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Williams Receives Full Scholarship to Attend UM Computer Science Camp

 

Andi Bourne, Pathfinder

Seeley-Swan High School sophomore Nicole Williams will be attending the University of Montana Web Programming Camp on a full scholarship.

SEELEY LAKE – After starting to work with website development only a few months ago, Seeley-Swan High School sophomore Nicole Williams received a full scholarship to attend the University of Montana (UM) Web Programming Camp this summer. While Williams is not convinced computer science is the career path she will ultimately choose, she is looking forward to learning more and gaining an edge for employment in the future.

Williams has known family friend Nora McDougall-Collins for many years. It wasn't until a girls Christmas cookie baking session at Moonlight Kitchens in Missoula that McDougall-Collins approached Williams to work with her. McDougall-Collins is a computer instructor and consultant with her business The Computer Gal.

"Nicole and her grandmother Susie had specific plans for the four-hour baking session. Paying attention to details and plain old persistence is what makes a good developer. Nicole showed that she has that," wrote McDougall-Collins in an email.

Williams started training with McDougall-Collins a few months ago. Williams has learned about website file structure and how to get to the database through learning how to backup and upgrade WordPress websites. She has been doing plug-in updates, inputting products on site and is starting to learn html coding.

"There are many WordPress developers who don't go as far into the file structure as 16-year-old Nicole," said McDougall-Collins.

On another project, Williams learned how important image file names are to the search engine optimization of a website. Along with the technical work, McDougall-Collins said Williams is also gaining an understanding of marketing and business operations.

"I end up learning a lot every day," said Williams. "It's great if you want a career in technology but if you don't want a career in technology it's still really helpful to know."

When McDougall-Collins sent over the information for the University of Montana Computer Science Camps and the scholarship application, Williams applied for the Web Programming Camp July 6-9.

"I decided to do it on a whim," said Williams. "I thought it might be a good opportunity to learn some more."

Lecturer for UM's Computer Science Department Trish Duce is the camp director this year. While UM has offered a computer science camp for several years, it fills up quickly. They decided to add a couple more camps to give students more opportunities to see what computer science is all about.

"We chose Nicole for the scholarship because she is interested and curious and a great student," wrote Duce in an email. "We think Nicole will be a lot of fun to work with because she seems enthusiastic about computer science. Nicole already has some experience in web design and knows how having a good website can be the key to the success of a business. We want to show Nicole more tools and help develop her skills in web design."

Williams is looking forward to meeting other high school students that are into web design and programming. On her own, Williams has only taken some free online classes.

"We really want to make sure students know the opportunities in computer science right now," wrote Duce. "It is traditionally considered a male dominated discipline. Part of the intent of this program is to correct that misconception. It is a great field to study for both males and females!"

"No matter what I decide for a career, any knowledge in technology whether applying for internship or a regular job, it will give me an edge," said Nicole.

Williams received one of the 20 available scholarships for high school students. There are still scholarships available for the Data Science and Web Programming camps. To apply visit http://hs.umt.edu/cs/summer-offerings/application.php For more information about the camps visit http://hs.umt.edu/cs/summer-offerings/programming-camp.php

 

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