Sila Tamang, A STLR Student in Computer Science
[Repost from https://blogs.uco.edu/cms/2020/03/23/sila-tamang-undergraduate-researcher-in-computer-science, March 23, 2020, with permission]
I came from a background where for computer class, I played Mario games and improved my typing speed. For a person who entered Computer Science thinking HTML was a programming language, I found it difficult in the beginning. Yet, pushing through that class and proceeding onward to the Programming I class acquainted me with Dr. Grace Park. I got into my research with her knowing nothing about how to research and with few programming skills.
The project also diverged a lot. We started from professional development for teachers to reaching out to high school students. The purpose of the Code Okie workshop is to reach out to high school students in Oklahoma, especially minorities, females and students from rural areas and low-income families, to help them have exposure to CS and raise their interest in CS. I, along with five other undergraduate students in the Department of Computer Science (CS), have been actively involved in high school outreach with the Code Okie Workshop since 2016 and have taught more than 150 high school students conducting more than 20 workshops and reaching out to more than 20 different high schools in Oklahoma.
Through my involvement in the project, I did a co-op program with Google and experienced immense growth in my leadership as well as programming skills. I have been selected as a STLR and RCSA grant recipient, Leaders of the Tomorrow Award recipient, NCWIT- Change leader scholar and had the privilege to attend the NCWIT Summit and Aspiring Technologists and also got to attend the GHC conference in Florida.
Being part of the project, not only financially supported my ride through the university but also boosted my job search after graduation. I am grateful to Dr. Park, Computer Science Department, and the STLR program for guidance, support, and funding.