Inside junior Pia Atal’s Cosmo Coding

Training the next generation of coders


Pia Atal

Cosmo Coding is a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to educating students in coding at no cost. Students from grade three and higher can learn to code by attending weekly online classes with other students and tutors. Classes are in six week sessions that occur every few months. There are four different classes currently offered: Scratch, Intro to Python, Intermediate Python and Advanced Python. 

Founder and Curriculum Developer, Pia Atal, is one of many tutors at Cosmo Coding. Atal was first exposed to coding by her father, a software engineer.

“He initially introduced coding to me through Scratch, a block-based coding language, which is an easier way to learn the concepts of coding. As I got older and went to middle school, I moved onto Swift Playground, which is more app-based coding. It is still block-based, but it is more complicated than Scratch,” said Atal. 

As Atal expanded her knowledge of coding, she became more familiar with different coding languages. She took a coding class for Python in middle school and found joy in using this coding language. Atal also took a course through Cornell, becoming certified in Python.

“From there, I have taken classes to learn more about coding and different languages. I have been coding for many years and I am always working on a new project,” Atal said.

On Nov. 15, Atal visited Red Oak Elementary School to speak with Mrs. Sandler, the computer teacher, about incorporating Python into part of their curriculum for older students.

“We plan on going to the local elementary schools to introduce them to Python. We hope the students will want to learn more about coding and will sign up for classes through Cosmo Coding,” Atal said.

Atal loves to teach other students how to code, and finds it very rewarding when a student of hers understands a concept she has taught them or improves on their coding skills.

“My favorite part is teaching classes, seeing the smile on kids’ faces when they finish a project, presenting a project, or figuring out how to debug an error in their code. It is amazing to see how much they improve during each session and how excited they are to code when they log into each zoom meeting. It is so nice to know that I am able to use the knowledge that I have learned toward something good and to help other students also gain this knowledge,” said Atal. 

Visit Cosmo Coding for more information