EDINBURG, RGV – Youth in the Rio Grande Valley are poised to move technology in the region forward through their work as future coders.

Hundreds of elementary and middle school students will showcase their computer coding skills during Club Code Summit 2016 on April 16.

Jayshree Bhat
Jayshree Bhat

The summit is hosted by The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, and will be held on the UTRGV Edinburg Campus in the Health and Physical Education Building II from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The event is the culmination of several months of learning how to create computer programs through a UTRGV Continuing Education initiative called Club Code UTRGV.

“We are very excited about showcasing the work of these young minds and to build on the enthusiasm that Club Code teachers and students have shared through the implementation phase,” said Jayshree Bhat, director of Continuing Education for UTRGV.

“This gives us hope that the Rio Grande Valley, which has a young population, will be poised to move with technology with the help of these future coders.”

Last fall, 60 elementary and middle school teachers from four area school districts — Edinburg, McAllen, Weslaco and Pharr-San Juan-Alamo – received training from instructors at UTRGV Continuing Education on how to code and establish coding clubs at their respective campuses. Those teachers then created after-school programs where more than 800 students learned to write computer programs to create apps, using free available programming languages like MIT Scratch.

Club Code Summit 2016 is open to students who have been involved in the Club Code programs at participating schools, as well as to the teachers who manage the clubs, school administrators and parents. At the event, students will present their work and compete for prizes.

The summit will include presentations by young technology pioneers from the Valley who have made national news, technology fairs and door prizes.

Bhat said sponsors of Club Code Summit 2016 include Nerdvana, which is the Major Sponsor, Mission Economic Development Corporation, and Edinburg Development Corporation, both listed Regular Sponsors, and Teach for America and Computer Repair Center, listed as Sponsors.

Alex Meade, executive director of Mission EDC, said his organization is proud to be a sponsor. Mission EDC has gained national prominence for its Code the Town and Enginuity coding initiatives.

“The Valley’s workforce has always been sought after for the work we can do with our hands, I think it’s time that we show the rest of the world that we can also work well with our minds,” Meade told the Rio Grande Guardian. “Programs such as Mission EDC’s Code the Town, UTRGV’s Club Code and their many other STEM initiatives will help create a 21st century workforce; thus, making us more competitive globally.”

More information is available online at http://www.utrgv.edu/ce/programs/special-events/club-code-utrgv/index.htm.

Click here to watch a UTRGV video about Club Code Summit 2016.