Lexi is a Master’s student at Stanford studying Computer Science with a specialization in Networks and Cybersecurity. She works with some of the most advanced Breakout Mentors students, introducing them to exciting new areas like how wireless information is sent and how hacking works!
When did you start to code?
I started to code my sophomore year of high school. At the time, English grammar was my principal interest, and I began to explore computational linguistics after learning about the field on YouTube. This interest evolved into a passion for computer science as I spent time on Coursera, conducted data-mining research, competed in the North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad, and tinkered after school. Currently, I study systems programming, cybersecurity, and computer networks.
Why is it important for kids to start coding when young?
Learning to code is learning to break big problems into small, actionable steps. It is a highly transferable skill in addition to a gateway to understanding modern technology. Experience with programming can improve one’s persuasive writing, aptitude for foreign languages, time management, and mathematical reasoning.
What is your favorite game or project you have created with a student?
My student implemented the RSA key exchange! We had just studied the group theoretical basis of public key cryptography, so the project gave her a chance to apply advanced Python techniques to a real-world cybersecurity challenge.