Coding, 3D modelling and ‘big’ data: Hamilton kids get inspiration through new mentorship program

ORIGINAL ARTICLE, The Hamilton Spectator, Kate McCullough, September 15, 2022

Like many 12-year-olds, Jonathan Szarak likes to play video games. But he’s also spent the last two years teaching himself how to make them.

The Grade 7 student uses Python, a programming language, to code games, including player movement and weapons systems.

“One day I just thought ‘maybe I can do this,’” said Jonathan, who lives on the central Mountain. “It took me a while, but eventually I decided to try and learn Python, then I found videos and I figured some stuff out.”

Jonathan is one of five local kids who participated in a summer mentorship program run by Hamilton organization Mathstronauts, which teaches STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills to youth. They were paired with engineers and analysts at industry partner General Motors.

“Some of our students wanted to learn how to code in a new programing language … others worked on 3D modelling projects, or I think one of our students was really interested in data, so how to work with scripts on Excel and how to handle big pieces of data,” said executive director Sehrish Zehra.

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