Jimmy Dang is a current second year at the University of California, San Diego, and former AppJam+ student. While he spends his time now studying Advanced Data Structures and Object Oriented Programming, he cites AppJam+ as being his first introduction to Computer Science. He shared with us his experience of engaging in AppJam+’s first run, during its humble beginnings six years ago.
“When I participated in AppJam+, it was only available to two schools and was offered at the Tiger Woods Learning Center. At the time, I was an 8th grader attending Oxford Academy and could barely understand what computer science was. Despite this, my mentors helped me out with my ambitions to the fullest extent.”
The AppJam+ program offers the guidance of college mentors to middle school students with the goal of creating a mobile application. With the support of someone who is experienced in the field of Computer Science, many middle school students who enroll in the AppJam+ program are able to see the visions for their app become a reality.
“I wanted to build a platformer game that was essentially a clone of Super Mario Bros with a twist that involved basic arithmetic. In order to progress through every room, you were presented a math problem. The game was geared towards elementary students….My mentors were encouraging and helped me through the various pits I encountered and because of this, it made the whole experience well worth it.”
After his coding experiences in AppJam+, Jimmy is now aiming to complete his B.S. in Computer Science.
“AppJam+ has shaped my educational career by providing me an introduction to computer science in a fun and interactive way. It established the groundwork for my future in computer science. It also taught me how to work in a team with people I have never worked with.”
While Jimmy cites that he learned many new skills during his time in AppJam+ he shared with us his biggest takeaway from his time in the program. “The most important lesson that AppJam+ taught me, however, is to enjoy what you’re doing and have fun with it. It was a program that allowed me to express my creative side and have fun with my peers while learning something new. To this day, I keep [this experience] close to me as coding becomes my life because it will determine how my future will play out. Programming is the first thing I do in my spare time and I’m grateful for AppJam+ for teaching me this valuable life lesson.”