YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – There’s been a nationwide push to get children, especially young girls, involved early in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). One young girl living in Youngstown is doing just that.
Twelve-year-old Maria Reichard and her dad, Dr. Joshua Reichard, created their own video game after watching the Netflix original series “Stranger Things.”
The series exploded in popularity in July of 2016. Since then, a second season has been released and it’s gained millions of fans.
Maria has always had an interest in computers, so when the 7thgrader saw Sean Astin’s character Bob using the computer language Basic, she wanted to give it a try.
“Our school has really enforced STEM programming. I know not everyone is into that, but I am. Less than 25 percent of women are in the STEM fields, so that makes me want to do it more,” Maria said.
In the game that Maria and her father created, users play as one of the main characters, a young girl with special powers named Eleven. She tries to destroy demons known as Demagorgons using Eggo waffles, which is Elevens favorite food, all while rescuing people, including Bob, trapped in the dfferent levels.
“I was obsessed with “Stranger Things”, so this all just sort of happened,” Maria said.
Reichard is the vice principal at Valley Local Christian Schools. He wanted to get Maria involved in STEM programs whiles she’s young, hoping it will help spur her passions in the future.
“Our hope is it will inspire young women, in particular, to take this up and say, ‘Hey, this is something I can do.’” Reichard said.
Maria says her next project is a remake of the game, but this time it will be in first person.