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Mississippi Coding Academies: A Nontraditional Approach to Computing Education

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Technological and Engineering Literacy/Philosophy of Engineering Division Technical Session 3

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Technological and Engineering Literacy/Philosophy of Engineering

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Paper Authors


Sarah B. Lee Mississippi State University Orcid 16x16

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Sarah Lee joined the faculty at Mississippi State University (MSU) after a 19 year information technology career at FedEx Corporation. As an associate clinical professor and assistant department head in the Computer Science and Engineering Department, she is co-founder and co-director of the Bulldog Bytes program at MSU that engages K-12 students with computing and provides trans-disciplinary professional development to K-12 teachers in computer science and cybersecurity. She is the PI for the NSF INCLUDES Mississippi Alliance for Women in Computing (MSAWC), partnering with stakeholders throughout the southern US to leverage, strengthen, and create awareness of existing programs and create new programs for young women in computing. She serves on the board of directors for the Mississippi Coding Academies.

Sarah holds a BS in Business Administration and Computer Information Systems from the Mississippi University for Women and a master’s degree in computer science from MSU. She earned her PhD in computer science from the University of Memphis.

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Richard A. Sun CFA Mississippi Coding Academies

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Richard Alan Sun, CFA holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Princeton University in politics magna cum laude, a Masters of Business Administration in finance and international business from New York University with induction into Beta Gamma Sigma, and a charter as a Chartered Financial Analyst.

He is co-founder of the Mississippi Coding Academies, member of the Board of Directors and Director of Jackson. He is a member of the Board of Directors, past chair, and the Entrepreneur in Residence of Innovate Mississippi, the corporate founder of Mississippi Coding Academies.

He has served as an investor, adviser, senior executive or board member in over 30 startup and early stage high-potential companies. Previously, he was a banker and an emerging markets private equity investor. He has arranged, advised on or made over $11 billion of investments.

As a Princeton undergraduate, we was a clinical programmer at the computer center; the computational statistics research from his senior thesis led to a paper (Are There Bellwether Election Districts) published in Public Opinion Quarterly, co-authored with Professor Edward R. Tufte.

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Randy Lynn

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Randy Lynn is a partner and creative director at Maris, West & Baker Advertising, co-founder of Kids Code Mississippi and a Code Mississippi leadership team member. He has advocated for comprehensive K-12 computer science education in Mississippi since 2014 and helped launch the state’s CS4MS program, serving on the pilot program’s steering committee, Network Improvement Committee and computer science standards review committee. Through his Kids Code Mississippi initiative, he has organized coding hackathons, workshops and camps throughout Mississippi.

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Responsive to broadening participation in computing challenges, a collaborative network of higher education, non-profit organizations, K-12 schools, industry representatives, and other stakeholders has been established in Mississippi. Collective alliance initiatives are focused on current and arising challenges in access to computer science and technical education among under-resourced citizens. One program resulting from statewide partnerships that shows promise is the Mississippi Coding Academies. Originally designed to serve the emerging workforce of recent high school students not on a college-bound trajectory, the program is also providing a pathway for persons currently in the workforce who want to retool for the digital economy and accelerate income opportunity and growth. The approach to formal assessment with results thus far, and plans for longitudinal evaluation of the success of this program, will be presented.

Lee, S. B., & Sun, R. A., & Lynn, R. (2019, June), Mississippi Coding Academies: A Nontraditional Approach to Computing Education Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33115

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