Frances Castro

7th Grader, Connections Academy · Programmer, Embark Labs

Seventh grader Frances Castro joined Embark labs, a summer program that teaches programming through building real projects together, because she didn’t want to stay at home this summer. “At first, I was really nervous about this, but after spending one week, I really liked it. I like programming because its problem solving and it’s like talking to a computer. I also liked difficulty of it”. Frances like coding so much that she completed advanced levels soon after and wants to continue to learning programming.

Embark labs brings teaches kids from 7–17 to program together as a team. Frances took both levels and found that she got along very well with both younger and older kids. She now helps other kids at the program.

At Embark she used Scratch to build a maze and then used MIT’s App Inventor to build a “GetFitFast” app which helps improve the person’s diet, burning fat, and helping them get active. How it works is the person scans the food that they eat, and the app will automatically scan how many calories the food has. If the food is not healthy, then the person can make a schedule and choose a daily workout. The user can also set goals. For example, if the person wants to burn a X about fat by Y year/month/week etc., then they can set it as one of their goals.
“I had this idea and just wanted to make the app happen. I coded, improved display of the project and user experience. What motivated me to build this app was because there are tons of different games out there in the world. So many, that you can’t count. I wanted to start an app that can meet people’s needs. And that is useful for everyone. Even kids.”

Often, Frances finds herself thinking: “Man! How do I build this?”. She says, to overcome these challenges “I think of a good strategy before starting”. Frances thinks more young girls should learn to code. “It is a problem, because many boys do it, but you need girls perspective. Coding is a thing that everyone can do. Many different ages, you are not too old or young to code. I am a girl and I like coding!”