A gifted Mathematician, Ada Lovelace was an influential woman for her time. Ada is considered to have written instructions for the first computer programme in the mid 1800s. However, her achievements in the field were not fully appreciated until the 1950s. She introduced many computer concepts and is now considered the first computer programmer.
So what can Ada Lovelace teach girls studying at UTCs?
As a female studying at a UTC, you have already made the conscious decision to pave the way for your future. Similarly to Lovelace, she was a visionary for her time, taking her life into her own forward-thinking hands. She became passionate about a subject that she loved, and she used that passion to drive her desire to further her knowledge and understanding. As modern day 'Adas', you have the opportunity to find a subject that you love and embrace it. You have the technology and resources within UTCs at your fingertips to explore exciting topics that will ignite your passion.
At the time that Ada was working on these computer concepts, opportunities were denied to most women. Ada was adamant that she would not conform to the normality that was expected, she evaded peer pressure and pursued her interest in Computer Science; an important lesson to be learnt here. Ada was an innovator and a developer; you too can strive for continuous improvement. Avoid peer pressure and seek ways that you can self-improve, widening your knowledge and deepening your understanding.
Ada had an unusual upbringing for an aristocratic girl in the mid 1800s. To be taught such challenging subjects were not standard fare for women at the time, whose usual pathways were into motherhood or as housekeepers. At a University Technical College, you have the opportunity to study specialist subjects within the field of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), which are tailored and focussed to your interests. Through her love of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, Lovelace has become an influential figure and a powerful symbol for many across the world; she has become a role model for many budding Computer Science enthusiasts.
Despite Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics being largely stereotypically male-dominated subject areas; it is essential that, as a 21st century female, you can overcome the labels and the expectations, as did Ada, to become pioneers and role models in the STEM industry. Females are hugely under-represented in the STEM industries, yet they provide at least 50% of the world’s perspective. Both Computing, and other STEM careers are exciting and rewarding; the technological challenges of the future need talented people with a diversity of skills to address them. They need 21st century Adas.
Stephanie Mitchell, Director of Industry Relations and Design Technology
Quotes from UTC Reading computing students
“Ada Lovelace inspires me because she teaches us to stand up for what we believe in and to study the subjects we enjoy. She teaches us to be brave.”
“Ada is relevant to us in the 21st century because there is more gender equality when it comes to subjects like Computer Science today.”
“Ada inspires me because for her time, she showed that women can be inventive too, not just men.”