Meet The Mentor: Josephine Lam

Code Monkey Mentor Extraordinaire

Written by: Jocelyn Combs and Valerie Freitas; Photo credit: Jocelyn Combs


Josephine is not only a great mentor, but a good role model for girls in the club.

Josephine started attending TriValley CoderDojo meetings last summer. She was looking for coding classes for her sons, because they enjoyed computer games so much, but her family found the club instead, and since then they have never looked back.

Although Josephine is not a programmer by trade, after her first two weeks at the club, she started learning Scratch and Code Monkey with her children, then returned as a mentor for both programs. She doesn’t mentor the program her sons are using because as she says “they’d be asking me questions all the time and I want them to ask other children and mentors.” Connor and Warren were working on Scratch tonight so Josephine mentored Code Monkey. While the two older boys were using the family laptops, Ian was working on an IPad.

Lam family

Left: Josephine helps Ian get started on the iPad. Right: Connor and Warren team up on a Scratch project.

Josephine and her family live in Pleasanton and the boys attend Mohr Elementary School. They moved to the Bay Area and TriValley in 2008 for her husband’s job, first settling in Dublin and then in Pleasanton. Josephine has a property management business while her husband works on the Peninsula.

After every CoderDojo event her boys thank their mom for taking them to “their happy place”. She claims that they are shy, but that the shyness disappears at CoderDojo.  Josephine’s sons Connor (9), Warren (7), and Ian (5) have fit right in to the club and actively take part in helping out.  Conner and Warren participate in presenting their projects during the club’s “lightning talk” sharing period at the end of the session and have readily taken the mic to help inform club members of the club rules at the start of the session.

warren and conner 3

Left: Connor and Warren stand at the podium during their presentation, and at right, Warren reviews the club rules for members.

Josephine is currently training someone to mentor in the new Livermore chapter, and she is willing to train anyone who’s interested in mentoring code monkey.  Josephine is really great with the kids and gets to know the kids by name.  She gently encourages the best in each participant, helping them to understand the code they are working on, and motivating them to present what they have learned at the end of the session during the club’s “lightning talks”.

Josephine’s wish is for the TriValley CoderDojo to offer robot classes and have enough mentors to keep it going.

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