Trae’s Thesis Coding App for Minority Students

My name is Trae Waggoner (she/her) and I am entering into my second year as a graduate student at Arizona State University. I am studying Computer Science with a concentration in Arts, Media, and Engineering. I am a National Science Foundation scholar, Impact Award 2018 recipient, and I have received many scholarships throughout my time in school. I've worked as a graduate teaching assistant and I also teach coding to kids at a small tech startup. I love volunteering in my community, especially through programs like Girls Who Code. 

My degree requires a thesis and my interest is in education technology. My focus is on adding diversity (aka more POC and womxn and non-binary people) to the computing field. Womxn, non-binary people, and POC are highly underrepresented in both university computing programs and the tech field. My goal is to help change this by creating an artistic coding app that teaches the fundamentals of coding to kids in a fun and game-based way. I want to reach the underfunded youth at a time where they are the most vulnerable to steer away from STEAM disciplines.

I am creating the app myself from the ground up and I was going to seek funding before the pandemic hit but everything was unfortunately delayed. I want to use the funding to hire artists of color to help design and create the art and animations for the app. I would also love to hire other female coders of color and teachers to help perfect the curriculum. I would also like to hire POC to narrate the storylines in the game. 

I am reaching out to my community for funding to get this project off the ground. This is a project that has really never been done before and in a time where it is a necessity to support and uplift POC and the LGBTQ+ community. The app will be tested with children at Title 1 schools in Tempe and Phoenix. My goal is to defend my thesis next year and to graduate with my MS in 2021. Any donation would go a long way to help me reach my goals. And by donating you will be supporting minority entrepreneurs, artists, teachers, and programmers. If you would like to help in another way (not just monetary) or know someone that would be a good fit in the roles I described earlier (artist, programmer, actor, teacher, etc.) please reach out to me via LinkedIn! Thank you for your consideration and support!
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Trae Waggoner
Tempe, AZ

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