What is Code Ignite?

Code Ignite is a Vanderbilt University service organization serving Nashville youth through computer science education.

How it all began

Code Ignite was founded in the fall of 2015 at Vanderbilt University when co-founders Sami Chiang and Sirui Ma discovered their mutual passion for computer science education...and coincidentally, their shared hometown of Albany, California. With the help of friends, they reached out to several schools and afterschool programs about starting an introductory coding program, and were pleasantly surprised by the positive response. Code Ignite ran its pilot program with ten middle school students packed into a tiny computer lab. Students were hesitant at first, but soon became engrossed in creating their own animated shorts through the power of code. 

As of spring 2017, Code Ignite has served over 500 young coders, running programs at more than a dozen schools and afterschool sites in the Nashville community. Each semester, Code Ignite strives to provide a positive experience in computer science for more students. In May 2017, Code Ignite was recognized for the second consecutive year at the Vanderbilt Awards for Leadership Excellence as the Most Meaningful Service runner-up.

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Our Mission

The goal of our program is to generate enthusiasm toward computer programming in Nashville youth. Our program is designed to foster problem-solving skills, collaboration, self-efficacy, and confidence. We hope that after participating in our program, our students will feel inspired and empowered to pursue computer science and related STEM fields at a higher level.

Learn more about why code education is so important

Who we serve

Code Ignite programs run in local schools and afterschool programs. Any student who attends a site where programs are offered may be eligible to participate. At this time, Code Ignite does not offer private tutoring or external sign-ups. If you are interested in bringing a Code Ignite program to your school, click here! 

Our volunteers

Code Ignite volunteers are Vanderbilt students hailing from all over the country and world. Most of our volunteers have a background in computer science and/or engineering, whether it is their major or a personal interest. However, experience with computer science is not a requirement! Anyone who is interested in fostering growth in middle school students and serving as a positive role model is welcome to volunteer with us. Teams are composed of members with varying levels of experience so that each member can bring his or her unique talents to the team. Click here to find out how to become a Code Ignite volunteer

All of our volunteers have completed "Protection of Minors" training, which establishes protocol for volunteers who interact with minors. Topics covered include policy, incident reporting, code of conduct, red flag behavior, and prevention techniques for the safety and protection of minors.