Interested in computer science?

Nicole Chen, right, assists her student on the left.

By Nicole Chen

The DTC Computer Science Camps are a student-led, non-profit organization dedicated to teaching the fundamentals of computer science to middle school students in the Denver Tech area. Despite its Denver origin, the camps have taught students from several other regions and states, including California and New York.

The camps were founded by Cherry Creek High School graduates Nicole Chen  and Sid Ijju. Nicole will be attending Harvard and Sid is a rising sophomore within the Berkeley MET program. Current Cherry Creek High Schoolers Anna Liu and Abhi Kasu will be continuing the camps this year. Abhi is a rising sophomore with coding and teaching experience from robotics competitions and collaborating with other teams. He is well versed in multiple programming languages including Java, Processing, and C#. Anna is a rising senior with experience in Java, Processing, and Python. She is  involved in computer science and biomedical research internships at the Colorado School of Mines and the Anschutz Medical Center. Both have had prior experience with the camps– last year Anna was a volunteer, and Abhi was a student–  and they are very enthusiastic to continue the program even after both founders have graduated. They aspire to uphold the camp’s tradition of inspiring the next generation of coders. 

The camps have impacted over one hundred students across the nation. Most importantly, the camps boasta 50-50 ratio of boys and girls and have been sponsored by GirlsInSTEM, ChickTech, Microsoft, and University of Denver. The camps also invite high school students to volunteer and teach, where they become mentors to the young boys and girls they are paired with. Because of how local the camps are, these mentoring relationships continue far beyond the camps. Furthermore, past students have gone on to pave the way for computer science in their communities, whether that be through founding their own programming clubs, pursuing computer science courses in high school, or even returning to the camps as volunteers. 

This year, students can sign up for one or both of the two coding sessions offered: session one focuses on Processing, and session two focuses on Java.  Processing is a flexible software sketchbook for learning how to code within the context of the visual arts. Session one is designed to be a competitive, challenging, and fun camp for students who have little to no experience in programming. Java is a higher-level programming language that is commonly used in application development. Session two is designed to be a faster-paced camp for students who have completed Processing or have had a previous coding background. 

In addition to learning how to code, students also have the opportunity to meet professionals in the computer science field through workshops and presentations. Past speakers have come from Colorado School of Mines, University of Denver, and have even included the founder of Girls In STEM.

This year, the 2021 DTC Computer Science Camps will be completely free to attend and will be hosted remotely through Zoom. Session one will be held July 26-30, 9am-12pm, and session two will be held August 2-6, 9am-12pm. For more information and registration, visit https://dtccscamp.info.