In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, Microsoft welcomed over 100 middle school students from three areas of Washington state – Mukilteo, Skagit Valley, and Tacoma – into its halls for a special coding workshop.
Over the summer, the Nuevo Foundation worked to create a coding curriculum with a story that would resonate well with middle school students while also teaching students fundamental computer science concepts. At the coding workshop, the curriculum was put into practice and well received by the students.
The middle schoolers were taught Python coding with the story of a bee named Alex who is living in a turtle world. In the story, Alex the bee is working to learn the language of the turtles which is Python so that the students are able to learn this new language along with the character. Students also had the opportunity to learn about variables, functions, for loops, and more during the workshop.
After the coding workshop, Maria Alvarez – General Manager of Shared Engineering Services – spoke with the students about Hispanic Heritage Month and her career in technology. The students also attended a panel discussion where HOLA (Hispanic/Latinx Organization of Leaders in Action) leaders Guillermo Vazquez, Lucy Garate-Barros, Damaris Sardenberg, Veronica Giaudrone, and Joseph Sefair talked about what it means to be Latinx in tech, inspired students to pursue careers in STEM and shared memories of their childhood.
At the end of the event 93% of the students claimed that they learned how to code, 82% of the students are now more interested in STEM, and 73% are planning on pursuing higher education.