McAuley College student Kieren Cahill learned alongside some of the brightest young minds in Australia at the National Computer Science School (NCSS) summer program in Sydney.
She was one of only four Queensland students accepted into the prestigious national program, which had a total of 64 participants.
It was run by the Australian Computing Academy and Grok Academy from 4-13 January at the University of New South Wales (UNSW).
Kieren, 16, was encouraged to apply for the program after her strong participation in the Grok Academy NCSS Challenge when it was offered at McAuley.
Under a full NCSS scholarship covering the summer program and expenses including flights, Kieren stayed in the new college at UNSW for 10 days.
“Every day you’d get up, have breakfast, get marked off, listen to a lecture for an hour, then there’d be a case study based on what was said in the lecture and then a lab doing a coding or cyber security-related task, then a couple more lectures and labs,” she said.
“We did mock interviews with the big tech companies, and they gave us tips, so it was a good networking opportunity, and we had a big dinner with all the industry contacts.”
Kieren thanked McAuley College, particularly Year 9 and 10 Curriculum Leader, Cathy Hunt for their support in getting her to the summer program.
Principal Deidre Young said it was significant for Kieren, who was in year 10 when she applied, to be accepted into the high-level coding program.
“This is an outstanding achievement for Kieren, recognising her exceptional abilities in Digital Technologies and in particular, coding,” she said.
“This program usually only accepts Year 11 and 12 students; however, the teacher who has been pivotal in making this happen, Cathy Hunt, has been very confident in Kieren’s ability.
“Kieren’s application demonstrated such a high level of achievement that she was also offered a full scholarship to cover the entire cost of the camp and travel from Grok.
“Thank you also to Matthew Jorgensen for his wonderful support as part of our Gateway to Industry Schools Partnership and our ongoing association with the Australian Computing Society.”