CodeDay comes to Wayne State University

The College of Engineering hosted its first CodeDay on Feb. 14, inviting high school students from throughout the Detroit area to spend the day on campus to learn about coding from volunteers. CodeDay was started in Seattle by the nonprofit group StudentRND, and is designed as a fun way to reach students in areas that typically don't have curriculum for learning about software development.

This was not the first Detroit CodeDay; it previously was held at the Detroit Labs workspace, but this was the first time it has been at a university. Tristan Mortimer, a computer science freshman, was instrumental in bringing the event to Wayne State. "The coders are simply trying to learn and have fun," he says. "Many hackathons usually have a bit of a competitive edge to them, but CodeDay is supposed to be first and foremost fun and humble. Even the awards are just cardboard cutouts that get hot-glued together during the event. We even had a karaoke hour."

Mortimer learned about CodeDay after being contacted with a request to bring it to Wayne State. With the help of StudentRND and the College of Engineering, Mortimer gathered a group of local volunteers, including several area high school students, to organize the event. The turnout indicated that a great level of interest about this type of educational opportunity exists, and close to 70 students attended the event. Due to the event's success, the organizers are planning another CodeDay for May.

Mortimer thanks College of Engineering faculty, along with Darin Ellis, associate dean of academic affairs and student services; Jasmine Roberson, director of community engagement, and Andrew Murrell, associate director of IT, for their support.

Of the importance of CodeDay and similar events for the Detroit area, Mortimer says, "The silly game that comes out of CodeDay isn't going to change the world, but teaching students how to program games and apps fills a huge void we have in tech education today. If all I need to do to help make that happen is volunteer a weekend of my time, then it would be pretty hard for me not to get involved."

For more information on the next CodeDay visit

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Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution of higher education offering 370 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 28,000 students. For more information about engineering at Wayne State University, visit

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