Meet Catapult Dionne

October 19th, 2016

Nextech is on a mission to transform K-12 students from technology consumers to the next generation of tech pioneers. In June, we launched Catapult, a work-and-learn program to help high school students develop foundational tech skills, civic leadership and workplace-readiness skills.

We’d like you to meet Dionne, one of the 16 students who embarked on the yearlong Catapult journey with us. We recently sat down with Dionne to chat about computer science, her passion to inspire other girls to code and what she’s gained through Catapult so far.

Nextech: Tell us a little bit about yourself, Dionne.
Dionne: I am currently a senior at Christel House Academy. I’m on the basketball team and have been active in Rotary and Students in Action. I also like to paint. I started painting freshmen year and haven’t stopped.

Nextech: What are your plans after high school?
Dionne: I love working with computers. I want to minor or major in computer science in college. Not many girls my age are interested in learning more about the tech field so I want to teach them that it’s really fascinating.

Nextech: Why does computer science interest you?
Dionne: It challenges me, and overall it’s unique. Not a lot of people understand why computer science is important. Computer science and coding open up many opportunities for the future; they can change lives and how we live.

Nextech: Do you have a dream job?
Dionne: It used to be acting. I loved movies and always dreamt of being an actress. When I dove into coding, I thought I might want a career in computer science. I don’t know what role I’ll play, but I have some time to figure that out.

Nextech: Who is your hero?
Dionne: My mom, of course, and Josephine Baker. She was an African-American entertainer. She moved to France to live her dream. America had so much segregation going on, and she wanted to get out of it. She will forever be someone I look up too because she’s just amazing.

Nextech. Best advice you’ve received.
Dionne: Do what I want in life. I have to try new things if I’m going to be in a new place. I can’t always stay in my comfort zone because there’s a world bigger than where I’m at right now.

Nextech: Biggest accomplishment so far.
Dionne: Joining Nextech. This is an amazing experience, and I’m proud of myself.

Nextech: What were some of your favorite Catapult activities over the summer?
Dionne: I liked working on Freecodecamp and sharing our portfolios. We got to experience what it’s like to present to other professionals, and it was a nervously cool experience. I also enjoyed visiting different tech companies and seeing how they’re managed.

Nextech: Easiest and hardest parts of coding.
Dionne: The easiest part is HTML and CSS. The hardest part is JavaScript. Some functions were difficult to understand. I learned that it’s okay to struggle because it’s part of the learning process. Even skilled coders struggle.

Nextech: How has Catapult helped you?
Dionne: This program has changed my life. Not many high schoolers can say they know how to code. I’m so proud and blessed to have such an opportunity. I would like to inspire other girls to get into coding. It’s amazing talent to have. I’m happy Nextech came into my life at the perfect time.

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