Local programming instructor champions the life-changing power of coding – Silicon Prairie News

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Vanessa Kasun is debugging some code, finalizing her presentation for the upcoming Heartland Developers Conference on Sept. 24. The topic? How to build a React app from the ground up.
Kasun, an instructor at AIM Code School, will take HDC attendees from installation of the Node.js open-source cross-platform Javascript runtime environment to launching a simple yet functional app where users can interact and “do a couple cool things.”
She says it casually, nonchalantly. As if it’s something everyone can do.
Except that it’s not. Kasun’s breakout session at HDC is the culmination of years of hard work, discipline, struggle, discovery and joy in the face of a world that once tried to convince her that, as a woman with Latinx and Slavic roots, she’d never hack it as a developer.
“People of ethnicity have always been told, ‘You need to prove yourself more, you need to work harder.’” Kasun said. “And so having that double judgment put on me—where you’re a woman and you’re of ethnicity—was difficult.”
Initially, Kasun wanted to launch a professional school teaching makeup artists how to do sci-fi makeup for productions. While dreaming up her future company, she …

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