Amanda Wood

Amanda Wood

At 16, Amanda Wood is already a senior in high school. As she looks ahead to college next year, Wood wants to “combine the knowledge of different things I’ve learned over the years.” This includes biology, engineering, and coding.

She was interested in STEAM from a young age, and while still an elementary school student, her mom signed her up for STEAM:CODERS to gain some formal education and experience. And it definitely helped. When choosing classes in high school, Wood felt empowered to sign up for the engineering class because she was already familiar with the programs taught, so she wasn’t “put off by it.”

“When I get really nervous about whether or not I can perform well, I have that STEAM:CODERS knowledge behind me to give me a leg up,” Wood says. “I remember how well I’ve done or how well I’ve been taught, and it’s like, ‘Oh, I can do this. It’s fine.’ I figured out the way I need to learn it.”

Wood attributes being in that environment from a young age to her being prepared for challenging coursework.

“I really had a great community when I was in elementary school and STEAM:CODERS, and I was doing these STEM classes,” Wood says.

She recalled less supportive environments later on, specifically teachers telling her everything she was doing was wrong. It shook her confidence.

“Having a space like that at a young age will have some sort of stability, in terms of making sure [students] keep that love with them,” Wood says. “If you can tell your child has interest in STEM, and you’re Black, you should join STEAM:CODERS because that environment at a young age is going to help prepare them for the rest of the time.”