Owen is a freshman at Stanford who joined the Breakout Mentors team in November 2014. As a mentor he specializes in Scratch, making the very first programming experience fun for an 8 year-old and 9 year-old boy. Let’s get to know him!
When did you start programming?
Around senior year of high school, a good friend of mine introduced me to Python and I was immediately hooked on how anyone could express their ideas and logic through a few lines of code. I started with AP Computer Science that year, and the rest is history.
What do you find rewarding about teaching kids how to program?
My favorite moment when teaching is when the student lights up with understanding, and you can feel the joy in their epiphany. Math and computer science are hard subjects. Just by their nature of being more conceptual and abstract rather than physical, there’s no easy way to see things taking place in front of you. All the architecture inside a piece of code is made out of information, not wood or steel. I teach programming here at Breakout Mentors to help students think critically and enjoy a sense of wonder in learning about code.
What advice do you have to kids learning how to program?
Go beyond what you learn from classes or even mentoring sessions and explore with projects of your own. When you find something you really want to do without outside help, you’re that much more motivated to try and to achieve something. I’ve learned faster by building applications and just googling answers than I have sometimes by attending classes.