Rachel Farinas

Oct 31, 2023 | Alumni Series

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Meet Rachel Farinas, a Code/Art alumna, 2022 high school graduate, and 2022 ChangeMaker Challenge winner! She was a Club Lead for the Code/Art club at Pinecrest Library and top Code/Art competition participant for back to back years. She’s currently attending the University of Miami for Computer Science! Read the interview below for insights into her experience with Code/Art programs!

When did you get started with Code/Art and how old were you then? 

I started when I was 16 or 17, during my junior year in high school. My calculus teacher got me involved through a coding assignment I completed, which was a self-portrait created in JavaScript. That same year, I competed in the Animated Art competition where I was titled the 1st place winner in the high-school division.

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What were some takeaways that you got from these experiences with Code/Art? 

I discovered that a lot is being accomplished in the nonprofit sector for tech, particularly for underrepresented communities in the South Florida tech industry! Additionally, Code/Art played a significant role in shaping my perspective on computer science as a potential degree and career path.

You were a lead instructor for one of your middle school club last year. What was your favorite part of that experience? What has been gratifying about working with the Pinecrest Library club students? 

My favorite aspect of that experience was witnessing the girls’ progress as we taught them. While some found it more challenging than others, there was evident growth for all. Some grasped the concepts quickly, but what truly mattered was the progress made by each of them. Over time, they became more enthusiastic about their lessons and more receptive to the concepts of computer science and programming. It was truly gratifying to witness the students’ passion for their projects.

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Let’s talk about some future plans. What university are you going to and what are you planning to study?

I’m currently attending the University of Miami and anticipate graduating in the spring of 2025. Although I previously had an internship as a software engineer at Amazon, I’m now seeking to transition away from this field in tech. My interest lies in UI and UX, specifically in product management, as I aim to explore the more creative aspects of computer science. Additionally, I’m continuing my research in the same lab where I’ve been involved since my senior year in high school; this lab specializes in machine learning.

Do you think that Code/Art played a role in your decision to go into tech?

Absolutely! The most significant encouragement I received was from Ms. Hauser. Without her, I might not have discovered my passion for technology. It would have taken me much longer to realize that this was the path I wanted to pursue in life. I’m deeply grateful for Code/Art and my teacher. Firstly, for Ms. Hauser’s initiative in introducing her students to computer science, and specifically for introducing me to Code/Art, allowing me to explore ways to engage with the local nonprofit sector and the field of computer science.

To wrap up our interview, considering your experience, would you—when talking to a younger girl—recommend that they take part in programs like Code/Art and if so, why?

Yes, absolutely I would! What sets Code/Art apart is their approach – they don’t begin with the confusing math or the purely logical part of CS. Instead, they start with something most people enjoy, which is art. This resonates with me personally as I’m an artist myself.

Thank you for sharing your story with us!

 

~end of interview~

Congrats Class of 2024!

Congrats Class of 2024!

Congratulations to the class of 2024! We're so proud of the graduates in our community who have...