Chance at Computer Science with NCLab

Author: Chance Harrison, Silver Springs, NV

My name is Chance Harrison, and I’m currently studying at both the Silver Stage High School and the Western Nevada College. Accomplishments that I am currently proud of are achieving A’s in all my classes since my first year in high school, and completing my TestOut PC Pro Certification. I found a deep interest in computing, and will likely pursue a related career, thanks to NCLab.

The task of figuring out what might be worth pursuing after school is a task that students everywhere, myself included, must face. I happened to identify a career that I’m likely to be happy in, but for many others, it isn’t always an easy task. NCLab played an essential role in this process, and I can’t say that my interest in programming and computers would be the same without NCLab. I was first introduced to NCLab and the wealth of knowledge it had to offer in my final years of middle school. It was in my STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) class, the one I looked forward to the most because of the many different things that we did as a class. However, NCLab succeeded at drawing my interest like very few things have before. The Karel the Robot course was my first experience with computer programming and I recall it being very rewarding. I found it was both challenging and motivating for me, each level serving as a stepping stone that increased both my understanding of the underlying concepts and drove me to continue progressing.

I had completed a considerable amount of the Karel course before I moved onto designing three-dimensional models with PLaSM in NCLab as well. PLaSM allowed for greater difficulty and complexity while allowing for more creative expression. From where I am today, I can say that the benefits from using NCLab, even back in middle school, have been long-lasting and continue to be important to me. This is because, as I mentioned above, I can attribute a considerable amount of my interest in technology (and to a greater extent, programming) that I possess today to my use of NCLab back then. It didn’t only spark (and maintain my interest) but it also solidified many foundational skills that will be necessary as I move forward on a path towards programming, web development, and likely computer science.

For me, a big challenge I faced was being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (an autoimmune disease that causes the body to cease production of the essential hormone that is insulin) when I was in the 4 th grade. I used the past tense when describing my diagnosis because it isn’t a negative or especially difficult thing for me anymore, if anything, I have learned to look at what positive things have come out of it. Challenges like Diabetes did not and will not stop me from pursuing my desires: programming and technology along with others. I hope that from my brief story you can take away the fact that the challenges you face do not and can not stop you from pursuing your goals.