Lucy is a sophomore at Stanford who has been working with Breakout Mentor students since the beginning of the year. She has excelled working with both our youngest students doing Scratch and the older students learning Java, while always make sure it’s fun. Let’s hear from Lucy about how she got started:
What do you find rewarding about teaching kids how to program?
I love working with kids and I’m very passionate about education reform. I believe that learning should be fun, and that hands on learning is the best way to immerse a child in a subject. I love seeing kids have fun while learning, and that is why I enjoy being a Breakout Mentor.
When did you start programming?
In high school I worked on a few research projects in the field of behavioral science, and my mentor suggested that I learn the programming language SAS (similar to R) so that I could use statistics to quantify the data. So I guess my introduction to programming was from a more practical standpoint, but it was taking CS 106A at Stanford that made me love programming.
Why is it important for kids to start programming when young?
Programming teaches kids problem solving skills and cultivates creativity and design thinking. Children are able to learn very quickly, so I think it is important to learn these skills at a young age.
What is your favorite game or project you have created with a student?
Breakout (the classic brick breaker game) is always a fun one to make with kids. They love being able to make a popular game that they have played before!
What advice to you have to kids learning how to program?
I truly believe that any child can learn to program, even at a very young age (my youngest student was in the 4th grade, and he did great!). My advice to kids would be to have fun and to have patience. Sometimes programming can be frustrating, but that rush of exhilaration when your program works flawlessly makes it all worth it :)