Social Impact Internships: Elise Harvey (’25)

My name is Elise Harvey and I am a rising sophomore from Wayland, MA studying Computer Science, Economics, and Data Science (Course 6-14). This summer, I interned with The Coding School remotely. The Coding School (TCS) is a non-profit that aims to provide comprehensive computer science education for those in underrepresented backgrounds in STEM. They have three main initiatives: Code Connects, a K-12 traditional coding education; Qubit by Quibut, a quantum computing program; and TRAIN, an artificial intelligence and machine learning initiative. I spent the majority of my summer working with the TRAIN developers.

The start of our lecture on Reinforcement Learning. Later that day, we had them create their own model for a game called GridWorld using Q-Learning.

As a program management intern, I worked on several projects and tasks including updating their Python curriculum, participating in outreach operations, and creating an automatic grader that integrates with Canvas for their future curriculum. The majority of my summer was spent on their new program called TRAIN. TRAIN is funded by the Department of Defense STEM division and aims to provide a machine learning education for high school students and educators. Our goal this summer was to create a Machine Learning (ML) professional development for teachers across the country that did not require any computer science background to participate. This task proved harder than I thought. We went from teaching basic computer science concepts in Python on day 1 to neural networks and deep learning on day fifteen. Before starting, I had not even been exposed to ML yet! I had to teach myself ML online and immediately turn around to start working on development.

I spent hours upon hours working with TCS’s founder and CEO Kiera Peltz. I helped plan and build this program right out of the ground. We spent a week planning, and then jumped right into the development of our curriculum. I definitely had a quick learning curve and spent a lot of my time that first week figuring out how you even build a curriculum. After I started picking it up, I was given more and more responsibility as an intern. In the end, I was the final editor and reviewer for any other material created for this program and created most of the material myself. 

This is the What-If Tool by Google being used on UCI’s Adult data set. We applied this tool to create a lab where the teachers would explore, identify, and mitigate bias in ML.

One of the many BeReals of me working this summer. This was when I was working on material for week 1!

I am so excited to have introduced ML to teachers who want to bring it into their classrooms in any way possible. Growing up, computer science was not accessible for me to learn and I always wished that I started learning it before my senior year of high school. With TCS, not only did I personally teach students younger than that during my time with TCS, but I was able to provide their teachers with the framework to include it in other classes. One of my biggest takeaways from this summer is that a computer science education has been more readily accessible than I had thought. I am proud to say I collaborated with this amazing group of people who work tirelessly to ensure the next generation is prepared for the future of work. 

I am especially grateful to the people who helped create this opportunity for me: Simran Chowdhry for giving me the last-second chance, Abeer Dhanani for being my support all summer, and Kiera Peltz for taking me under her wing. Their compassion, drive, and creativity for the future of computer science education was astounding to witness and participate in. The Coding School will always hold a place in my heart and I cannot wait to see the evolution of the programs I worked on. If you are interested in working with The Coding School and want to hear about my experience or projects, feel free to reach out:

Tags: Social Impact Internships, Social Impact Internships Summer 2022, Tech for Good

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