Julia Benginow is a high school student at the TAG Magnet School for the Talented and Gifted in Dallas ISD. Every Thursday, she volunteers as a Bold Idea mentor at the Wesley-Rankin Community Center. With a 5 on the AP Computer Science Principles exam under her belt, Julia can both empathize with the west Dallas students who are just learning programming concepts, while knowing where their interest can take them when they stick with it. Meet Julia...
What is something many people don't know about you?
Although I'm mostly involved in STEM, I'm a huge music nerd! I play multiple instruments, including clarinet, bassoon, and guitar, and I usually play in a jazz band. I'm currently writing the score for a school play.
How did you become interested in technology and programming?
I grew to love programming after taking my first computer science class at school. Programming is not only vital in today's world, but is also beautifully structured in logic, which is what made me fall in love with it.
What do you plan to study in college?
I hope to study Computer Science and Pure Mathematics.
What are you working on now?
I am currently working on learning CSS and Java.
What have you gained from being a mentor? What was your most memorable moment while mentoring?
I have learned to become a stronger, more confident leader. Without confidence, those who you are leading will not be inclined to learn from you. I want these kids to know that I am there to teach them and help them out, which will not be conveyed if my body language suggests the opposite. I have also learned a lot about my students and realized that some learn differently than others, and how to work with them so that they gain the most they can from their time with the Bold Idea team.
I can't choose just one memorable moment from this mentorship opportunity, because every single time I come to the community center I am impressed continually by these young minds. Their understanding of the code is tested and many of them work hard to understand.
Is there anything that you wish you could tell your younger self about coding?
This is definitely cliche, but no question is a "dumb" question! I was held back from learning coding by my own hesitations. Seize the day, waste no time in your journey of discovery.
What is it about Bold Idea's mission that really connects with you?
I love that Bold Idea offers an opportunity for younger people to discover programming with the help of people who have gone through learning it already. It offers a space for kids to ask questions about programming; they aren't isolated, they have a space where they can flourish, where confusion will not act as a barrier, but as a conduit for learning.