Base Camp Coding Academy is ready for a ‘new phase’

Published 10:53 am Thursday, August 19, 2021

Base Camp Coding Academy is ready to begin a new phase after celebrating their graduates at the Everest Innovation Hub on Saturday and welcoming two new hires onto the team.

Since the BCCA were unable to hold an in-person celebration for the Class of 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Class of 2021 recently completed their program on August 13 due to COVID-19 related delay.

The Class of 2020 graduated Saturday morning, and the Class of 2021 graduated after a joint lunch hosted in the large open space at the back of Everest.

“We are so proud of all the graduates and so grateful to all the families, mentors, staff, board members, and sponsors that helped make possible each student’s successful completion of this program,” said Corey Mize, executive director of BCCA.

Megan Smith, the former United States Chief Technology Officer and current Chief Executive Officer of shift7, spoke to the BCCA classes about inclusion, data bias, the pursuit of knowledge, and making a difference in the world through technology.

She encouraged them to use their new skills to champion causes they care about and search out ways to make a difference in their local communities.

“Megan was a phenomenal speaker and she took the time to talk with our graduates after each ceremony,” said Mize. “I think it’s great because she genuinely wants to see them thrive in their new fields and do good with the new skill sets they have.”

Technology is going to grow and dominate most of everyone’s life, according to Mize. Coding is a skill set that can open many doors for younger generations and does not require a degree to learn.

Teens living in the Lafayette County area are at a disadvantage because there is not access to many coding programs or tech companies in the area that can inspire them to learn coding and programming.

“By teaching these students these skills, we’re giving them the tools they need to go and create a career for themselves at a much younger age,” said Mize. “They can do it from anywhere. There are so many remote jobs, so they can stay at home and work from anyone that they want to.”

BCCA is also introducing two new hires to the staff for the upcoming year.

Brittany Cohen is from Clarksdale, MS and started as the new Technical Director for the BCCA on August August 2. Cohen has over five years of experience in education and, formerly, she was the Engineering and Exploring Computer Science teacher for the North Panola School District.

While in education, Cohen was awarded 2020 Teacher of the Year by Panola Partnership. She graduated from Mississippi Valley State University with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science.

Sean Ennis lives in Water Valley and will take on the position of BCCA Director on August 23. Ennis holds a BA in Philosophy from LaSalle University and a MFA in fiction writing from the University of Mississippi and he has served as a Writing and Literature Instructor and an Academic Mentor at the University of Mississippi.

Ennis is the author of Chase Us: Stories published by Little A, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

“We’re really excited about them,” said Mize. “They both come from very different backgrounds, but I think they will mesh well and lead us into a new phase at base camp.”

For more information about Base Camp Coding Academy or how to register for the upcoming year, visit www.basecampcodingacademy.org.