Julia Grace is an instructor at Juni Learning. She is currently pursuing her B.S. in Computer Science at Stanford University and is also a member of the Stanford Equestrian team.
When did you know you wanted to study Computer Science?
I came into college wanting to study biology. At Stanford, there’s an introductory Computer Science course, CS106A, that everybody raves about. All of my friends were taking, so I decided to try it. At first, honestly, I struggled a lot. But I loved it, and I was hooked. I kept taking classes, kept practicing, and kept improving, and I found it really rewarding. I ended up liking it a lot more than my biology classes, so I went ahead with Computer Science.
What do you think is most unique about Juni?
The Juni curriculum is very unique. It’s designed in a very careful way to teach kids at their own pace. It allows kids to excel and progress quickly, but also has enough support and extra steps for kids who might take a couple more projects to really get it. It’s a really thorough and fun curriculum.
Why do you think teaching online is beneficial?
I think it’s an equalizer. Kids who live all over the country have this opportunity to take classes from Juni. I’m from Massachusetts, and I didn’t have a lot of exposure to programming before I moved to California. Being where I am for college, it’s easy to forget that Silicon Valley is definitely not representative of the whole country.
What are some of your teaching principles or strategies?
I really focus on making it fun. I believe that even if we’re going through the material a bit slower, as long as the student associates programming with having fun, that’s the most important thing. I also try to let the kids see and fix their own mistakes so they can understand how to approach problem solving. I think that’s very important, rather than just pointing out the bugs in their code for them.
Any advice for students or parents who are interested in Juni?
Try it! I think it’s really worth it. It works for all types of kids. I think it’s great for kids to have more one-on-one attention, especially if attend schools with large classes. It’s very valuable to learn from people who aren’t your parents or your teachers in school. I wish this had been around when I was younger, and I could have gotten a head start on coding. I think that as soon as you internalize the basic fundamentals of coding, which kids can definitely do, they stick with you. It becomes like a second language.
What do you do outside of teaching with Juni?
I’m on the Stanford Equestrian Team, specifically in the Hunt Seat division. We compete against other university teams all around Northern California. I love being around horses, and riding between classes has been the perfect way to forget about the stress of midterms, assignments, and the craziness of school!