Meet Our Mentors – Olivia Barbulescu

Olivia joined the beginning of her junior year at Stanford and is a native New Yorker. She is excellent with kids and makes even the most difficult challenges approachable, including the transition from drag-and-drop Scratch coding to typed Java coding!

What do you find rewarding about teaching kids how to code?

I love seeing how excited kids get when they find the bug in their program or figure out a concept. Coding can get intimidating sometimes, and it is easy to feel discouraged, and it is amazing to watch kids move from initial frustration to complete understanding.

What is your favorite game or project you have created with a student?

I loved making the RandomArt graphics program with a student. RandomArt is an animated program where different shapes and sizes appear on the screen. A lot of students really enjoy animation and video games, and it is so exciting to see them be proud of their work and see its practical applications.

What advice do you have for kids learning how to code?

Keep asking questions! You will become a fantastic coder if you make sure that you understand the concepts inside and out. If you have a question, chances are that a bunch of other people have had that question before, and no question is “too dumb” to ask. Sometimes you will struggle and make mistakes, but you will only learn from these experiences and become an even better coder!