Robotics, gamification, mechatronics and computational thinking… sit down with Harriet Compton-Moen and these are the words and ideas you need to pick up on pretty quickly. Year 11, St Margaret’s student, Hattie has a brain that works at lightning speed, although it would have to – to fit in all she has achieved in a reasonably short time.
From creating and naming the Margaret Mahy Playground, while at Selwyn House, to entering her e-learning platform Girls Byte, becoming a finalist and blowing away the judges, in the Future Business Leader competition – Dream, Believe, Succeed. Hattie is moving forward at great pace – storing the advice she is receiving and honing it to create the next big thing, “Both competitions were quite similar in the way that I got to meet so many cool entrepreneurs and they all seem so invested in my ideas and gave great personal feedback.”
Dream, Believe, Succeed Foundation was founded by Steve Brooks. Steve started his first business at age 12 when he would refurbish old bikes and lawnmowers from the tip and sell them for a tidy profit, going on to be a millionaire by age 19. He set up the award to raise awareness and develop youth entrepreneurs. The award is open to applicants aged 15 to 23, therefore Hattie didn’t reach the age criteria, however the judges were so impressed with her pitch they made her a finalist. Of the experience, Hattie says “writing a business plan was the hardest part, the stuff I was passionate about – the robotics and the target market came easy. I was up against the UC Young Entrepreneur of the year so it was hard.”
Ask Hattie about Girls Byte and her passion is obvious. “I’ve been involved in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) since I was five and entered the original Robo Cup Competition, I’ve been hooked and it’s a huge part of my life, it’s one of my favourite things to do.”
Teaching other girls about technology is where Girls Byte comes from. With it Hattie is hoping to develop an e-learning platform resource for teachers and students, she describes it as “like Mathletics but for STEM subjects”. It will teach students in areas such as robotics, computational thinking and scratch coding and use gamification for learning.
While most would think, great concept but how do you make it happen? Hattie is forging ahead. She is working on a mock-up version as part of her Digital Technologies project for NCEA.
“I’m doing the mock-up in Python which is coding language and I’m hoping to purchase, either through Dream, Believe, Succeed or private sponsorship, an authoring tool which is what you use to create e-learning platforms, then I can make sure it’s the quality I want it to be.”
So, who does the girl whose idea of relaxation is FPS, Philosophy Club, String Orchestra, debating, Tech Team and Brain Bee look up to? “My first inspiration for robotics came from my Selwyn House teacher Jill Pears. And Ms Chong has been an incredible inspiration to me since I arrived here at St Margaret’s. She has supported me so much with everything I do and we are so lucky at school we get so many unique opportunities, we’re allowed to follow our passions.”
What does her future hold? Hattie is very excited to be travelling to the States next term to take part in Future Problem Solving Internationals and next year she would like to start her International Baccalaureate Diploma. She hopes to study Mechatronics Engineering at university. “It’s all kinds of engineering combined, you can go into robotics, aerospace engineering – the possibilities are endless.”
But ask Hattie what she would like to do for a job and she has a very unique answer. “Ideally I want to do something that hasn’t been invented yet, it has to be something relevant to the time so hopefully it doesn’t exist yet.” And as to her thoughts on how she will get there? “I’m not sure how it’s going to go or how I’m going to do it but I kind of know what I’m going to do next, now, and as to how that unfolds over the next few years we’ll have to wait and see.”
You go Hattie, we will all be cheering you on from the sidelines!