Taylor Rivera

Aug 15, 2023 | Alumni Series

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Meet Taylor Rivera, a Code/Art alumna and Florida International University class of 2022 graduate. Taylor began her journey with Code/Art when she was in high school taking part in Code/Art Club workshops and eventually volunteering as a lead teacher. We had the chance to connect with her this summer for an update on what she’ll be up to now that she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science!

How were you first introduced to Code/Art? 

I started with Code/Art my junior year of high school when I was 16. I remember taking part in Code/Art workshops as a student and eventually working my way to lead workshops for other students. Prior to Code/Art, I didn’t have much coding experience so the projects I coded were my first experience with computer science.

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

While attending the workshops, I realized that I was a little older than the rest of the girls. I felt that this helped me grow more patient because at first I felt frustrated taking long to debug my code while others were getting it faster.  I remember thinking “This is my first time coding and I’m with younger girls and they’re understanding it faster than me.” But over time, I understood that this skill takes time and patience to learn. Everyone is a beginner at some point. It takes patience to trust the process and your skills.

Any notable Code/Art achievements you would like to mention or have a fond memory of?  

My favorite project is the first one I ever coded. I wanted to do a remix of the self-portrait lesson and code a character. I decided to code a monkey and then animated it. I was so impressed that I was able to do it all on my own. I was even more excited that I could understand the code that I wrote!

taylor rivera project

What university did you attend? Where are you working now? 

I attended Florida International University [FIU]. Looking back, it’s pretty funny because I started at FIU undecided about my major even after my involvement with Code/Art. Prior to graduating from high school, I’d only been in a Code/Art Club for a year and was still unsure if I wanted to pursue computer science. Then on my orientation day, I had the epiphany that I did want to pursue computer science because I was already familiar with it. Now, I’m proud to say that I graduated in the Spring of 2022 with my BS in Computer Science! After graduation, I was lucky enough to get my first “big girl” tech job as an Associate Product Manager at Oracle.

How do you think Code/Art impacted your decision to study computer science?

Code/Art was one of my first experiences with coding and when it came to choosing my major, I wanted to choose something that I already had experience with rather than something that I’d never done before. Code/Art gave me the opportunity to learn to code and not be afraid of failing. I felt empowered to continue pursuing my degree in college because the skills I had learned with Code/Art had already prepared me. After my high school graduation, I was thankful to have a supportive group of friends from Code/Art that I could reach out to when I had any questions or doubts. Having that support system from Code/Art removed the fear of loneliness that one might experience when choosing to study a male-dominated career.

taylor caf

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? 

I definitely would! In my traditional classes at school, I didn’t see any fun in coding, but Code/Art Clubs made it fun and enjoyable for girls to be creative and innovative. The projects didn’t feel like something you have to do like homework. They were fun and artistic!  So, yes, I would recommend girls to try it out and see for themselves that coding can be fun and it’s not just something for boys!

Thank you for sharing your story with us!

~end of interview~