Ursuline News

UA Interns Mentor at iCode

In late spring of 2018, an internship relationship was born with iCode North Dallas after two years of Ursuline students volunteering for the annual iCode Hackathon.  

Student Internship Program Director Christian Freberg helped secure that relationship with help from Computer Science Teacher Eve Juarez. The pair have been sending interns to iCode for two summers now. Many of those students were hired on after their internship ended.

Shari Johns, Director of iCode North Dallas, hopes that working at iCode will help encourage students to enter the field.

“There are so few females in the computer science industry,” Shari said, “So we hope it spurs them into a career in computer science.”

One of the iCode hires is Julia Elias ’21. She first started working with a coding program, Scratch, in middle school. At Ursuline, she took an AP Computer Science Principles course with Mrs. Juarez and witnessed firsthand the advancements of computer science as she learned the coding language, Python.

Serving as a Lab Mentor (teacher’s assistant) to the Technical Leads (teacher) who taught the summer camps, Julia helped teach coding to kids. She loved watching the kids in her camp class transform into students who developed a passion to not only learn, but to create.

Julia’s internship ended with an offer to be a Lab Mentor. She will take on more responsibility in her duties as well as help at iCode events. Her advice to students wanting to purse an internship at iCode? Do it.

“It not only benefits your communication and leadership skills but can also provide you with professional references and help you discover a potential career path,” she said.

Somto Unini ‘21 had a similar experience. She spent her 60-hour internship working in the Creative Entrepreneur Camp as a Lab Mentor. The experience allowed her to assist in classes and help kids type in code or put together programs.

Her most rewarding experience was when she helped a group of students animate their cat characters without having to ask the class teacher for help.

“I felt satisfied knowing that I helped my students,” Somto said. “I got to know my students very well and felt proud when they made progress and were able to move past an obstacle they were struggling with.”

Also offered a position at iCode for this next year, Somto will take on a role as Lab Mentor as well as a Technical Lead. She sees herself pursuing a career in coding and has loved her experience at iCode.

“I’m constantly learning. I have learned so much about computer science, programming, and infinitely more,” she said. “Anytime I help a student or teach a class, I learn something new or get to try technology that I have never used before and I love it.”

Shari adds that this is a strong benefit to working at iCode.

“Teaching helps them learn,” she notes. “When you are given the opportunity to teach someone else, you learn more from it.”