Dr. Ari Berman and the Hour of Code

The Hour of Code started as a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed not only to demystify “code” and show that anybody can learn the basics but also to broaden participation in the field of computer science. It has since become a worldwide effort to celebrate computer science, starting with one-hour coding activities but expanding to all sorts of community efforts.

The Hour of Code takes place each year during Computer Science Education Week, which this year ran from December 9-15 and is held annually in recognition of the birthday of computing pioneer Admiral Grace Murray Hopper (December 9, 1906).

Every year the Stern College Computer Club, an affiliate of the national Association for Computing Machinery’s Council on Women in Computing (ACM-W), runs an Hour of Code event, one of 140,168 scheduled during 2019. This year’s event was held in conjunction with the Stern College computer science department’s “coding clinic,” which brought together novice and expert coders from Stern computer science courses.

“The Hour of Code,” said Alan Broder, clinical professor and chair of the Department of Computer Science, “is a great way for non-computer science students to try out coding in a relaxed environment, supported by experienced computer science students. It’s also an important way for the department and the club to inspire and attract new students to the discipline,” including, as can be seen below, Dr. Ari Berman, President of Yeshiva University, who stopped by to check out the event and get some one-on-one tutoring from Etta Rapp ’21S.

Dr. Ari Berman, President of Yeshiva University, is schooled by Etta Rapp in computer coding
Dr. Ari Berman is schooled by Etta Rapp ’21S in computer coding

“I spoke with Dr. Berman about the Stern computer science department and taught him some fundamentals of coding,” said Rapp. “We wrote code to print simple messages and draw pictures using turtle graphics. Dr. Berman was excited about the advancements in the Stern computer science department and was curious to learn more about how code is translated into commands that a computer can understand and execute. We discussed how code creates software and how computers process everything as zeros and ones.”

For his part, Dr. Berman appreciated learning some of the ins-and-outs of how coding works and why it is important. “Yeshiva University is incredibly proud of providing women at Stern with a stellar STEM education,” Dr. Berman noted. “The Hour of Code was a great event that will no doubt inspire more young women to explore science and tech during their time at YU. In those sixty minutes, I was able to glimpse the future of an incredible generation of Jewish science and tech leaders.”