This Workshop at MIT Lincoln Laboratory

Instructor Insights pages are part of the OCW Educator initiative, which seeks to enhance the value of OCW for educators.

Workshop Overview

This page focuses on the Girls Who Build Cameras workshop as it was facilitated by Kristen Railey in Summer 2016.

The Girls Who Build Cameras workshop for high school girls was a one-day, hands-on introduction to camera physics and technology (ie. How Instagram works!) at the MIT Lincoln Laboratory Beaverworks Center. The workshop included tearing down old dSLR cameras, building a Raspberry Pi camera, and coding Instagram filters and Photoshop tools. Participants also listened to keynote speakers from the camera technology industry, including Kris Clark who engineers space cameras for NASA and MIT Lincoln Laboratory, and Uyanga Tsedev who creates imaging probes at MIT to help surgeons find tumors. During lunch, representatives from the Society of Women Engineers and the Women Technology Program at MIT presented future opportunities to get involved in engineering in high school and college.

The workshop was a collaborative effort facilitated by 50 volunteers from several entities, including MIT Lincoln Laboratory, FathomSociety of Women Engineers, the MIT Mechanical Engineering Department, MIT Women's Technology Program, and DotProduct

Intended Workshop Outcomes

Workshop Goals for Participants

  • Discover that engineering is multi-faceted
  • Collaborate and problem solve as a team
  • Gain basic understanding of camera technology and image processing
  • Challenge stereotypes of who engineers are and what they do
  • Build a Raspberry Pi camera
  • Program image filters

Facilitator Insights

I learned a lot about code and image processing. I had never done that before and I loved it! 

— Participant

Below, Kristen Railey summarizes the impact of the workshop and areas for future improvement.


  • 50% of girls had no exposure to coding prior to participating in the workshop
  • 90% of our participants wanted to pursue it in more detail after participating in the workshop
  • One participant noted, "This was a great experience for me because I had wanted to start programming but I didn't know how or where.”


Future Improvements

More raspberry pi kits per girl, team building activities, hands-on presentations, and training for volunteers to engage the students.


Participant Information

40 girls participated this workshop when it was facilitated in Summer 2016.

Typical Participant Background

High school girls (rising 9th-12th graders) from 22 local Massachusetts high schools. 



The Classroom