Mentor Monday: Meet Brian

Brian Nguyen is a senior at Plano East Senior High School and is already making plans to study computer science and statistics in college. 

Each week Brian mentors ideaSpark students meeting at the Frisco Athletic Center, and we're lucky to have him on the team.

Meet Brian...

How did you become interested in tech and programming?
I became interested in technology and programming when my father bought me a computer for my birthday. Through tinkering with my computer and sometimes breaking my computer, I became interested in the information technology space and have continued to follow innovations in computer hardware. My first programming experience was during my sophomore year when my Scientific Research and Design teacher wanted us to complete a Javascript sequence on Khan Academy for more classroom funds. I was amazed in how simple line of code in an online code editor can animate a picture or create games with complex interactions. 

What are you working on now?
Currently, I am a researcher at the University of Texas at Dallas under the mentorship of Dr. Richard Golden. I am currently working on a system to reduce breast cancer misdiagnosis rates through machine learning algorithms. Hopefully, in the summer, I can publish my findings in a scientific journal. 

What have you gained from being a mentor? What was your most memorable moment while mentoring?
As a mentor, I was able to learn new programming languages such as HTML and CSS alongside the children. Mentoring taught me to appreciate my computer science teachers, as teaching computer science concepts to young children is difficult, and I have never realized the difficulty before joining Bold Idea. My most memorable moment was when the children, during break time, played with their food with each other. As the children were playing with their food, I was reminded of my myself when I was young, and it taught me to embrace my inner child.

Is there anything that you wish you could tell your younger self about coding?
I should’ve learned coding when I was younger. I had thought that coding was only for really smart people. There are plenty of communities and organizations dedicated to teaching children coding. If I was able to change my past, I would participate in programs like Bold Idea.  

Is there anything about our mission that really connects with you?
The universal aspect of the mission resonates with me because I believe that everyone should take a computer science course. Furthermore, the collaborative aspect of the mission appeals to me because my best and most fun work was with other people. Collaboration is a mainstay of human innovation, and we should foster a collaborative environment to improve our world.