From VR to CPR

Computer Science students apply their skills and creativity in new and impactful ways.

The field of Computer Science encompasses a broad range of skills that are essential to leadership: problem solving and computational thinking, translating ideas, design and engineering, and combining technical ability with creativity. Marlborough currently offers four classes in this field, starting with introductory programming in Computer Science I, all the way up to Honors Computer Science Projects, which provides a workshop/lab environment in which students work independently on individual or group projects, improve their coding skills, and explore and tinker with new technologies. In this class, the girls pick their own projects, and are encouraged to apply their computer science skills to activities they have never attempted before.

"In our introductory courses students focus on creating video games and interactive animations," said Darren Kessner, Mathematics and Computer Science Instructor and STEM+ Program Co-Head. "But these same skills can be applied to many different areas, including scientific data analysis, mobile apps, and robotics."

This year’s students have focused on a variety of activities involving computer graphics, video games, virtual reality, mini-computers/microcontrollers (e.g., Raspberry Pi, Arduino), physical/wearable computing, interactive art, simulation, data analysis, scientific applications, programming languages, web development, and mobile development.

Included among their endeavors in 2018-2019 was a special project for Marlborough’s Admissions Office. Each March, when the office notifies applicant students via email that they’ve been admitted, they share a fun welcome message, often including a video. This year’s message included a link to a custom video game created by the class that took students on a virtual tour via interactive games led by Marlborough’s mascot, Sally Mustang.

“More and more of our students are involved in STEM classes and activities, and this was a way to showcase their talent, enthusiasm, and creativity,” said Jeanette Woo Chitjian, Director of Enrollment Management. “Knowing that this game was created by Marlborough girls may inspire our newest students to try their hand at coding too.”

For the past few months, the class has also been working with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles to build a pediatric CPR training app. The mobile app walks parents or other caregivers through the steps for CPR, including providing a timer for the chest compressions.

Gabi B. ’20 especially enjoyed this project because it combined everything she had learned about Computer Science since 9th grade, and allowed her to bring several of her passions together in one area.

“Using Computer Science to create some sort of social change, even if that’s teaching people CPR, is really important and what I’m most interested in,” said Gabi. 


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