PBS’ television program, “SciGirls,premiered its newest episode Thursday after months of collaboration between St. Thomas’ Playful Learning Lab and St. Paul’s Metro Deaf School.

The episode features the partnership of St. Thomas students from Code and Chords – the Playful Learning Lab project that creates dynamic visuals out of music – and three students from Metro Deaf School. The episode follows as the girls learn to code and storyboard visual presentations for a song, and finishes with a live performance at the Science Museum of Minnesota by St. Thomas’ Cadenza Singers, with the girls’ visual presentation on a massive screen behind them.

“The instructors in this episode are young women from the St.Thomas Playful Learning Lab, the deaf teens learning to code are from our partner school Metro Deaf School, the Code+Chords software was written by Playful Learning Lab, the singers are UST Cadenza … My heart is bursting with pride and joy about this episode!” wrote Playful Learning Lab director AnnMarie Thomas, professor in the School of Engineering and Schulze School of Entrepreneurship.

The three students overcame challenges and worked extensively with St. Thomas students to produce a performance they were proud of.

“Through our project, I felt like we were able to express ourselves to a larger audience, allowing our audience to understand that deaf people can create things along with music as a way to communicate,” said Britanee, one of the Metro Deaf School students.

“I feel like I’m ready for anything. I could teach my family, other people and generations to come who have never done anything like this,” said Saabiriinn, another of the three high school students. “I hope people see it and think, ‘Oh, I can do this, too,’ and that they would be able to discover the relationship between music and code.”

“I want to learn more. I want to try more complex programming. I want to go deeper,” she added.

The partnership started in 2018 after PBS reconnected with AnnMarie Thomas, who was a mentor on the “SciGirls” pilot episode in 2009.

“That’s really our goal: empowering these girls,” said Angie Prindle, producer for “SciGirls.” “And they’re serving as role models for millions of other girls watching. They’re learning from people like AnnMarie, Emily [Meuer ’18], this whole team.”

“What an amazing school [in Metro Deaf School] and what a great opportunity to partner with them and show the power of technology to connect people, and embrace this storytelling in a more inclusive way,” Prindle added

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