The day kicked off a yearlong CodeArt coding program in partnership with Young Women’s Preparatory Academy. After CodeArt led all 400 YWPA students in an hour-of code session last year, science teacher Ms. Silvia Mendoza was inspired to get more coding education at YWPA. YWPA doesn’t currently offer any computer science classes, so Ms. Mendoza reached out to CodeArt to offer coding instruction to YWPA students all year long this school year.
Amy Renshaw, Executive Director of CodeArt, recruited 15 women in Computer Science to be guest speakers for Day of Code. They included Allison Cammack of Kairos, Amanda Quijano of Iguana Productions, Catalina Valenzuela of TECHcetera, Christina Nguyen of SapientRazorfish, Claudia Gourdet with Educate Tomorrow, Gabriela Costales with University of Miami, Gina Carriazo Hickey with HackShack Studio Julissa Roa of Bupa Global Latin America, Marina Ganopolsky of CodeArt and HackedArt, Marlise Urscheler of Spafinder Wellness 365 and instructor with CS50xMiami, Mary Wolff with Spacewolff, Monique Ross with FIU, Neydy Gomez with Zaniac, Taylor Martinez with MDC, and Terri-Ann Brown with Founder Institute South Florida. Each speaker spoke to one homeroom. They talked about their professional experience as it related to the documentary “CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap,” which all of the students watched as part of the morning session.
All 400 YWPA students attended. In addition to the screening of “CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap” and the “Women in Tech” speakers, CodeArt led the coding exercise, and Luis Martinez of Stardom Up and Unyted Technologies led an additional STEM activity.
Since the kick-off event in October, CodeArt has been back to lead three monthly coding sessions with all 400 students (grades 6-12). The girls are learning to code in Scratch. They have coded a Jackson Pollock art generator and are now working on creating video games. Most of our instructors our current computer science majors in FIU’s School of Computing and Information Sciences. The team is led by Lissett Munoz.
We will be leading five more monthly sessions, as well as leading two more in-depth training sessions for the 11th and 12th grade students. In addition, YWPA launched an after school Monarch CodeArt Club at YWPA for students interested in getting more coding experience. CodeArt provides the curriculum and at least one instructor for each 2-hour weekly session.
At the end of the school year, the speakers from Day of Code will be invited back, but this time the roles will be reversed. The YWPA students will present their coding projects to the speakers to show them what they have learned in the yearlong program.
We love working with the students at YWPA and are so grateful to the Albert and Jane Nahmad Family Foundation for funding this project. The YWPA administration sees the positive impact of the sessions CodeArt is leading and is looking into adding computer science classes to the regular curriculum for the coming school year. That’s awesome!
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