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Talent runs in the family

Author: Communications

Posted on Jun 4, 2014

Category: UNB Saint John

New Brunswick K-12 students showcased their creativity during computer programming competitions held at UNB Saint John. It was an exciting day for the talented Marica brothers as they were both awarded first place in their divisions.

UNB Saint John hosts programming competitions

On May 10, UNB Saint John’s department of computer science and applied statistics hosted two competitions that test computer programming and problem solving skills. Nine schools participated in the 8th annual New Brunswick High School Programming competition and 10 schools participated in the first annual New Brunswick Scratch competition.

Alongside numerous talented students, Vlad Marica won first place in the high school competition. His younger brother Matei Marica placed first in level two (Gr. 7-8) of the scratch competition, while Jacob Gallant placed first in level one (K-6).

Proud UNB dad

UNB Fredericton senior research scientist, Florea Marica, is proud of his sons for all their hard work. As players of the game Minecraft, Vlad and Matei developed an interest in computer programming at a young age.

“I praise Terri Brooks, the computer science teacher at Fredericton High School, and Clara Thomas, the technology teacher at George Street Middle School, for encouraging Vlad and Matei to participate in programming competitions,” says Marica.

Computational thinking

In addition to promoting UNB’s computer science program, the programming competitions encourage computational thinking.

“Computational thinking is a digital skill that combines critical thinking, computing, creativity, problem solving and collaboration,” says Aziz Fellah, UNB Saint John assistant professor and coordinator of both competitions.

The high school competition awarded winners with various electronics and bursaries toward UNBSJ’s computer science program. In the inaugural scratch competition, prizes sponsored by Brilliant Labs included a Raspberry Pi and Google Nexus 7.

“The talent we see each year is fantastic,” says Fellah. “We want to promote computational thinking, creativity and teamwork to students at an early age.”


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