Coding for Change
In the fall, high school computer science and math teacher Jessica Lamm traveled to Doha, Qatar, to present at the Model United Nations Leadership Conference. She spoke about empowering technology users to become innovators and about the student-created app, TRuCE, which was developed by Clare Grammig A’21 in last year’s AP Computer Science class. TRuCE was created to offer youth a safe place for difficult conversation on topics such as politics, religion and racial tension. Its purpose is to facilitate communication through empathy. Lamm’s session centered on using app development to serve a greater good for society.
Lamm is quick to point out that she attended the conference on behalf of her students, who push her and encourage her to learn. She says computer science is the avenue in which her students feel they can inspire change on a larger scale. “The education students gain is something we want to expand outside of the Academy and for the mission of the Sisters. What happens next is up to the students and the aspirations they have. At this point, they are teaching me more than I could ever teach them,” Lamm said.
Although Grammig and her classmates were not able to attend the conference, they did join the TRuCE session via Skype. The video chat proved advantageous for the students on both sides of the globe. The students exchanged emails so they can try to code together. Lamm says this will broaden the lens and perspective of Academy students.
Lamm also gives the girls credit for waking up early on a day they didn’t have school to Skype in and meet peers from around the world. It is that motivation, she says, that is propelling the computer science program forward in ways that she could only imagine. She notes the girls have turned to larger-scale thinking — global even — and are seeking ways to raise awareness for those in need. “They’ve developed their confidence through doing [this work] … Computer science is the avenue to making that happen in a technology-based world. It’s a huge thing in a maledominated field that they are confidently doing all these things. There is no fear in the things they are willing to try.”
“The Academy’s environment enables students to explore socially responsible, large-scale applications,” Lamm says. Using the core values of the Sisters, which seamlessly align with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, Academy students have the power to change the world at their fingertips.
AP Computer Science students Zoe Wolff A’21, Ellie Rinker A’21, Clare Grammig A’21, Caitlin Otte A’21 and Sophia Hasara A’21 attend the TRuCE session in Qatar via Skype.