Want to study Computer Science? What if you were just told 'NO'?

By Chevas Balloun

Last Updated: December 27th 2022

Want to study Computer Science? What if you were just told 'NO'?

From past html hobbyist and retired Nuclear Medicine Technologist to Bootcamp Instructor, Nucamp.

"You only regret what you never tried to do."

This is Lori Haffelt, a Full Stack graduate living out her passion, including being an Instructor for Nucamp.

What led her from taking a bootcamp straight to teaching one­—and what brought her to taking a bootcamp in the first place?

Well, here is her inspiring story.

Lori is a cheery, silver-haired woman who is not easily discouraged by the word "no".

When Lori was 9 she built a Ham radio with her dad and eventually got a Ham operator’s license.

In high school she was fascinated with old machines, like reel-tapes, and had a knack for mathematics (she placed 4th in a high school state math competition).

She absorbed all she could about the subject by reading books, Popular Science magazine, and more.

Unlike many people who don't know what they want to do after high school, Lori knew: go to college for Computer Science.

We don't allow women in the Computer Science department.

When was the last time you heard, "we don't allow women in the Computer Science department" keep in mind this was in the 70's and that's exactly what happened.

Arriving at Ohio University she was faced with the reality that they did not accept women into the CS division...

Not one to give up so easily, she pivoted, even against the school's protest by pursuing a degree in biochemistry but then had to drop out after 3 years due to financial aid drying up.

She didn’t let these misfortunes keep her away from her passion.

By finding yet another path toward her goal of working with computers she went into Nuclear Medicine.

Here she programed in BASIC and was able to be a part of the “nerdy” side of Radiology.

Lori enjoyed a long and successful career as a Nuclear Medicine Technologist, but still found herself learning HTML and CSS on the side.

She made websites for friends, created custom layouts, and eventually designed MySpace pages too.

Lori’s career as Nuclear Medicine Technologist came to an end when an injury forced her to retire.

After retiring she moved to Florida with plenty of plans and activities she wanted to do...sadly COVID came along and stopped everything.

Being used to an 80-hour work week, things became tedious when most events were shut down or canceled.

She would pass the time playing the clarinet and helping people troubleshoot tech problems—she was considered the "tech geek" in her 55+ community.

With more time on her hands than she was used to, Lori’s passion for tech and her background in BASIC, HTML and CSS had her thinking this was a great opportunity to finally pursue her first dream that was denied to her in her past.

"After all these years being shut out of CS, I looked around and said ‘I can still do this’. I discovered I could, even if I’m 60, still learn about coding."

Looking for the right bootcamp also came with its challenges as most were in big cities and required taking on a lot of debt or giving up half your salary.

Nucamp was different; Lori liked that Nucamp’s bootcamps introductory course, Web Dev Fundamentals, was an affordable $349 4-week course and combined self and collaborative learning with an instructor.

Loving the introductory course, Lori then transitioned into the Full Stack bootcamp.

"This is so cool. It was nice having a guiding hand, having a human touch. At the Workshop, I could ask all the questions I needed to get more insight. I liked the whole idea, the whole experience that Nucamp can bring a bootcamp to you."

Between being denied a degree in CS just for being a woman, being refused financial aid, and eventually an injury taking her out of her career, Lori’s path to coding wasn’t easy, but she didn't give up and paved her own way.

And while this isn't our typical story of a student getting the software engineer or web developer role they are often looking for, we were happy to offer Lori a role as an instructor as she pursues her lifelong goal.

Her contagious passion is one of the main reasons why we're having her come on board as an instructor.

She is now happily sharing that passion with students and hopes to help others see they can do it too.

What advice do you have for people who are thinking about attending a bootcamp, but haven't yet registered?

"You only regret what you never tried to do. If you've got the $349, do the Web Dev Fundamentals and go for it. You can try it and see if it clicks for you and go from there."

Chevas Balloun

Director of Marketing & Brand

Chevas has spent over 15 years inventing brands, designing interfaces, and driving engagement for companies like Microsoft. He is a practiced writer, a productivity app inventor, board game designer, and has a builder-mentality drives entrepreneurship.