ROSE HILL — Katie Luengas enjoyed working with her peers to make life better for people through technology.
With inspiration from Code the Dream, an idea was formed to bring supplies and resources to migrant workers through an app. Luengas was joined by Jennifer Gomez, Birzayit Sanchez, Erica Quintana and Sy’Onie Lee.
“If we’re able help those who come to our community and work very hard to provide crops and better the environment, we’ll eventually have a better environment where everyone is treated fairly,” she said.
Code the Dream recently visited Sampson County to work with the students by hosting a Coding Camp and Hack-A-Thon at Union High School. The purpose of the organization is to provide free software courses to underrepresented groups. Daisy Magnus-Aryitery, director of Code the Dream, led the week-long program.
Teams pitched several ideas for apps using App Lab through www.code.org. The activity also included building a website to display their information. Business and financial models were also presented. Prizes were awarded to top groups.
“This is the start of something they can put out to the public,” Magnus-Aryitery said. “We want them to get the experience in developing an idea, going to the actual product, seeing all the steps involved and how technology fits into all of that.”
Magnus-Aryitery expressed how she wants students to have more confidence dealing with software development or explore the opportunities.
“But when they see it actually work and they have fun doing it, we want more students to consider a career in technology,” Magnus-Aryitery said.
In groups, students identified problems or a need. One group developed an app plan to help women of different ethnicities with beauty needs such as hair, while giving tips on being natural. The students enjoyed being a part of Code the Dream. Participants included Eyanna McBride, Aniya Howard, Jada McNeil, Adia Edwards and Dejah Devone.
“It’s different and it’s good opportunity to learn something new,” Devone said.
Another group came up with an idea to help college students save money on needs such as textbooks.
“Sometimes you can’t rent and you have to buy and those so much money,” Daische Boykin said.
Other group members included KeAusja Chestnutt, Juan Perez, Frandricka Faison, and Kimberly Swinson.Some of the other ideas involved finding gas stations with lower prices at the pump, finding an apartment, finding food discounts, and getting textbooks at a lower cost.
Code the Dream host classes which take between six to nine months to complete. Afterwards, students are offered paid internships and have the chance to build apps for nonprofits.
“It’s kind of a win-win,” Magnus-Aryitery said while talking about the program based out of Duraham. “Organizations get that technology help they may not have been able to afford otherwise and our students get to ramp up their skills.”
Lakevia Underwood, program coordinator for Upward Bound, said the program was a great opportunity for students to broaden their horizons and learn about computer coding. Program Director Marlow Artis said the entrepreneurship lessons were beneficial to students.
“We had some kids raise their hand and said that they can see themselves as coders and that they would be open to this career,” he said. “That what Upward Bound is about.”
The program was recently implemented in Sampson County and helps low-income and first generation students with higher education plan. In Upward Bound, Artis said the goal is to expose students to new environments and career possibilities.
“Our kids here in Sampson County deserve as many opportunities as the kids all over,” Artis said.
Magnus-Aryitery said it’s a great partnership between Sampson County School’s Upward Bound and Code the Dream.
“We think it’s a great partnership and the students are really engaged,” she said. “Our goal is to always bring diversity to tech, because when we have people from diverse backgrounds working on the problems we need solutions to, we get better solutions for all of society.”
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.