Aspirations in Art&CS

Houston Chronicle Editorial September 7, 2019  – submitted this viewpoint after reading the editorial about Sally the Salad vending machine and on the same page the opinion by Deborah Lugo, John Abodeely and Cathy Bencivenga.  I have been submitting editorials before it was so easy to post.  But now I keep up with the history as so easy: editorial-thoughts-right-or-wrong/ and hope they get published: Goal is to inspire others to mentor students to build their aspirations, as it is only the young who can make the future better.


“Arts classes important part of complete education” by Arts Connect leaders 9/7/2019 – thank you for this opinion! Providing access does transform schools and our city by giving a chance to express and channel creativity, adaptability and collaboration.  But computer science education also teaches these skills and more. The Houston of tomorrow needs a prepared 21st-century workforce to create more “Sally” machines that solve real problems like easy access to healthy food. Now to get these salad bots into schools. As well as the ability to program the bots. Coding is an art form that plays the same key role as art classes. But coding art is accessible to all, even the blind and those who can’t hold a pencil.

The challenge is time. The solution to bring computer science to all ( is to integrate IT into other courses. As a computer science educator, I solved that problem by combining the art of programming with creating graphics.  This art lesson was first presented at an Expanding Your Horizons conference in 1990s.  It continues currently by teaching students to create digital flowers they can share for free. Along with colleagues, I have presented at the Houston Art Partners Conference on creating Mondrian Art. This takes the program design process from Legos, to paper, to digital art using programming languages from beginner to college.  If your art is dance, try coding a robot to do a line dance or have a dance party.

To overcome the equitable access challenge, I volunteer to train anyone interested in learning to code for free, if they sustain and scale this work.  And my best audience is high school girls who have aspirations in computing. One of our aspirations winners from Puerto Rico is creating a comic book for the UH brain research center.  We need artists to be part of our community.  Please join us at the Empowering Latinas in Tech event at UHD as we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month where we will have an outreach table.


  1. Examples of how to code art:
  2. Create digital flowers:
  3. Mondrian Art lesson:
  4. Code a robot to do a line dance:
  5. Dance party:
  6. UH brain research center:
  7. NCWIT Aspirations Resources:
  8. Anita Borg Empowering Latinas Event:

This opinion was written by Karen North, NCWIT Aspirations Houston Coordinator and White House Champion of Change for Computer Science Education.  She has taught CS, math and business in Fort Bend ISD, Alief ISD and Houston ISD starting in 1985.  Karen was one of the first certified computer science teachers in Texas. She was a writer of the first computer science TEKS and the 2011 update which created 15 CS courses, as well as writer of national CS Standards. See for her history.

WHY? – Only two Houston applicants for the Humans in Space Art Competition – asking “What will we do on the moon?”  I did try to spread the word.  Like I try to spread the word about the award.  HOW can we reach more children?  WHAT support is needed? – see AdolescentBrain for ideas.

BONUS – The Art Data of Happiness – WHY Art Connection?

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