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This Teen Ambassador Couldn’t Get Enough of Our Program… So She Came Back!

March 11, 2021 By Canada Learning Code

We’re in year two of our Teen Ambassador Program (TAP) and we couldn’t be more excited about this group of teens. There were hundreds of applications and we were pumped to see so much enthusiasm shine through each application. We even saw some familiar names… like Ispeeta! 

Tell us a bit about yourself!

I am a grade 11 student, currently residing in Antigonish, Nova Scotia! My favourite thing to do right now is playing the piano and finding new coding languages to learn. My favourite snack at the moment is KitKats!

How did you get involved with CLC? 

It was my first year being the captain of my robotics team, just one year after I joined the team. The experience I had on the team made me more and more interested in coding in general. I looked online in search of more opportunities like internships, online classes, etc. While searching, I saw the big words calling for anyone who wanted to become a Teen Ambassador for Canada Learning Code! I have heard about the organization from my robotics coach and the description sounded perfect for me. From there, I applied and got in.

Group of teens standing in front of whiteboard and laughing

What did it feel like being in the first-ever cohort of the Teen Ambassador Program? 

It was super exciting! I felt like I was a part of something bigger and I was happy to join something new alongside others. To be honest, I didn’t even realize it was the first cohort of TAP because I was given so many opportunities from the get-go!

Also, meeting people across Canada really helped push me to become a better communicator and team member. Because of CLC, I was able to keep in contact with some of the other Teen Ambassadors who helped me pursue other endeavours in the tech field! We were all skilled in different aspects of technology, and for someone who was new to coding in general, it was a great help!

How have you brought computer science education to your community so far? 

I live in a rural town so it was mostly getting more people engaged in STEM in the first place. In grade nine, I was the only girl in my robotics club which was filled with all grade 12 boys. It was definitely nerve-wracking! However, from that year, I learned many skills and also the gift of not being ashamed to ask for help when I needed it. In grade 10, when all members graduated, I was tasked to find new members. I was able to recruit some of my friends and we picked at the robots and games throughout the year. We managed to get in the top 10 teams of our provincial tournament! Additionally, I would go over to the middle school’s maker space where I saw kids develop awesome projects and help them with any questions if needed!

What have you learned?

CLC is where I learned HTML and CSS. The introductory workshop has changed my outlook on coding forever. Learning coding can be very challenging in the sense that there are many platforms to learn from and it’s difficult to choose where to learn. Different platforms have different ideas on what a beginner truly is. However, Canada Learning Code truly took it to its basics and encouraged everyone, even when coding concepts were hard to understand. Because of CLC, I was able to create my own website and organization!

Another important thing I learned was my potential as a woman in STEM. CLC really helped us try to believe in ourselves and our ability to do well in anything we pursue. A very impactful webinar we had was presented by Accenture where they talked about how we could break the 12 habits holding women back in jobs. A big point that stuck with me was ruminating. I looked back in my life and remember countless times where I wanted to share my opinions and ideas but held back because I wasn’t 100% sure of them. It really impacted me in my first year of robotics club because I felt I couldn’t ask questions in the fear of looking completely foolish. However, this webinar helped me catch myself whenever I was doubting myself and my abilities. 

Group of teens sitting and working on their laptops

What were your top 3 reasons for applying again?

  • More opportunities for learning about technology 
  • Believed in Canada Learning Code’s mission and wanted to continue in any way possible
  • As a Teen Ambassador who participated in the first cohort, I wanted to see how CLC would continue to improve an already great experience. It was crazy how fast they took people’s suggestions and turned year two into an even more amazing experience! From hackathons to mentoring opportunities, it was a dream come true!

What are you most looking forward to this year?

Continuing to develop my repertoire of coding languages. Aside from HTML and CSS, we learned Processing JS and it has been extremely eye-opening! Canada Learning Code has great connections so I know they can always help us find important information about opportunities given. 

What differences are you seeing between last year and this year?

We always did TAP on an online basis (if anything, CLC helped me adjust to communication devices for many situations ahead of the COVID-19 Pandemic!). I think because of COVID-19, our TAP community was able to come together closer and appreciate how much technology helped bind us together during the past few months. The energy and excitement in each webinar are always apparent!

Two teen girls in front of their laptops working on their project

Advice to other teens out there who are learning computer science for the first time?

I know it is cliche, but JUST DO IT! At the very beginning, it will be frustrating but it will all pay off in the end. I would pick a very specific goal that can be big or small. It can be as simple as “How do I make a website background red?” to “How can I add animations to make it engaging for the user?” By making goals, you know what to search for and in the process, you’ll learn new coding techniques. As CLC said, it is imperative that people in our generation are not just consumers – but also creators – of technology. 

We are grateful to Rogers for continuing their support of the Canada Learning Code Teen Ambassador Program. With this partnership, CLC Teen Ambassadors are eligible to apply for scholarships through the Ted Rogers Scholarship Fund. Thank you, Rogers, for inspiring teens like Ispeeta and providing them with more opportunities to learn about technology!

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