CodeID, staffed by NU student volunteers, seeks to provide accessible coding classes for Evanston students


Illustration by Emma Ruck

Northwestern students have formed CodeID to offer coding classes to Chicago- and Evanston-area students.

Isabel Funk, Reporter

A group of Northwestern students formed CodeID, a new campus organization, to broaden access to coding resources and education for students in Chicago and Evanston.

CodeID, or Code for Inclusion and Diversity, originated in a Business Institutions class called campusCatalyst. A group of undergraduate students partnered with the Chicago-based organization We All Code to make coding more accessible to students in the Evanston area.

During the course, campusCatalyst students recruited an executive board for CodeID and worked toward their goal of providing coding classes.

“We’re basically trying to eliminate any barriers to entry and any stigma associated with coding,” Emily Makedon, McCormick sophomore and CodeID vice chair, said. “There’s this notion that coding is very difficult, and it’s not for girls and not for other minority groups, and we’re really just trying to provide any and all resources for anyone that’s interested and willing to learn code.”

The organization began recruiting members this quarter after becoming an official student organization. Although CodeID began as a university chapter of We All Code, Weinberg junior and Communications Committee head Rachel Yang said the students wanted to make it their own by becoming a separate, unique organization registered at NU.

CodeID hosted its first event virtually in April, a collaboration with We All Code. NU student volunteers tutored Chicago-area students following We All Code’s coding curriculum.

“Currently, we’re working through the We All Code platform, but we want to offer our own classes, and we’re on pace to do that this fall,” Benjamin Nober, Weinberg senior and CodeID co-chair, said.

Makedon said the club hopes to host events with nearby Evanston schools and offer in-person coding classes on campus. 

Several executive board members had little to no coding experience prior to joining the group, Yang added.

“You can be interested in the broader mission of our organization and still have as many opportunities and still have as great an impact if you’re not necessarily super experienced with coding,” Yang said.

Nober and Makedon said one of their goals is to give back to the community by providing coding resources to kids who wouldn’t otherwise have access to them. Coding knowledge has become increasingly important because computers are a constant presence in work and school, Nober said.

Nober said that just like how everyone — not just authors — should know how to read, everyone should know the basics of coding. 

Makedon said CodeID plans to continue working over the summer to develop their own curriculum. In the fall, she said they hope to be able to host speaker events. 

The only female student in her high school computer science class, Makedon said making coding accessible is an important goal for her.

“Seeing this leadership position was really exciting, because I really want to help pave the way for anyone, any person, any student, any graduate or undergraduate student to get involved with coding,” she said. 

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @isabeldfunk

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