Mentor Monday: Meet Jane

What can we say about Jane Santa Cruz that will truly convey how much she's made an impact on Bold Idea? 

Though not a coder herself, Jane has contributed invaluable experience from her time with youth development programs. Much of our program content that focuses on building students' collaboration skills has come from Jane, including teambuilding activities. Her insight in the Question Formulation Technique has strengthened their critical thinking skill development and inspired their creative project planning. 

Whether it's mentoring at our Bottle Rocket site, training mentors or contributing to program design, we are truly grateful to have Jane on the Bold Idea team. Meet Jane...

How did you become interested in tech or programming?
I served with an AmeriCorps program called City Year as a full-time tutor and mentor with middle school students.  Our students needed extra support in reading and math but they likewise needed more opportunities to expand their knowledge base, including understanding more about technology.  

Because technology is such a fundamental part of our personal and professional lives now, our students should not only feel comfortable using it but likewise have a familiarly of how code is written, how apps are developed, and how to navigate different types of technology.  In this way, providing learning opportunities around coding and computer science are meaningful ways to close the achievement gap and ensure that students are building useful skills, learning how to collaborate effectively with others, and becoming more confident in themselves.

What did you study in college?
I majored in History and Spanish at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas.

What have you gained from being a mentor? What was your most memorable moment while mentoring?
It’s always fun to see students grow over the course of a semester and become more confident in themselves and their coding skills.  It’s important for students to expand their problem-solving abilities while staying motivated and driven to address new challenges.  I appreciate how resilient our kids are and that they’re willing to explore, try things out, and even fail sometimes (which is good!).

Is there anything that you wish you could tell your younger self about coding?
Don’t be afraid to try new things!  Coding can be intimidating- you must learn a new language, new skills, and be willing to fail along the way.  It’s always ok ask questions and get help when you need it.  I still have a lot to learn about coding and app development but it’s been a fun process so far and I’m excited to continue learning. 

Is there anything about our mission that really connects with you?
I think that the teamwork aspect of Bold Idea’s mission resonates most closely with me.  I grew up playing lots of team sports in high school but teamwork extends far beyond just sports. Understanding how to work well with others, building positive relationships, learning how to ask for help, and appreciating the diversity of the people you’re working with are all crucial skills for living a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.