Youth Highlight: Noel

Noel presenting at marketingJAM.

Noel’s Journey to Connected Lane County 

In his sophomore year at Siuslaw High School (2020), his enthusiastic computer science teacher, Mr. Mielke, approached Noel and recruited him to participate in our then-virtual youth hackathon called codeORcreate. The world was navigating the first year of COVID-19, and all extracurriculars had paused indefinitely. Noel, a computer science fanatic, had lots of time on his hands with few creative outlets, so he agreed to participate. Noel’s codeORcreate team engineered a video game that earned them a first-place prize. He and his team had a blast participating in codeORcreate and registered again during his junior and senior years. 

Confronting Challenges Through Coding 

In the summer of his junior year, Noel was named one of 52 Elevate summer interns. He wanted a summer internship to set himself apart in future job applicant pools and was interested in experiencing a professional work environment. He was paired with the Florence Habitat for Humanity and given the not-so-small task of building and rolling out the organization’s new website. 

Noel spent over 200 hours designing and constructing the new site with the Habitat team. He was met with unexpected challenges when trying to incorporate the design elements and user functionality the Habitat team imagined for their new website. Noel confronted the challenge head-on by researching the functionality and teaching himself how to write the necessary code in a programming language he had never used. 

He enjoyed the internship’s project design and management aspects, and he learned a lot about breaking a massive project up by setting small goals and timelines. 


marketingJAM is an annual three-day marketing competition hosted each January for Lane County youth interested in marketing, branding, design, and business. It is open to youth across the county. In 2023, Noel participated on Siuslaw High School’s marketingJAM team. marketingJAM allowed Noel to bring his website design and functionality skills to a marketing competition. During the weekend competition, his team mocked up a website for the nonprofit client and created supporting marketing assets. Similarly to the codeORcreate results, his team won first place. 

And… On To the Next! 

Noel graduated from Siuslaw High School and recently started at the University of Oregon. He is a Pathways scholar and received a full-ride scholarship to study Computer Science. Noel is eager to live in Eugene, reconnect with other Siuslaw HS grads currently studying at UO, and start his college adventure. Once he’s settled into college life, we look forward to working with Noel, as he has expressed an interest in working for Connected Lane County as an IT specialist, InventionLab mentor, or Tech Excelerator mentor. We can’t wait to welcome him back into the Connected Lane County fold!