A 13-year-old from Dublin has been named as EU Digital Girl of the Year 2015 at a ceremony in Luxembourg recently.
Niamh Scanlon, who began learning code at CoderDojo in Dublin City University when she was nine, loves to build websites and apps that help people.
When she was just 11 she built an app called ‘Recharge my eCar’ for which she has won awards from Coolest Projects and Eir Junior Spider. The app is designed to help the drivers of electric cars to find available charge points.
For three years Scanlon has mentored at CoderDojo in DCU, where she helps other young people – and particularly girls – to learn how to create with technology.
“I’m really honoured to be named as an EU Digital Girl of the Year,” said Scanlon. “Coding is a skill that I think all young people should get a chance to learn, because it means you can not only use technology, you can create things with it too.
“Young people, teenagers and younger, around Europe and around the world are already learning to create and solve problems with coding, and it is going to be amazing to see what they do in the future with these skills.”
Scanlon, a member of the Digital Youth Council in Ireland, added that she thinks more young people should have the opportunities that she has had thanks to coding and CoderDojo, as “it’s really important that girls develop coding skills, because we need more women in science, technology, engineering and maths.”
This is the second year in a row that an Irish girl has been named EU Digital Girl of the Year at the European Ada Awards. Last year the title was won by Lauren Boyle a nine year old who founded the website Cool Kids Studio.
Scanlon was this year’s joint winner alongside Yasmin Bey, a 14-year-old from England who has been programming for six years and volunteers to run workshops for young people to learn how to code using the Rasbperry Pi computer.