Four pupils from Grosvenor Grammar in Belfast took off from Dublin Airport on an Aer Lingus flight direct to San Francisco today on a journey that will inspire them for years to come.
Year 11 pupils Olivia Millar, Louisa Millar, Lucy Milhench and Alicia Gallagher along with teacher Samuel Taggart, are headed to Silicon Valley with Digital DNA, courtesy of Aer Lingus, after winning the coveted prize at Digital DNA’s Futures competition aimed at inspiring the next generation of technology leaders.
During the trip the girls will visit some of the world’s leading technology brands including Uber, Facebook, Google and Microsoft.
Digital DNA’s Futures programme, aimed at inspiring the next generation of STEM business leaders in Northern Ireland, launched in June 2013 in partnership with Sentinus. The programme includes a six-week roadshow across schools in Northern Ireland, engaging over 5,000 young people with a crash-course in coding and a brainstorming session to solve or embrace a real-world business problem or opportunity.
The girls from Grosvenor Grammar fought off fierce competition back in December 2016 to win the top prize after creating ‘HeadCASE.’ Their app helps identify, diagnose and advise on treatment for those with concussion injuries within sports teams that too often end in fatalities. They want to make it easier for clubs and organisations to keep their teams safe.
The four girls wowed the judges with their creativity, technical knowledge and determination, presenting a working prototype and a series of scenarios where the app could be used. Speaking about the Futures programme before boarding their flight, Lucy Milhench said: “The futures programme has been a lot of fun. We’ve learned new skills, how to code and work in a team, which have been big parts of our experience. The competition is fantastic, we’ve learned so much culminating in winning a trip to San Francisco, I’d really recommend taking part, you never know what could happen!”
Olivia Millar added: “We never expected to win, our teacher even said not to get our hopes up as the competition was so good but we can’t believe we’re now heading to San Francisco! We get to visit loads of technology companies and see San Francisco, I can’t wait!
Andrea Hunter, Business Development Manger for Aer Lingus, travel sponsor of Digital DNA’s Futures competition, was one of 12 judges for the competition said: “We are delighted again to be travel sponsor of the Digital Futures programme and hope our winning girls have the trip of a lifetime. San Francisco is the home of technological innovation and is one of our busiest North American destination from both a leisure and business perspective.
“It is very important to Aer Lingus that we recognise and celebrate school children who are excelling in competitions that encourage innovation and allow them to provide high-tech solutions to very complex problems. What better way to reward them that flying them to San Francisco to meet with the leading minds of Silicon Valley.”
The trip to San Francisco was organised by Digital DNA and provided courtesy of Aer Lingus, Ireland’s only four star airline which operates daily flights from Dublin direct to San Francisco. Keep up to date with their journey via Digital DNA’s Facebook page.
Pictured: Year 11 Grosvenor Grammar girls with their teacher Samuel Taggart as they finalise their travel plans to San Francisco with Andrea Hunter, Business Development Manager of Aer Lingus and Gareth Quinn, Managing Director of Digital DNA
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