“I’d never pictured myself as someone who could code. I thought it was for sophisticated people, and I’m not like that in any way. But I did it. I learned so many skills that I never thought I’d be able to learn."
"There will always be a new frontier in tech. To be future-proof and viable, you have to be educated in computing"
“I had never even met a Hispanic or Latino in computer science until Nextech. When we started going on field trips is when I started seeing something besides white males in tech."
“Nextech showed me so many ways I could use what I love to do in a career I will love.”
“A lot of us were nervous at first, but we quickly realized that computer science is mainly a group of people working together to accomplish a goal."
"Being able to work with people I didn’t know and actually use my computer science skills and knowledge for a business problem helped me learn a lot. It opened a lot of doors for me. I’ll be forever grateful to Nextech."
"Computer science classes should be required for everyone, even if they don’t like computers."
“Especially for Black women in tech, we see a lot of disparities.... a lot of stigmas that say the tech world is not for us.”
"I had always been interested in tech but never had the opportunity to enter into that world until Nextech. How does someone like me, with no one to relate to, figure out if tech is really for me?”
"There are so many things you can do in computer science that you can find your niche."
“Nextech brought together a bunch of mostly introverted teenagers like me in a way most summer programs can only dream of. We knew this was a place for us to learn and improve, and we thrived.”
"I had no clue about all the fields that were in CS, even though I’ve been using CS since before kindergarten."
"Before Catapult, I couldn’t really visualize how many women were in STEM or tech jobs or how many girls my age wanted to work in it.”
"When students aren’t scared away from CS with language about “coding” and “programming,” they jump in with both feet."
"We have to give students more ways to express themselves, and computer science can do that as much as art or music. They just don’t know it because they don’t see people who look like them doing it."
"It [CS] is not text-driven, it’s doing-driven. It’s not reading a textbook; it’s oriented to understand the task.”
“Teachers shouldn’t be intimidated about teaching CS. We all have the ability to learn."
“CS in general touches every field now. No matter what a student is interested in, tech has an influence on it. I really try to make students think about being producers of tech and not just consumers."
“Females and people of color aren’t traditionally seen in computer science, and women tend to be underrepresented in all STEM fields. Schools must recruit purposefully to get people in place who look like alltheir students.”
"Nextech is giving these kids marketable skills. They’ll be able to compete in every field, and every field now has the need for CS."
"I don’t see mentoring as me teaching students something. I see it more as a conversation with a friend who shows potential and is eager to learn."
"I don’t know that computer science is the mysterious ‘black box’ that it used to be, because now you can see computer science in everything. But there is a disconnect for girls, kids from lower-income families, kids of color."