Metro area high school student on mission to expand computer science curriculum
BEAVERTON, Ore. (KPTV) - A local high school student makes it his mission to help prepare his peers and younger students for the future.
On top of his own studies, Westview High School senior, Ojas Nimase, has spent well over a year building up an educational nonprofit he started called Northwest Data Science Collective.
The idea began after Nimase was in a computer programming competition as a high school sophomore, and his family all took an interest and wanted to learn more about what he was doing.
“We were just teaching cousins, family, friends from all around the globe: like family in India, some family in Canada, and like just friends that we knew,” said Nimase. “And then after doing that for a while, we decided to build upon that because we felt like we would have a larger impact, especially in our own community, by providing access to high quality education about data science and programing to like, a more diverse set of learners.”
Nimase then started Northwest Data Science collective as a club at Westview High School in the Beaverton School District. In 2022, Nimase and two friends built a website, and set up Northwest Data Science Collective as a 501(c)3 nonprofit. He and his friends run virtual lessons via Zoom with the goal of reaching any middle or high school student interested in learning more about computer science or artificial intelligence.
“For example, our program this semester, we have lectures that cover Python fundamentals, how to write programs, and then we end with a capstone project, which is something that they can show to maybe potential employers or potential, you know, potential experts they’re reaching out to in the field,” said Nimase.
Nimase says all lessons are recorded and posted online to the collective’s website, so any student anywhere can access them at any time. So far, Nimase and the other Northwest Data Science Collective founders, and several of their peers they’ve recruited as tutors, have reached over 70 students in the metro area and internationally.
Nimase says the ultimate goal is to reach hundreds of students, particularly in under-served communities in the Pacific Northwest, to create a foundation on computer science and AI that will last a lifetime, and lead to successful careers.
”If you take like a bite size approach, you take one step forward, you learn about this one specific thing and then you build upon that and you build and you build like an in-depth understanding, that helps a lot with the students’ ability to understand and just use that later in life.”
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