Meet Anna Mistele, a Code/Art alumna now studying computer science at Stanford University. Anna was part of Code/Art’s early beginnings being a teaching assistant in Code/Art’s first coding club at Pinecrest Library. We had the opportunity to catch up with her to see what she’s been up to at Stanford and talk about how Code/Art’s community had an influence on her trajectory decision to pursue a career in tech education.
How did you get started with Code/Art?
I was volunteering as a teaching assistant with a former Girls Who Code club at Pinecrest library and Amy Renshaw was our club mentor. When she decided to found Code/Art, I was very excited to jump on that train because it definitely seemed to fill a niche that I hadn’t really seen solved with other organizations or programs I was a part of.
What are some takeaways from your overall experience being a both a participant and lead within Code/Art programs?
Well, first of all, I was introduced to a really amazing community of women coders in Miami. I thought that was very exciting, just to know so many cool and inspiring women.
Additionally, I thought it was really interesting to see how learning to code through a creative lens resonated with a lot of people. It definitely resonated with me.
I got into coding through math and my interest in math, but I’ve also always loved to create things. So I felt like seeing people be able to code as a creative process instead of just an academic one was very exciting.
I also thought that seeing communities of girls learning together without having to face any stereotypes, because there are basically none if you’re learning in an all girls community, you sort of don’t have to face the same stereotype threat. I saw a lot of students in the Code/Art clubs get more confident in themselves and their coding skills throughout the years that they were part of the club. That was very exciting to see, just people gaining confidence in their skills and also themselves.
Did you ever participate in any of the Code/Art creative coding competitions?
I did! When I was in 9th grade, I entered the interactive art category with a little piano that I made on Scratch. I placed as a finalist that year.
What’s one of the favorite projects that you remember creating for Code/Art?
It was a different interactive program I made. It was inspired by a booth I’d seen at Code/Art, I believe, or at some Code/Art related event where people were making pixel art or they were selling pixel art. And I remember thinking, oh, that’s so cool! I made this pixel art generator where you can change how thin or wide the columns and rows were and the color scheme and that sort of thing. I had so much fun making it.
That’s really cool! You were also a Club Instructor. Can you share a bit about the experience of working with younger students and contributing toward Code/Art’s mission?
What always stood out the most to me was that we were building confidence. I watched the girls in Code/Art clubs slowly but surely come out of their shells. By the end of the school year, they weere all more confident in their skills and excited to work on projects that at the beginning of the school year, they would have never thought they could complete.
Let’s switch gears for a bit and talk about your future plans. Where are you currently studying?
What’s your major?
Awesome! Do you have any idea where you want to work in the future?
Well I’m really interested in education and technology and how they overlap. So I feel like either doing computer science education or doing education technology. Honestly, I’m mostly interested in education and computer science. Definitely want to be a part of that especially because of how much tech is going to change the future.
Do you think Code/Art has influenced your trajectory? If so, how?
I loved learning how to code early on but Code/Art gave me the opportunity to actually teach coding skills to others which was a huge eye opener for me, I had never taught before. I was basically teaching people to code as soon as I had learned it. That process of teaching people was something that I built up as I learned to code. I would credit Code/Art for my interest in education and how much I value it.
Would you encourage younger girls to participate in the program?
Yes. The opportunities are limitless if you know how to code. Besides that, it’s a wonderful environment for learning how to code because you’re surrounded by a bunch of other people who are new and excited to learn just like you.
Learning to code in general is a wonderful idea because if you have any sort of problems that you’re facing in your life or that you notice in your community, you can actually solve it! Not everything can be solved with code, but a lot of things can.It’s very empowering to be able to create anything out of nothing using computer science!
~end of interview~