Two Grace Students Earn Gold Badge in Coding

Friday, August 3

For many college students, June is a month of relaxation and refocusing. They spend it travelling, on beaches, at bonfires, perhaps the basketball court or pool.  Most take a break from school as they work a part-time job or internship. But two Grace College students instead spent their time gaining a valuable certification to add to their degrees.

Grace College student Madi Brill (left) accepts her Gold Badge Certification from Scott Jones (right), founder of Eleven Fifty Academy.

Madi Brill, a rising junior from Hudsonville, Mich., and Jenna Reinhard, a 2018 graduate from Bluffton, Ind., worked and studied 40 hours a week in June to earn the Gold Badge Certification in coding from Eleven Fifty Academy, a coding academy headquartered in Fishers, Ind. They completed Smart Launch Tech, an intensive summer program held at Franklin College in Franklin, Ind., that aims to combine the problem-solving ability of liberal arts education with technical skills in coding.  Smart Launch Tech is sponsored by Eleven Fifty Academy and Independent Colleges of Indiana, of which Grace College is a part.

The program vision is reflected in a statement once made by Apple founder Steve Jobs: “Technology alone is not enough.  It’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields results that make our hearts sing.”

During the month of June, Brill, Reinhard, and their classmates worked 40 hours a week learning the basics of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and visited Indianapolis tech businesses, including High Alpha, Kinney Group, and One Click. They explored the myriad career possibilities in the tech field, including project and marketing management, data analysis, compliance, security, and design. The culmination of Brill’s work can be viewed in an e-portfolio here.

Brill’s first project was to create a simple graphic of a creature with CSS. “It seemed really daunting when we were first tasked with it, but now it seems like a piece of cake,” Brill said. Her final project, which uses JavaScript to access a database and display a user’s search results, was the most challenging, but also the most rewarding, according to Brill.

Grace College 2018 graduate Jenna Reinhard (left) accepting her Gold Badge Certification from Scott Jones (right), founder of Eleven Fifty Academy.

“Going in, I thought it would be super intense and most people would be much more advanced than me,” Reinhard said. “Instead, the leaders were patient and understanding, and the other students were in the same boat as me.”

Through the program, Reinhard gained a new appreciation for IT and tech-related fields. “I met so many people who were passionate about it and I learned how much tech goes into everyday things, even when we don’t realize it.”

Brill, who plans to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from Grace College in 2020, found the experience valuable. “Ever since I decided to become a librarian, I put a lot of effort into getting where I am.  Smart Launch was one part of that, and I’m confident the experience and skills I learned there will be put to use in my future career.”

Reinhard, who graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree in intercultural studies and plans to be a missionary, appreciates the new perspective: “Smart Tech helped opened doors that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I’m more confident about using tech in my future career and ministry,” she said.

The Gold Badge in coding is an industry- and state-recognized certification valued at $4,000.