March 27, 2016, Dyersburg State Gazette

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Thursday afternoon, 16 middle school students attending the TN Code Academy, sponsored by Tencom, proudly presented their parents with a presentation that showcased their capabilities in computer coding.Dyersburg Code Academy GROUP PHOTO web

Preparing for the event, students spent three six-hour days learning the basic fundamentals of programming through gaming platforms, web and mobile applications.

Through the program, students were also able to learn computational thinking and coding individually, as well as in a team. Guiding the students through the ins and outs of coding were instructors Chris Sipe and Atish Patel, both of whom are students at TTU, in Cookeville.

Throughout the course of the three-day Code Academy, students were able to enjoy soda, pizza, subs, and the masterful recreation of their favorite video games through the utilization of their newly acquired knowledge in the realm of coding and computer programming.

Overall, the three-day Code Camp was very well received by all of the students involved. One student stated, "It was cool! I loved it and can't wait until the summer camp."

On behalf of the event Tencom owner Chris Donaldson stated, "Students spent three days learning the basic concepts of computer programming by creating video games and learning to build a basic website. The event was capped off by a 'Demo Day' event, where students got a chance to show off what they learned to their family and to members of the community.

Dyersburg Code Academy 10 Compressed"The Dyer County Code Camp is made possible by a partnership between NTEC, The Northwest Entrepreneur Center in Martin, and Tencom Services in Dyersburg, along with our generous host TCAT-Newbern and Dyer County 4-H.

"Carol Reed, the director of NTEC, and I share a common interest in bringing informal tech learning to the people that need it most. That is, the kids in rural Northwest Tennessee. There are so many opportunities for kids in bigger cities and we both feel that with the broader adoption of broadband Internet, that there is no reason for people in rural communities to be left out of the new digital workforce.

"And the kids love it. They are fully engaged, eager to learn, and respectful. They soak up the information like a sponge. It's great to see kids so excited about learning technology.Dyersburg Code Academy compressed

"Demand has been so high that we are already planning a code camp for June. More information will follow on the summer camp at: or on any of our social media pages."

TN Code Academy 2016The Tennessee Code Academy is an educational program that strives to create a fun, engaging, and immersive environment for middle and high school students where they are challenged to think about computer science technologies.

When: Beginning January 5, 2016 on Tuesday and Thursday Nights for 6 weeks from 6:00 - 8:00 pm

Where: Paul Meek Library
Classroom 215
10 Wayne Fisher Drive, Martin, TN 38238

Cost to Register: $25/student
Payment is due on the evening of the first session. Please make checks payable to Weakley County Cooperative Extension.

Registration Deadline: Friday, December 18, 2015. Only 25 spots available.

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 Spread the Word:  Download TN Code Academy Flyer (PDF)

This event is co-hosted by the Weakley County UT Cooperative Extension 4-H Program, the Northwest Tennessee Entrepreneur Center, the UTM Department of Agriculture and Applied Sciences and UTM Information and Technology Services

This project is funded under an agreement with Launch TN and/or the State of Tennessee.

Girls of Code 11 21 2015 31 Group Picture from Above CompressedNovember 30, 2015

30 girls from the Weakley and Obion County area gathered at UT Martin’s Paul Meek Library on Saturday for a “100 Girls of Code Academy” workshop. Participation in the course was free and made possible by a collaboration between the Northwest Tennessee Entrepreneur Center (NTEC), UTM Information Technology Services, and the UTM College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences.

Girls ranging from age 8 to 17 gathered together to learn the basics of computer science and online coding. The workshop was lead by Tennessee Tech student Samantha Williams, a computer science major and “girl of code” herself.

“This is an opportunity for young girls to explore the world of computer science and understand the importance of the industry and that it can be a lot of fun,” said Dr. Joey Mehlhorn, professor of Agricultural Economics at UTM. “There are tremendous opportunities available in computer science. This camp will hopefully spark interest early in these young women for technological related careers.”

The girls were excited to start the day by learning how to code their own games, and put their knowledge to the test by creating their own personalized online mazes.

Girls of Code 11 21 2015 38 compressedThe group was delighted with a surprise visit from UTM Chancellor, Dr. Robert Smith. Chancellor Smith gave special attention to the girls, stressing the importance of women in the computer programming field and at UTM.

“My favorite thing that I learned how to do is how to make a star go through a maze,” said homeschooled student Gryphon Rowland, age 9. “If they have another class, I would like to do this again.”

The second half of the day focused on website building and creating code for each girl to personalize her own webpage.

“I really enjoyed creating code for a website and actually being able to build my own,” said Westview student Keondra Shanklin, age 15. “I haven’t really considered computer science as a future career, but after doing this workshop it is definitely something to consider.”

“I thought doing this class would help me better my future,” said Westview student Alyssa Scott., age 16. “my favorite part was being able to build my own maze online. I would definitely like to attend this class again.”

An exciting aspect about the program is that all of the games and websites the girls created during the workshop are accessible to them outside of the course so they can continue to use and work on them from home.

Girls of Code 11 21 2015 26 compressedInstructor Samantha Williams expressed her excitement about the possibilities workshops like these open to young girls, not just in the computer science field, but also in life.

“My hope for what the girls took away from this experience is that, believe it or not, they can too. That’s what I want more than anything for them. Not just that they can teach themselves computer programming, but that they can teach themselves anything. That’s something you need in life.”

NTEC and UTM say they hope to partner up again to host another local Girls of Code Academy workshop in the near future. They would like to extend a special thanks to the UTM Paul Meek Library staff and Alan Franklin, UTM director of Information Technology Services for their help in making this event possible.

The Northwest TN Entrepreneur Center is located at 206 White Street in Martin, TN. To contact them or find out more information about their services, call 731-587-4213. This project is funded under an agreement with Launch Tennessee and the State of Tennessee.

Girls of Code: changing girls’ lives, one line of code at a time

The Northwestern Tennessee Entrepreneur Center (NTEC) and the University of Tennessee Martin College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences are hosting a FREE 100 Girls of Code Academy for girls ages 12-18 years of age, on Saturday, November 21st from 9am – 3pm at the UTM’s Paul Meek Library room 215. Lunch is provided for free. For more information email NTEC at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 731.587.4213. Registration is limited, so make sure to register by Monday, November 16th. 


100 Girls of Code invests in young women by providing free workshops introducing them to the world of computer science and engineering, where they create with code and engage in hands¬-on, innovative thinking. In our Workshops, coders conduct a fun and interactive learning experience that includes an introduction to computer programming, website construction, games, apps, and so much more. By the end of the workshop, girls have a better understanding of programming, the future of Computer Science, and a desire to enter into a similar career field.

Our primary goals are to spark interest in computer science, provide mentorship from women in the field, and point girls to the vast amount of resources that are available to them.

Contact: Carol Reed
Northwest Tennessee Entrepreneur Center
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

NTEC Offers CO.STARTERS – Beginning October 2015

The Northwest Tennessee Entrepreneur Center (NTEC) of Martin, TN, will offer CO.STARTERS, a nationally renowned six-week business development program that helps aspiring entrepreneurs put ideas into action and take the necessary steps in building a sustainable small business.

Learn more at