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Jordyn Pinochi is an instructor at Juni Learning. She is currently pursuing her B.A. in Cognitive Science with a minor in Computer Science at UC Berkeley.
When did you know you wanted to work in Computer Science?
I didn’t know until my freshman year of college. I went to a very small high school and had never taken a programming class until I got to Berkeley. I actually didn’t even realize Berkeley’s reputation as a computer science university until I was taking CS 10! It was such a supportive community, and because of that, I realized that I wanted to facilitate a positive experience for others to learn programming as well.
What do you think is most unique about Juni?
Juni offers such an incredible experience for kids. Ruby and Vivian are amazing and they recruit from such reputable universities. I think it’s an assured way of exposing students to a relevant, timely skill in a safe, friendly environment. Parents like that it’s a kid-friendly way to learn programming, while you’re building games and other fun projects.
Why do you spend your time teaching with Juni?
I really love working with kids. For many of my students, this is their first exposure to computer science, and I want them to walk away with a really positive experience, feeling like they were well-supported and are excited about the material. It’s really fun to teach; teaching solidifies my knowledge in these concepts as well.
What are some of your teaching principles or strategies?
For me, the number one thing is encouraging my students to experiment. The biggest issue I had when I was starting to learn programming was overcoming my desire for perfection. My program had to work on the first try, or else I felt like it reflected on my skills as a programmer. I learned over the time that programs almost never work on the first try. :) So, if my students ask me “Will this work?” I encourage them to just run the code and see what happens.
So much of programming is about finding bugs, figuring out how to fix them, and making our code more efficient. It’s important to me that my students get that experience early, instead of hearing me say, “That’s not going to work” or “You have to change this.” I try to reason through the problem with them. I’ll ask them, “How do you think we can fix that?” or “What does this part of the code mean?” I embrace a bump in the road.
How has teaching with Juni impacted you?
I really value Juni. I love that I don’t have to travel to anywhere to do it. I can hold classes in between classes when I’m on campus. This flexibility has been invaluable, in combining my passion working with kids and my interest in computer science.
What do you do outside of teaching with Juni?
I love being outside. Growing up in a small town near Tahoe, there’s mostly outdoorsy things to do. It’s hard to go to the mall or to the movies! I love hiking. My family owns a lot of horses, so I love horseback riding. In general, I really love traveling and meeting people. Berkeley is such a diverse city, and it’s great to experience so many different cultures in one central location. I’m so fortunate to be here.