Jennica Drewe has served as a Bold Idea mentor since we started testing ideaSpark last year. She's also been a driving force on our Program Design Team and recently a mentor trainer. We're excited that she'll be mentoring ideaSpark students in 3rd – 5th grade at UT Dallas again this semester.
How did you become interested in tech or programming?
I have always been interested in tech because my big brother is a gamer and always had a computer or console to play video games on. There is a 6 year age gap between us but video games were always something we could bond over. I became interested in programming when I became a technical writer at Texas Instruments. Programming basics are a big part of what I do on a day-to-day basis and learning some other languages has really helped me.
What did you study in college?
In college, I studied journalism with a concentration in public relations. I also studied Spanish and political science.
What are you working on now?
I am currently working at Texas Instruments as a technical writer, and I am the project lead for our team's staffing company, Brightwing.
I work on a lot of different projects. Everyday I work on the technical documents for about 7 different groups at TI. That includes editing, formatting and creating some graphics. I also work on our standards document, help test new software applications, and help train new team members.
What have you gained from being a mentor? What was your most memorable moment while mentoring?
I have enjoyed getting to see students grow during the semester. We really challenged our students at UTD to work with new people and it was amazing to see how surprised they were when they enjoyed working with someone new. My most memorable mentoring moment was watching my students present their projects in front of everyone at Demo Day and to see how far they got with their projects.
Is there anything that you wish you could tell your younger self about coding?
Think of coding like a puzzle, and it will be a lot more fun when you have to debug!
Is there anything about our mission that really connects with you?
I love that Bold Idea seeks to empower students through code. By being an ideaSpark mentor, we get to teach students so much more than code. It is quite an experience to see a shy student present their project in front of a huge group of people they haven't met before. That is pretty empowering.