Failor connects youth with computer science in teaching internship at summer camp


Demand for computer scientists is expected to grow 23 percent from 2022 to 2032, and senior Danielle Failor spent her summer making sure the next generation of young people have a solid understanding of coding basics to meet the world’s burgeoning technology needs.

Failor interned with ID Tech at a college campus in the Denver, Colorado area. She mainly worked with teenagers, who were enrolled in a coding class.

“It was a lot of meeting them where they were at and trying to figure out what interests them and tying that back to what they could code,” Failor said. “I had a girl who was interested in swimming and wasn’t interested in computer science at all, so she made a website on where you could enter your stats in swimming.”

Failor enjoyed the camp atmosphere, where everyone was friendly, accepting, and fun. She had planned to get a teaching certificate after graduating with her B.S. in Computer Science, but the summer experience opened the door to teaching opportunities that might not require that additional credential.

“I loved it,” Failor said. “I would love to go back there, but I would also like to see what other jobs might be out there. It made me open to trying new things and got me interested in teaching at summer camp level.”

STEM undergraduates also might want to consider the internship as a possible gateway to teaching.

“It was such an easy internship to get,” Failor said. “We had camps for robots. We had an animation class. Anyone with a passion to teach, whether you are in electrical engineering, or you like doing art, you could get that internship.”

Failor’s experience was not without its obstacles.

“I went into the camp thinking every child is going to be amazing, all the time, and I had a plan for that,” Failor said. “That first day, it all got scrapped away. Each week was its own challenge. You have to go into it with an open mind and be willing to make friends because everyone will be your friend by the end of the summer.”

Failor said her coursework at Montana Tech gave her a strong computer science foundation to share with her students. She also recommends checking in with Career Services prior to applying for jobs or internships.

“I didn’t really know how to get my statement of interest into words at first,” Failor said. “They reviewed my resume, and helped me expand my answer for the essay.”

The internship solidified post-graduation goals for Failor.

“I am hoping to work with kids and teach kids how to code and get them interested in coding,” Failor said.