Applications Now Open – Fourth Annual “How to Look Cool Online” Web Development Workshop

This summer of 2024 will mark the fourth annual summer web development workshop “How to Look Cool Online” (HTLCO), a workshop concept created by Jacob Arnez, EchoX Youth Council Alumni, to help students with little or no coding experience overcome fears of coding to create their own online platforms for self-expression. Highline Community College Faculty Aaron Ottinger and Microsoft Software Engineers Hasibur Rahman and Fariha Zainab all were integral to the development of this workshop’s first iteration.

Interested in the 2024 workshop? Apply here!

Last summer, with Prof. Ottinger’s guidance and support, we introduced a new workshop feature by hiring two high school students with strong coding backgrounds as teaching assistants. Isabel Amaya and Justin Huang did an amazing job in preparation and presentation, providing workshop attendees with even more peer perspective and support. We plan to have more teaching assistants this summer, for which applications are also open.

Most of our student participants have never coded and leave the workshop with a greater sense of technical competency and self-confidence. The feedback we receive, both during and outside of the workshop sessions, shows that students grow more confident expressing themselves online, become comfortable using HTML and CSS, and learn the creative side of coding. And of course, a critical aspect of their success is the program’s inclusive and welcoming environment, which supports students throughout the learning process.

Student backgrounds range from those who have some coding experience, to those who have never coded. Many of our participants come to the workshop feeling intimidated by coding, but are surprised that it can be a creative method of expression. One of our participants from last summer had had a bad experience in coding at school and lost interest. He took our workshop hoping for a better experience. Below is his comment:


“I am excited to finish EchoX’s 3 weeks summer program. My time learning HTML reintroduced the childlike creativity, innovation, and fun I had in coding years ago. In the next couple of weeks, I will be continuing to develop my skills in creating a personalized portfolio.”

-2023 HTLCO Student Participant


Websites can cover any topic of interest to the student related to their ethnic cultural identity. Past website themes have included relatives’ immigration stories, cooking websites, poetry or photography showcases, and even fashion design.

At the conclusion of the workshop, we encourage participants to further their work for an additional week so they can receive feedback from individuals in the tech industry on the website’s strengths and areas for improvement. This feedback is done in the form of a contest with cash prizes!

The Student Winners from 2023 “How to Look Cool Online”

Note: To respect participant privacy, we have only highlighted what work they consent to publishing.

Best Implementation of Technical Features & Best Overall

Student: Lilian

Personal Statement: “I created The Latino Kitchen website with the purpose of sharing dishes from my cultural ethnic background as a Latino. I am Puerto Rican as well as Argentinian and throughout this website you can see different recipes that are original family ones from both sides of my family. Throughout this workshop, not only did I learn how to code with HTML, but I also became passionate about my website and its features so as to best get my message across in the most captivating and fun way possible. I worked hard on my website and the EchoX staff hosting this workshop worked with me and dedicated time to personalize each question and comment they had. I had the best experience participating in this workshop and highly recommend it to others in the future!”

Sample of Judges’ Feedback: “The cleanliness of this website is stellar. I immediately knew what this site was about as soon as I hit the link. The level of detail given for the blurb at the top of each recipe is spot on; it’s short (so it doesn’t take away from the focus of the food), but wonderfully authentic (referencing the holidays, or how it’s your brother’s favorite dish, and so on). Honestly, I don’t really have much to add to make this site better.”

Best Community Reflection

Student: Gabriel

Personal Statement: “My experience with this opportunity was amazing. I really enjoyed learning a brand-new useful skill, I also enjoyed the feeling of looking back on what I didn’t have and looking at what I have and saying “Wow! I did this!” I really appreciate all the help my family and the EchoX staff has giving me, I would not be here today if it weren’t for them.”


Sample of Judges’ Feedback: “Overall, the strength of this website is in the details and in the pictures. Reading all the descriptions really gave me a sense of who Gabriel is, where he comes from, and the pride he has for being Latino. It’s notable that every picture he chose, everyone is smiling, which just gives a sense of joy! I couldn’t help but smile myself as I went through the website!”

To the students, thank you for all your hard work and your continual support of EchoX’s programs. The passion each of you demonstrate to share your stories is what makes our programs unique. You have blown us away with the websites you created and the stories you have shared.  We cannot wait to see what the 2024 workshop participants create!

Apply for the 2024 workshop here!

Our Northwest ethnic cultural communities have stories to tell and we need your support to amplify them! Donate $5 or $10 to help us continue raising the visibility of Northwest cultural community organizations and members. Follow us on social media or sign up for our mailing list to stay up to date on the latest in the Northwest.