The 309th Software Engineering Group (SWEG) at Hill AFB is known for developing technological “firsts,” but the Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality Computing (ARVRC) Project inadvertently achieved a new first for the organization, being that the female members outnumbered the males. According to a 2022 statista.com survey, globally, over 91% of all software developers are male, which makes the unintentional ARVRC team’s ratio even more incredible.
ARVRC develops extremely detailed, virtual representations of existing environments to use in areas such as training, recruiting, and even marketing. The team which consists of Jared Johnson, Braden Jensen, Mylee Anderson, Natalie Kemp, Sophia Miles, Carter Rigert, Christine (Chris) Durtschi, and AnnaRe Mendenhall, developed first-person user software, giving potential interns and new hires the ability to walk through unclassified SWEG buildings and see their different projects down to the hardware, tools, and physical development environment. The ARVRC software utilizes Unreal Engine to produce a visual 3D output so detailed users can see the grain of the wood in a table or the pattern of the fabric in a chair.
When asked about the non-traditional team imbalance, ARVRC Project Lead Jared Johnson said, “I really felt that the women on the team took initiative and helped drive the team with their abilities and creativity.”
ARVRC recently added multiple video outputs within the virtual simulation that are triggered by the user, so participants can watch pre-recorded presentations to learn about a specific project or organization. SWEG will use this technology to continue recruiting software developers and hopefully draw more young females into pursuing a degree in programming.
Pictured left to right: (back row) Braden Jensen, Jared Johnson, Chris Durtschi, Carter Rigert, (front row) Natalie Kemp, Mylee Anderson, and Sophia Miles (AnnaRe Mendenhall not pictured).