Spotlight: Juniors found summer program Code Tiers


Chayti Biswas

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Noticing that it can be difficult to navigate through the vast field of computer science, juniors Daffny Cardoso, Jialin Chen, and Melinda Wang started an organization named Code Tiers in March of 2021, amidst the pandemic. 

Code Tiers is a youth organization with the goal of bridging the gap between students and computer science. The organization has welcomed students from many countries and given them the opportunity to learn about the coding world. “Code Tier originated in the founders’ shared goal to teach Computer Science to students in New York City. Because we didn’t experience the same access to resources, we wanted to create that [access] for other students,” said Melinda.  

The organization runs through the summer in the form of live weekly interactive workshops via Zoom. In these student-led workshops, slideshows are presented to introduce different programming languages, fields of engineering, and careers within this path. When discussing the student-led workshops, Daffny said, “students who take their time to volunteer for activities are very passionate about things like coding.” 

Jialin said, “We first started out learning how to code by joining different clubs and activities both in and out of school — when we realized that we liked doing this and wanted to create an organization.” 

In order for Code Tiers to take flight, a lot of planning was involved. The founders had to set up accounts on various platforms, create lesson plans, gather volunteers, and connect with middle and high schools. “The startup process was very long and the most difficult part, but once you get the organization started with people who are willing to work with you – then everything becomes much easier,” said Jialin. 

It was even more of a difficult process considering that they began during the pandemic and were beginners to this kind of organizing. “We were never exposed to teaching, especially teaching younger students and we weren’t sure how it would run through Zoom,” Daffny said. 

Many Harrisites have participated in Code Tiers as both participants and mentors. Sophomore Borenno Shafi expresses the impact of the lessons, saying, “I enjoyed the Replit activities the most. It was a more hands-on experience that let me actually apply what was told to me.” 

A mentor, junior Alex Lin said, “ [Codie Tiers] was really fun and it was a great experience of leadership.”

During the summer of 2022, Code Tiers collaborated with the Steel Hawks at THHS to introduce students to opportunities within robotics. “The thing I enjoyed the most about Code Tiers was when they invited the Steel Hawks robotics team to share their experiences. As someone on the team myself, I enjoyed describing my experiences and the different components of the team,” said senior Leo Zhang, a Code Tier mentor. 

Now, the organization has navigated their way through two successful summers and garnered over 150 members across the globe. “When we first started … we had at most 60 kids in one workshop and that was very shocking, and we were very happy to see that. It made us feel like we were creating impact and teaching different kids who are interested in coding, this was the biggest accomplishment that continues to motivate us today,” said Jialin. 

“Hopefully we are able to carry out another year of Code Tiers this summer and the following years … continuing what we are doing will be great for the next generation of middle school and high school students,” said Melinda.