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News Item: Homepage

Rancho Buena Vista Coding Queens Reign Supreme


By Ray Huard


Four sophomore girls from Rancho Buena Vista High School who called themselves the “Code Queens” were in for a surprise at a recent California State University San Marcos computer hackathon coding competition


“We just wanted to go there and have fun and gain some experience,” said Liliana Vang.


They did that, but they also placed third overall among 17 high school and college teams competing, and they won the category for “user experience and functionality” by designing a webpage and game that challenged people to choose more nutritious foods.


“It was actually overwhelming,” Liliana said. “We all went in there without any experience and learned new things on the spot.”


Teammate Cindy Bui said that she was “really astonished about how much we were able to do and compete.”


“I feel very accomplished,” Cindy said. “I bragged about it to all my family members.”


Lorena Arcos was taken aback when she scoped out the competition the Code Queens faced. “I was thinking in my head, ‘We’re really not going to win this, there’s so many of them, and they look really confident,’” Lorena said.


The girls had about 10 hours to figure out how to use the proper coding and design and make their website and game. “It was pretty cool, the experience of learning things,” said teammate Eve Diaz.


Joining the Code Queens in the hackathon competition were two students from Mira Costa College and one from Miramar College.


Rancho Buena Vista robotics instructor Dadre Rudolph said that she couldn’t be prouder of her students’ accomplishment.

“I was just sending them to see what it’s like,” Rudolph said. “They’re sophomores and they had just started coding.”


Vista Unified School District students seem to have developed a knack for winning computer coding competitions.


Two years ago, two Rancho Buena Vista seniors who were Rudolph’s students – Yvette Moreno and Emily Sorger - were part of a five-girl team that placed first in a CSU San Marcos San Diego Women’s Hackathon. Sorger served as a mentor to the Code Queens this year.


In 2016, a team of nine computer science students from Mission Vista High School took first place in their category from among 10 teams competing in an AT&T hackathon.


A purpose of the women’s hackathons is to encourage more girls to take an interest in computer science, Rudolph said.


Often, girls think of computer science as little more than video games, Rudolph said. “If you’re super into computer games, that might be fine for you,” Rudolph said. “Sometimes, it seems kind of solitary, sitting in the dark, staring at your computer screen.”


The hackathons present computer science as a more social exercise, with girls working in teams on projects that have real-world applications.


Eve said she took Rudolph’s computer science class because she was curious about the field. “A lot of girls really don’t know a lot of the basics,” Eve said. “Once they learn about it, they’d be more encouraged to work in that career.”


After taking the class and competing in the hackathon, Eve said that she’s considering a career in computer science or psychology.


Lorena said that, she too, has an interest in psychology, but is now looking at computer science as an option. “I never thought about it before. Now that I’m understanding it, I do like it and I want to pursue a career in computer science coding,” Lorena said.


Liliana, whose mother works in computer science, said that she’s looking at the medical industry or computer science. “I thought I’d maybe pursue something like this (computer science), but it’s not really decided. It’s something to try.”


Nursing was Cindy’s career of choice until she took Rudolph’s class and competed in the hackathon. “I might change my career options to work in computer science,” Cindy said.







Posted by: Dave Palmer, District Associate, Vista Unified School District Published:6/6/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage