Sometimes I’m just oblivious…
I have to admit that I often go through life completely oblivious of the impressions and impact that I make on other people. As I am pursuing a greater education, I am realizing that I am developing a following of younger females in my family.
It all began with my niece getting into graphic art. Now this may fall into both the art and technology arena, but more than her artistic abilities, I recognized her ability to grasp concepts really quickly. She has been teaching herself how to use Photoshop, Flash and Illustrator — she began this at 12. My sister, in full support of her, purchased her a Wacom pen tablet for her 13th birthday which occurred a few weeks ago. Although I support her goal of wanting to be a cartoonist, I really see her passions developing into areas such as animation or even game development. She currently loves to make cartoons and small animations of the characters she develops.
She is in the process of applying for a high school that specializes in Game Development and Interactive Media.
Our relationship has grown and developed through random FaceTime conversations where I’ve walked her through a concept that she needed a little more clarification if she couldn’t find the answer online. I am flattered that she looks to me for help in these areas and through this connection we find ourselves enthralled in our own geeky conversations only to look around and find other family members staring dumbfounded.
But wait! There’s more!
Recently, my goddaughter/great niece confidently informed me that she wants to be a programmer like I am. Her mom sent me a text saying that my goddaughter has been talking about our programming conversation ever since that day and that she told her that she wants to be a computer nerd just like me. She has always had an inquisitive mind and her mom informed me that she has the tendency of doing extensive research into things that interest her – such as a full research paper on owls – she’s 10. She’s recently switched her razor focus from owls to programming. I recognize the spark in her eyes when she speaks about programming. I remember having the same experience at the age of 12 when I coded my first web site by hand – html tag by html tag. Somehow this deep passion went unnoticed and it has taken 10 years for me to get back to that place where I started. Hopefully, if it’s what she really wants, my goddaughter, instead, will spend the next 10 years developing her talent and deepening her passion for programming.
Engagement begins with an invitation
I never once considered that the young women in my family would be interested in programming. I feel a new responsibility to help them explore the possibility – at the very least. As fickle as a child can be, I think that it’s important for me to help explore Computer Science as an option. There are programs that exist today that help with getting young women interested in STEM fields. I feel like I can now bridge the gap between their initial interest and tangible resources and programs that will further spark that interest.