On the evening of Wednesday, October 4, the Code Nation Chicago team was hard at work preparing for their orientation for 2023-24 Fellows! This event marks a major milestone for Code Nation Chicago—not only was it the first in-person orientation to get students ready for their first and second year Fellowship programs, it also represents exciting growth for our organization in the region. Code Nation Chicago has enrolled a record number of over 160 students in our Fellowship programs for the 2023-24 school year, and more than 130 students joined us for orientation at our offices in downtown Chicago!

The Fellowship program is a key part of Code Nation’s program model. It offers students in their second and third years with Code Nation the opportunity to engage in experiential learning through advanced coding classes, taught by volunteers at tech companies at their offices during or after school. Code Nation Chicago is also offering a fully virtual and hybrid Fellowship options for students this year—ensuring our programs are accessible to everyone.

Because of our strong partnerships with tech companies in Chicago, students can level up their coding skills while learning from professionals in the industry in workplace environments spanning the tech industry. This year, Code Nation Chicago welcomed two new company partners offering our Fellowship program, IMC Trading and Relativity, and we’re excited to welcome back five returning company partners, Basis Technologies, Expedia, Stripe, Grubhub, and Google. Over 40 volunteers from these companies are offering up their time and expertise to teach our Chicago youth! To learn more about company partnerships at Code Nation, click here.

At the orientation, students joined their Fellowship teams and met a volunteer from their partner company. While new connections were forged among students meeting for the first time, returning students were also excited to see their peers, our staff, and volunteers and learn about their upcoming programs. The energy was overflowing as they shared excitement and nervousness about the year ahead with the community. Fellows met the Chicago team and learned about resources available to them throughout the year, and then learned about perks and internship opportunities  from Code Nation Alumni Manager, Mollie McSherry. After pizza and cookies, students were divided into smaller groups to complete onboarding tasks so they’re able to jump straight into coding on their first day at companies this week! 

Launching programs at the beginning of each school year is one of the busiest times at Code Nation, but it’s also one of the most rewarding and exciting for our team and students. We’re so thrilled to kick off this fall with such a successful in-person event, and can’t wait to see the projects and connections they build in Chicago this year!

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