Photo by : Unknown

Author : ChickTech

At ChickTech, New Friendships Forged on Common Ground

Shared interests often lead to new friendships, and on Jan. 26, day one of ChickTech: High School in Portland, three girls found their common ground in a computer games workshop, and also found their usual shyness disappeared.

Berta Luis, a sophomore, and Inez Hernandez, a junior, both attend Glencoe High School in Hillsboro, Ore., but had never met until they had a shared adventure experience on the MAX train on their way to the inaugural day of ChickTech: High School—a two-day event at Portland State University where 99 Portland-area high school girls were introduced to technology by local experts, in an effort to trigger an interest and confidence in high tech.

On the MAX, Berta and Inez soon realized they were attending the same workshop, computer games, one of seven tech-themed choices at ChickTech: High School. (The other workshops were robotics, microcontrollers, computer construction, website design and construction, smartphone apps, designing experiences.)

In the computer games workshop, they formed a team with Selena Hasan, a junior at Riverdale High School in Portland, and the two became three, and conversation soon turned to video games they each had played, and smiles were shared in a seeming relief to have found people who truly understood and shared their interests.

As Selena, Berta and Inez  worked on paper prototypes of the game they dreamed up—guided by workshop leaders including David Galiel, Leana Galiel, Yori Kvitchko and Corvus Elrod—they never stopped chatting. Never. And, this was unusual for all three of them, the girls unanimously concurred.

During ChickTech, Berta said she met a lot of new people and that it was a fun environment where she was able to socialize and come out of her usually very shy shell. Even though she had hoped to join the computer construction workshop she ended up in computer games, seated with her now-friends, Selena and Inez.

Selena, one third of triplet sisters who all attended ChickTech,  said she’s usually painfully shy, too, but at ChickTech she talked up a storm with girls she just met who shared her interest in video games,  jigsaw puzzles and other tangible games.

“I really like it because I’ve met several people with similar interests to me,” she said. “I guess I just feel comfortable.”

Inez came to ChickTech thinking her back up plan career would be a dental assistant, but her “shoot for the stars” career choice is a game designer.

“I wanted to see what’s behind video games,” she said, “I’m always curious about that: how it’s made.”

Her interest in game design was known by her teacher, who elected Inez to attend ChickTech.

“I actually thought I was in trouble,” she said about the moment she was summoned by her teacher.

Berta overheard a teacher and the principal talking about ChickTech while working as an attendance aid in her school’s office. They asked her if she’d like to join.

“I said yes because I wanted to meet new people and learn more about tech,” Berta said.

Although Berta and Inez basically made it through an obstacle course to arrive at Day One of ChickTech: High School 2013, they bonded over the experience, meeting each other for the first time at the MAX station, even though they attend the same high school.

They ran for the train, stood close, able to touch the doors that refused to open. They stood in the cold to wait for another train, which, when it arrived, teamed with police who were monitoring a situation involving a sick person and vomit on the MAX.

Then, they finally made it. It was an adventure, they said with a sparkle in their eyes.