These 14 Baltimore high schoolers are ready to intern with local tech companies - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Aug. 18, 2015 8:04 am

These 14 Baltimore high schoolers are ready to intern with local tech companies

The students participated in Code in the Schools' Prodigy program this summer.

Lia White shows off her website.

(Photo by Stephen Babcock)

Lia White wants internships in law and criminology. Nicholas Wilkins is all about problem solving. Melia Greebe wants to show off some of her favorite things.

While these may seem like divergent goals, all three found a home inside a Betamore classroom this summer.

The three Baltimore City public high school students learned how to build websites that highlight what makes them unique this summer. And they’re slated to keep getting experience once the school year starts.

White, Wilkins and Greebe were three of the 14 students who participated in Code in the Schools’ Prodigy program. Over the summer, the students gathered five days a week at Betamore to learn HTML, JavaScript and CSS. They made a series of websites, including a portfolio site that they were wrapping up when we visited last week. Betamore Education Director Michele Farquharson also lined up a few speakers to give the students an idea of what technology careers were like. And, the students got paid.

The program is part of Code in the Schools’ ramped-up summer programming, which also included leading STEAM Camp at the Baltimore Robotics Center.

This program, however, will continue once school starts in the fall. The rising seniors wrapped up the classroom portion last week. Soon, they’ll meet with a career counselor, said Code in the Schools program director Janelle Steffen. The students will be paired with local tech companies for internships where they can get more experience. Code in the Schools’ new Centre Theatre floor-mates, SparkyPants, are one of the companies, and the nonprofit is still working to sign up others.

“We’re going to try to match it up really well with what the organization needs in an intern, and what they’re also interested in pursuing in a longer term career,” Steffen said.

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Prodigy program students work on their websites. (Photo by Stephen Babcock)

Lia White, who attends Western High School, isn’t taking technology classes this year in school, but the internship will let her get more skills. Though her portfolio website advertised her interest in the law, White said the code behind websites is also something she’s been curious about.

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“I’m always interested in how things work,” she said. “When I look at website, I think, ‘How do they do that?'”

For Nicholas Wilkins, the program is providing additional professional opportunity along with new skills. The internship will give him experience alongside a computer science class he is taking next year at Digital Harbor High School. He’s learned JavaScript over the summer, and will get to continue learning in school.

“I think I have a really technical mind for solving problems, and most of coding is problem solving,” he said.

Five of the students entered the program as part of the city’s YouthWorks, which provided summer jobs to kids. (The Digital Harbor Foundation’s WebSlam program was also part of YouthWorks this year.)

Melia Greebe learned the basics of HTML during one semester at Baltimore City College. By the end of Prodigy, she had a website highlighting places she wants to go and her favorite teams. It has overlays and pop-up alerts.

“When you really get into it,” she said of coding, “it becomes really fun and interesting to see what you can do.”

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