A consultant at Pariveda Solutions, Nicki Hames has mentored with ideaSpark since the program started. She also lends her experience by training new mentors and contributing to our program design. Nicki's enthusiasm for mentoring young coders has encouraged many of her Pariveda colleagues to also volunteer.
How did you become interested in technology and programming?
My mom and dad both had backgrounds in engineering and computer science. They worked at a large technology company so our family has already been oriented in that direction. I took AP Computer Science class my freshman year in high school and enjoyed the logical processes and problem solving. It wasn't until my sophomore and junior year in college when I was doing a lot of data analysis for Psychology research that I was involved in that I realized how much I liked that way of thinking. I haven't looked back since.
What did you study in college?
Double majored in Psychology and Women's & Gender Studies and minored in Computer Science
What are you working on now?
Currently, I am a Consultant at Pariveda Solutions. I am stationed at a large, multi-national real estate client, working on a custom web application. We are in the process of integrating this system with their accounting systems.
What have you gained from being a mentor? What was your favorite experience?
One of the most gratifying moments from mentoring the kids was seeing them realize they could actually solve the problem. There would be this lightbulb that would go off, and then you would see their confidence continue to grow throughout the semester. It's great knowing that I could play a part in that.
Is there anything you wish you could tell your younger self about coding?
More so, I wish I could tell my younger self to stick with it. I stopped exploring computer science after my freshman year of high school mainly because of my perception of the stigma of women in tech. My class was filled with all boys and taught by a male teacher. I didn't really have any examples of women succeeding in computer science.
Is there anything about Bold Idea's mission that really connects with you?
I really enjoy being a part of the process to 'empower young minds.' I think the greatest gift we can give to children is education and problem solving so that they have the tools to make their own decisions and shape their own path.