For a second semester, Maddy Butzbach is mentoring our ideaSpark team at the UT Dallas Arts & Technology building.
A recent Cornell grad, Maddy is originally from California and is currently a Technical Account Manager at Microsoft.
How did you become interested in tech and programming?
My first exposure to programming was through a required class for all engineering students my freshman year at Cornell. I decided on my college major after discovering how much I enjoyed it and have been passionate about technology ever since.
What did you study in college?
I got my Bachelors in Information Science, Systems, and Technology, and my Masters in Technology Management.
What are you working on now?
I'm a Technical Account Manager at Microsoft.
What have you gained from being a mentor?
Mentoring has allowed me to improve my teaching skills and has given me great experience working with kids. I have also gained great respect for the students and am constantly impressed by how quickly they pick things up and how creative they are.
What was your most memorable moment while mentoring?
Every day mentoring has brought countless fun and hilarious moments, but the most memorable was when I was most proud of the kids. Usually it's difficult to keep them focused through the entire session, but when we started their first web development project, they became entirely engrossed in working on it, to the point where they asked for more working time and less time for breaks and games. They came up with so many ideas outside the "curriculum" and would work on their projects at home, talk to their parents about their work, and come back excited to teach others what they had learned on their own. I was so inspired by their excitement, and I can tell that all of them are going to go on to do incredible things.
Is there anything that you wish you could tell your younger self about coding?
I think everyone wishes that they had started coding earlier! I would have loved to have been involved in a program like Bold Idea at a young age.
Is there anything about our mission that really connects with you?
I find the mission statement very powerful. Empowering others to execute bold ideas is admirable in itself, and something that I hope to do throughout my own career. The fact that Bold Idea is centered around kids and fostering a passion around technology so early makes me inspired for the future and excited to see what today's young kids grow up to accomplish.