Revolutionizing Tech: Girls and Students of Color Code at Maydm Event on Epic’s Campus

Students and mentors bring creativity to programming at local tech education non-profit Maydm’s Maker’s Epic Experience event

Original story posted by Epic’s Stories and Snapshots | December 16, 2019

Local students spent the day at Epic on December 7th coding interactive projects at the third Maydm’s Makers Epic Experience event. The event, created by Madison tech education non-profit Maydm, helps spark interest in tech for girls and students of color.

“We give students the tools and exposure to revolutionize what tech looks like,” said Maydm programs implementation lead Calley Mannion.

Students wrote and programmed their own interactive 3D stories and created wearable microbit computers, combining programming with hands-on crafting and design.

“The students were really excited when they heard that they’d be coding 3D projects,” said JP Miller, Maydm’s curriculum developer and programs lead. “By sixth or seventh grade, they’re already proficient in 2D coding with Scratch and are ready for a new challenge.”

Winnie Karanja, Maydm’s founder and executive director, said exposure to programming is key to improving diversity in tech, where women and people of color are underrepresented.

“When I learned to code, I was one of two girls and two people of color in the class,” she said. “We want to make sure that girls and students of color have exposure to opportunities in STEM.”

During lunch, students accompanied volunteers from local tech companies, including Epic staff, on a tour of Epic’s auditorium and learning spaces.

“Epic is a big face of the Madison tech community, and we love Epic as a location because we want it to feel different from school,” Mannion said. “We hope that students feel like they can be creative because the space around them is creative, and that they can visualize themselves working in a place like this when they grow up.”

Learn more about the Maker’s Epic Experience event and the sponsors that helped make it possible.

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