Alexis Preston

Alexis Preston

Alexis Preston

Alexis Preston, 22, studied Computer Science at Tulane University and is now living and working in Los Angeles. She was hired at Accenture nearly a year before she graduated and is currently working on her first client project.

Her first introduction to coding was as a middle-schooler through STEAM:CODERS. She started out learning the fundamentals of Python. She was taught loops, building programs, and other visuals that made it engaging for young people. In fact, it was so engaging, that even after spending years away from coding, Preston was able to pick it right back up after she switched her major from Chemistry to Computer Science.

“I’d actually retained a lot of the foundational information from STEAM:CODERS, and it made that first class a lot easier for me,” Preston says. “When they were going over basics, I was flying through the homework. I wouldn’t have thought the stuff I learned in STEAM:CODERS way back when would have stuck, but it really did.”

“Having a supportive staff there to help you learn and encourage you was so helpful,” Preston says. “I don’t think I would have done it without that support system.”

She recalls a project that she figured out pretty early and ended up finishing ahead of her classmates. Her teachers pushed her to brainstorm new ideas of things she could pursue. They gave her more tasks for her to work through.

“I figured it out, and that was so rewarding, but also being able to go around and help other students have their ‘ah-ha’ moment,” Preston says.

It was the first time in her life that, because she understood the concepts, her teachers encouraged her to help her classmates. The responsibility in a collaborative environment was empowering.

“It made me really feel like I was part of a community,” Preston says.Other than the long-term retention, Preston says the most memorable part of STEAM:CODERS was the environment — especially since coding can be “such a daunting thing.”