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Cerritos College Board Trustee and Students Inspire STEM Learning During School Coding Camps

Staff Report

Cerritos College Board Trustee President, Dr. Shin Liu, and five of her College students guided 150 students and parents on how to code computers using Code.org this past January 22nd.

The STEM coding family night was organized by Esther Lindstorm Elementary PTA vice president, Marisa Perez, who is also a board trustee at Cerritos College.

The 150 students and parents attended the family code night to learn abstract programming concepts through a popular movie – Star Wars. Students used drag drop blocks to program BB-8 and R2-D2 to move on the screen and pick up scrap metal.  Many students watched the movie Star Wars and were exciting to learn programming with BB-8 and R2-D2. Students learned that coding is a fun way to practice problem solving and critical thinking skills.

The Star Wars Code Camp is part of an ongoing outreach effort led by Dr. Shin Liu, who is also a Computer Science professor at Rio Hondo.    The purpose of the outreach program is to introduce students to Computer Science activities, careers and school pathways.

In the family code night, Liu’s college students worked with groups of two and three elementary school students, using code.org to help them program BB-8 to move based on the movie “Star Wars.” The game-based approach and familiar movie setting help encourage students to tackle what might otherwise appear to be tough tasks. Professor Liu would like to encourage students in our community to envision the possibilities for their career – a process best started well before they begin their higher-education journeys.     Both students and parents had a great time.

“Professor Liu and her team are helping to communicate the joy of creation through their coding camps while teaching students critical skills,” said Bonnie Carter, principal of Esther Lindstorm School.  “It’s a great example of the support Cerritos College provides throughout the community.”

Liu has held code camps at schools in Montebello, Artesia, Cerritos, and Whittier showcasing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects that are increasingly critical to preparation for college and careers.