My experience mentoring girls for the Codepillars Club

Nicole Tirado avatar
Nicole Tirado
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For the past two years, I’ve been a programming mentor for C3Tec’s Codepillars Club in Puerto Rico. The Codepillars Club consists of teaching basic concepts of programming, design, engineering and coding to girls between 12-18 years old. These concepts are presented through in-person workshops and virtual sessions during weekends (Saturdays).

Being a part of helping girls with STEAM concepts and getting them interested in hopefully making a it a future career for them is something that fills my heart with joy. Even though the Women in STEAM movement has grown exponentially during the last decade, we are still in need of getting more women involved in this field. Programs like the Codepillars Club are the perfect initiative for that.

I’m so proud to be a part of this experience and be able to make a contribution to help girls showcase their projects and obtain possible growth opportunities for a future career.

More importantly, programs like these help close the gap and break barriers when it comes to gender visibility in the STEM spectrum. As of now, women only make up approximately 20% of the tech workforce. That number needs to increase. More resources should be made available to provide support and guidance for the future generation that will be joining the workspace in a few years.

C3Tec's Codepillars Club

What I’ve learned as a mentor

  • I never thought I could be a teacher, I found out through this that I was wrong.

  • I enjoy teaching development concepts in an interactive way.

  • There is an **immense **amount of creativity and talent from children interested in STEAM that should be celebrated and encouraged.

  • I provide value with my experience as a programmer, woman and person in the STEM field.

  • As leaders and mentors, we need to encourage, listen and provide optimism. We can provide a glimmer of hope and interest in the people we’re mentoring.

Projects I’ve overseen and been a part of as a mentor

  • Web app for mental health support

  • 2D side-scrolling game about Covid-19

  • Web app for a pH sensor

  • Informative and interactive website for future college students interested in STEAM

  • Website for a plastic waste cleaner prototype for bodies of water

I’m hopeful to keep being part of this initiative for the foreseeable future. If you ever get the opportunity to become a mentor (in any capacity), I suggest you go for it. There’s an immense gratifying feeling tied to helping other people learn and be able to achieve a goal.