CodeWizardsHQ instructor Mary Reinke became interested in coding in the same way that many of her students started their coding journey. A love of gaming propelled her to want to know more about how to code. Mary didn’t take a direct route to computer science though. She started her career path in robotics.

The Path From Robotics to Coding Education

A Minnesota native, Mary developed an early interest in robotics. Inspired by her dad, a machinist, Mary decided to pursue a career in robotics and completed a program at a local college. This degree led her to start her career working for an industrial supply company. Mary supported their robotics program with everything from wiring to coding.

During her tenure in the robotics role, Mary spoke with a friend who was having great success in software engineering. Mary saw the potential in pursuing this career path and left her job to return to school. Today, while software engineering is still ultimately her goal, Mary lends her significant knowledge and experience to teaching kids how to code at CodeWizardsHQ. One motivating factor for moving into education was the disparity in her own learning experiences. She wanted to make a difference in the world of coding education and has been teaching kids to code for two years. 

Mary's lady vase sculpture
Mary’s lady vase sculpture

A CodeWizardsHQ Educator

Mary has taught all levels of students at CodeWizardsHQ; elementary, middle, and high school. One of her favorite classes to teach is Beyond Basics with Python, the second course in the middle school Wizard Level 1 curriculum. In this course, students solidify their Python programming skills while building interactive apps and games. Mary also mentions a recently acquired affinity for teaching JavaScript in a course called Interactive JavaScript. Students learn to add interactivity to web pages in this class.

Some of her favorite class moments involve working with her students on special projects that they are doing on their own. Time permitting, at the end of class, students can ask questions about things that they are working on. Mary enjoys connecting with her students through collaborating with them and helping them with individual pursuits. 

Mary takes the most satisfaction in helping students problem-solve. She loves the aha moment.

“I’ve discovered how to help people learn on their own by asking them questions. It works better when they come to their own conclusions.”

Mary encourages every parent to give their children at least a basic coding education.

“It’s a good way to learn how to problem-solve in general, because at its core, the way you code is breaking a large problem into smaller steps, and getting into that habit is a better way to go through life.”

Hobbies and Downtime

In her downtime, Mary takes advantage of the beautiful Minnesota landscape and its more than 10,000 lakes. She frequently canoes with her boyfriend. They like exploring new lakes and appreciate repeating their favorites, especially the ones with abundant wildlife.

Mary's charcoal rendition of Phil Collins
Mary’s charcoal rendition of Phil Collins

Mary is a talented artist. She channels her art abilities into drawing and sculpting. She has recently sculpted lady head vases, inspired by vintage vases that her mom owned. She also makes small animal sculptures and shares that she has drawn for years.

While she’s been enjoying art for a while, these days her downtime activities center around coding and improving her coding skills. She spends time on the hardware side of computing as well. She likes to combine components that need repair, fix them, and build systems. 

Mary is clearly someone with many interests and creative pursuits, but she still participates in the hobby that set her on her coding path and she occasionally plays games like Overwatch. CodeWizardsHQ is fortunate to have instructors like Mary who bring a richness of creative abilities to coding education and provide a quality learning experience for our students.