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Women in STEAM Club Members Make Spirits Bright with Digital Cards

Loyola's Women in STEAM Club is making spirits bright this season with their holiday "Sharing of Hearts" digital card service project. To spread holiday cheer, club members are creating digital cards for patients at Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago and for Sisters of the Sacred Heart, in Wilmette. The cards are designed to be viewed on a cell phone, tablet, Smart TV, laptop or desktop computer.
Computer Science Teacher Mrs. Anita Debarlaben, who co-moderates Loyola’s Women in STEAM Club with Coordinator of Educational Technology Mrs. Jan Stoner, has been teaching members of the club to code since the beginning of the school year. For many, it was their first introduction to the skill that is quickly becoming one of the most viable and sought after in the job market.
The digital cards feature fun graphics, sounds and animations—dancing reindeer, elves and Santa on his sleigh—that help the girls develop their technical coding skills. More advanced students were encouraged to work with the code to design an interactive game or puzzle for the recipient.
When Mrs. Debarlaben saw how quickly her club members took to the project, she decided to open it up to her computer science students, as well, and have the card serve as an extra credit service project to encourage them to reach out to family members they may be distant from this year and to utilize their creativity.
For her computer science students, Mrs. Debarlaben created a survey to be sent to the recipients of each card. True to any mathematics course, numbers are everything! 
“Recipients will be sent a survey once they receive the card,” explains Debarlaben. “A small part of each student’s grade will be based on how many stars the recipient gives the card. This will encourage the students to put a lot of effort and thought into the card and not allow it to become just another assignment.”
The Sharing of Hearts digital card project is a shining example of the intersection of academics and service, skill development and giving back, that is a hallmark of Jesuit education. The project reminded students that something as simple as a holiday card can have a tremendous impact on our neighbors and friends.
Click on the students’ names below to view their digital creations!
Kaitlin Vagra card 1 and card 2
Ardyn Chin card 1 and card 2

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