I am a teaching assistant for the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program. GWC is a nonprofit organization that strives to close the gender gap in technology and computer science by teaching young women how to code. My main responsibility as a teaching assistant is to help the instructor deliver lessons and work with students as they code their exercises and projects. Our classroom is hosted by the software company, Autodesk and we’ll spend 7 weeks introducing 20 high school students to computer science by covering topics like robotics and web development, connecting students to female mentors in tech, and taking field trips to other companies. At the end of the summer the girls will create a final project that showcases the skills they’ve learned and creates a solution for an issue or supports a cause that they are passionate about. I was drawn to this position because I was a student in the 2015 Summer Immersion Program that was hosted by Pixar Animation Studios. I enjoyed the program and its message about sisterhood so much that I knew I would eventually return to join the teaching staff, so here I am!
My goal for this summer is to create a classroom that encourages students to be creative and resilient so that they can get the most out of the program. I also hope that after this summer I’ll learn how to best empower and support minority students in STEM and figure out if I would like to continue working in education or for nonprofits.
I think that students will struggle with imposter syndrome throughout the summer as we will move through concepts rapidly and they will start creating complex projects in the first week. Many might feel pressure to understand things quickly but I’ll have to remind them that our classroom and the program focuses on creating a sisterhood and getting students interested in tech, they are not being graded or have to pay to attend so it’s okay to make mistakes. Personally, I think that I will struggle to explain concepts to students as we’ll have students who have different learning methods and experiences with coding, so it will be difficult to keep all 20 students around the same level and prevent people from falling behind. However, I am certain that my internship will bring forth a lot of opportunities. I am excited to create fun projects in a variety of programing languages and topics, develop friendships with my team and the students, and also network with Autodesk and Girls Who Code employees. I think that regardless of the challenges I encounter, I won’t regret working with people who are eager to help end the gaps within technology and computer science.