At the beginning of 2014 Jess moved to Wellington, New Zealand with the desire to continue the work she began in Pittsburgh. Jess believes strongly in providing high-quality, affordable courses to all students that help them stretch their imaginations and grow their skills.
To further this aim she founded MakerBox, an organisation that offers programming to organisations, schools, and community groups.
Growing with Programming
Jess brought her coding courses with her to New Zealand, including an introductory Scratch course. She quickly found Kiwi's were hungry for more and has since developed four further courses, including one geared towards young female coders.
Her most recent course, Programming with Python, introduces students to text-based coding with PyGame. Over two terms students ages 10-13 learn to code their own video games. In addition to learning to code, attention is also given to version control, responding to bug reports, and sharing code through GitHub.
An additional graphic design course compliments Programming with Python. In Video Game Graphics students develop and design original sprites to use in their games.
Focus on Open Source
Jess, and by extension, MakerBox, has a commitment to Open Source software and Creative Commons licensing. Every effort is made to use OSS in the classroom and students are encouraged to release their work under OSS or CC licenses, whichever is applicable.
Finding quality Open Source stop-motion animation software is a challenge, so in 2015 Jess designed her own. Working together with Seth Kenlon, MakerBox released StopGo for Linux and Windows.