and had never been to a hackathon before. It was actually one of my dad’s colleagues who told me about the event. At first, I was pretty nervous, and almost didn’t apply, however, after participating, I was so glad I did! I never really had a ‘thing’ or something I was ‘into’ before this accelerator, so it was great that I finally found a hobby that I was passionate about.
3. Have you done coding or any form of technology prior to coming to the hack?
I hadn’t done much coding beforehand, aside from basic computing skills we learnt in IT lessons, however I was involved in a robotics club in school, as part of which we attended a renowned annual competition called the VEX IQ challenge.
4. What were the top three skills (not necessarily coding) that you learnt as a result of the hackathon?
There were so many… it’s so hard to choose! I think one would definitely be how to work with new and different people. I know it sounds like a pretty basic skill, but working with complete strangers is not something I’ve had to do much before, and so I learnt some valuable lessons in the process. Another one would include problem solving. In the accelerator, we faced many challenges with our projects, whether it was to do with code, business models or time-management. I think I have learnt to deal with problems a lot better now, and am always brainstorming creative solutions to problems I never thought I’d be able to solve a few months back. Lastly, being confident in yourself, and putting forward all your ideas! After the accelerator, I have definitely seen myself become more confident, and I’ve learnt never to be afraid of letting your creativity loose!
5. How have you used the skills since your participation?
Working with new people has been a key skill I have used a lot in school. In robotics competitions, we have to work with students from different schools to work together to complete set challenges, and when attending other hackathons, the same thing applies. Problem solving is something which I do everyday, whether it’s to do with robotics, school work or coding. I think I have also become more confident in the classroom in extra-curricular activities.
6. What would you say were the highlights or funniest moments with Acorn Aspirations?
I think the best parts of the accelerator had to do with the amazing friends I made! We still keep in contact, and meet or talk regularly. It was great to get to know some other tech enthusiasts.
7. What kind of projects have you been developing and what was your inspiration behind them?
Since the accelerator, I have been working on developing my own app, using some of the skills and tools we were given. I have already finished prototyping it, and have started to code it. Without the accelerator, I would have never even thought about starting a project like this. I have been inspired by all the amazing work which was done at the accelerator within the space of only two weeks, and the encouraging mentors who helped us with our apps.
8. How do you hope to use the tech and entrepreneurship skills you have learnt at Acorn Aspirations in the future?
This experience with Acorn Aspirations has had an incredible impact on what I plan to do in the future. I would love to use the entrepreneurial skills we were shown to carry on showing my love for coding and tech, and eventually start my own business.