Meet Valentine, the Founder and Team Leader of MindSet Coders. Today, she walks us through her journey of transitioning from Social Sciences to STEM as an entrepreneur;
Hi Val, thank you for accepting to share your journey with us. I admire the work you do with the young generation at MindSet Coders
Hi Winnie, thank you for inviting me. I am happy to be here.
Tell us a little bit about who Val is
My name is Valentine Masicha Wegoye. a digital skills activist for young people and a STEM enthusiast. I am the Team Leader at Mindset Coders, an organization that inspires, empowers, and equips the next generation of Digital Creators, Innovators, and Problem Solvers. I am also an ambassador for Africa Code Week in Uganda, an initiative that exposes 21st-century skills to young learners in Africa.
Walk us through your journey of founding MindSet Coders and joining the STEM world
I am originally from Kenya but came to Uganda for my high school at Jinja Secondary School, from Senior One up to Senior Six. I then joined Makerere University for a bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences.
While awaiting graduation, I purposed to study different digital skills in short courses, starting with Motion Graphics and 3DAnimation. This led to a sponsorship for a program by the World Bank which was about mentoring young people below 25 years for a 10-week Entrepreneurship course. I emerged among the top 10 who got seed funding for our final projects. Mine was using 3D Animation to tell the African folktales and history.
In my journey of self-discovery, I was introduced to Programming in 2017 and signed up for an introduction to Software development at Moringa School in Nairobi, Kenya. It was at this moment in my life that I saw the possibilities of what software development and technology in general can do. I wished I knew this earlier and decided to be the person that exposes, empowers, and inspires young learners, especially girls into STEM.
I know how challenging it is to be a STEM entrepreneur! What keeps you motivated to continue investing in MindSet Coders?
When we started MindSet Coders, it was quite a task to convince schools and parents alike about the benefits of teaching children to be more digital creators and less of digital consumers. However, with the pandemic and introduction to e-learning, there has been a mindset shift that has made our work easier.
I am inspired each time a young learner is able to build something from scratch. It gives me a sense of fulfillment each time they create because I know that we have allowed them to understand how technology is made. This allows them to appreciate it even more.
Let’s talk about some of the prestigious moments along your journey as the founder of MindSet Coders
As a result of inspiring and empowering the next generation of Digital creators, innovators, and problem solvers, I became the ambassador of Africa Code Week, one of the biggest digital skills empowerment initiatives in Africa, representing Uganda. My duties involve overseeing different implementing partners, while they carry out free coding workshops throughout Uganda.
In 2020-2021 I was accepted into the Mandela Washington Fellowship, a leadership course by the Young African Leaders Initiative. I was able to interact with different leaders from different parts of the continent.
Who is Val away from computers?
Outside of work, I am a wife, a mother, and a minister of the word of God to the next generation of nation-shakers.
What is your favorite quote?
“Taste and see that the Lord is good” ~ Psalm 34:8
How would you encourage a young African girl with a dream to start up something like MindSet Coders?
You are capable! Just know that STEM is fun and very cool. Don’t be afraid to explore, don’t be afraid to experiment! It’s okay if you fail several times, we all fail but just refuse to give up.
Thank you a million times, Val, for sparing time to share with us about your transition into STEM. I know how busy your schedule is and appreciate the time. Wishing you the very best with the work you do at MindSet Coders.