An interview with Chieh-An, Code2College Class of 2020 Grad Feature (#TechTalentTuesday)

Chieh-An C.  participated in the Code2College program this past year as a student at Stony Point High School. Last week, we sat down with her and asked her about her experience in Code2College. 

MS: Hey Chieh-An! It’s been so great to see how much you’ve grown in the program this year.  Was it a difficult decision for you to apply to the Code2College program?

CC: Not really. I had some coding experience already, but really wanted to gain more before going to college and making a commitment to pursue it as a major.

MS: So how was your experience in the program? 

CC: It was pretty interesting because we went so far past HTML and anything I was learning in any of my computer science classes in high school. Now I’ve started to learn so many other programming languages.

MS: I know that you were involved in our Software Engineering Leadership Program (SELP) at Stony Point HS and learned languages like Python and Javascript. Can you share what else you have learned outside of those technical skills? 

CC: One thing I wasn’t expecting to learn was the interview prep. All of the interview preparation that we have done in Code2College has been really helpful, especially considering that I have never had any working experience in the past. I feel a lot better about being able to walk in and handle an interview now, which is something I definitely couldn’t have done before.  In fact, thanks to Code2College, I was able to earn a summer internship offer.

MS: Well, I can tell that you’re confidence has grown a lot this year, so that’s great to hear!

CC: Yeah, I think that one of the two things that really made this program special for me. 

MS: What would be the other thing?

CC: All of the people. I think my absolute favorite part of the program was getting to work in my team to develop a project and then present at Demo Day. We were all basically strangers when the project started. But learning to partner code, and overcoming all of the design challenges really brought us closer together as friends. 

MS: Excellent! We always like to see our students forming new connections through this program, and I’m glad that was part of your experience as well!

CC: Yeah it made coming to class every day really fun! 

MS: I’m curious to know what you’ve learned about yourself from participating in Code2College.

CC: My biggest takeaway from Code2College is confidence. Public speaking is something I have always struggled with. Besides English not being my first language, I just get really nervous. In Code2College, we would have the workshops that helped a lot with this, because it kind of forced you to get out of your comfort zone. I think the biggest learning lesson on public speaking for me though was on Demo Day.

MS: What happened at Demo Day?

CC: Our group had a couple technical issues the day before the projects were due, and we were starting to panic. The website didn’t look anything like it was supposed to, and we were really nervous about having to present it in front of and audience, and especially judges. After talking to the Code2College volunteer instructors and staff though, we all felt a lot better. They reminded us about why we chose to do our projects, and to highlight the technical work we did do, and the vision we had for the completed project. I would say my proudest moment in the program was the way my team answered questions in front of the judges that day. Now, I am less afraid of public speaking.

MS: Well I can say without doubt, that it was one of our proudest moments too. And I love how modest you are – your team won 2nd place and a college scholarship! Congrats again on that. With all that you’ve learned, do you have any advice for future students or those considering applying to Code2College? 

CC: It can be difficult and challenging at times, but give yourself some time, and you will get it eventually. It’s definitely worth it!