Classes and Programs

Girls Robotics Class - Learning the theory of Lego Building

Uplift's classes and programs are geared towards preK-12 students (ages 4-19) and adults. This spring our classes will focus on programming concepts, game design, artificial intelligence, computer graphics, web development, and physically building PCs.

No prior experience necessary. Our classes (below) are designed to introduce and guide your child(ren) in acquiring the basic skills needed to advance. Again, we require you to attend this the information sessions (next week) so you are prepared to enjoy additional classes designed to help you master skills in classes offered later in the year.

Questions? Please contact us as soon as possible.

Please sign-up to receive more information now!

Spring 2015 Class Roster

Click the link below to the course you'd like to register for and follow the on-screen instructions.

  1. Young Builders (STEM Exploration for 4-7 year olds)
  2. [BY POPULAR DEMAND] Introduction to Programming
  3. Computer Programming & Game Development
  4. Visual Storytelling (for game design, comics, and animation)
  5. Previous Courses & Events

Young Builders

Young Builders is a Saturday course for children who are 4 -7 years old. Parents enjoy the class so much that many elect to stay and explore with them. Youngsters will explore age-appropriate concepts of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).  These include robotics, programming, magnets, rocket launchers, water, building, origami, problem-solving, and more.  Classes occur at least once a month on Saturday at 11am for one hour.  Every class is unique, so feel free to sign-up for multiple classes.

April 18, 2015 @ 11am
Length: 1.0 hour class
Maximum: 7 students

Instructor: Leshell Hatley

Registration Open Until: April 10, 2015

RSVP for Information Session

Child's Name and Age
Parent email

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[BY POPULAR DEMAND] Introduction to Programming Using Scratch

Thanks for your continued interest and support! We have received several requests for a weekend Introduction to Programming Course. So we have setup a 6-Weekend course in response. However, we will only offer it if at least 10 students register. The course will use Scratch 2.0 and will move to other platforms and languages depending on student progress. If you want your son or daughter to begin learning how to program, this is the perfect launching course. More advanced courses (game design, robotics, etc.) will follow depending on interest.

First session start April 11th:

  • Everyone: Saturdays, 1-2:30pm
  • A 2nd 6-week (6 Saturdays) has been added. It will start June 27th. Please use the same paypal link to register.

RSVP for Information Session

Student's Full Name and Age
Parent email

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Computer Programming & Game Development *Competition: Cash Prizes

Uplift's Bootstrap Game Design Course: Summer 2012

No experience necessary! Game design is one of the ultimate STEAM+CS challenges! In this 6-week class, students will be introduced to computer programming using Scratch 2.0 and will immediately turn quick into a world of game design and development using other development environments. Because Uplift, Inc. also focuses on ART, we have to offer a game design course. In it, students will learn the fundamentals of programming along with stretching their visual creativity as they work to plan and create the elements of a game. The goal is to publish the games for the web and mobile devices (iOS & Android). Students will compete for cash prizes in our Computer Programming (e.g. functional complexity) and Game Design (visual appeal) Competitions (sponsored by Yahoo!). Students will be encouraged to form teams. You may also want to get your game scoring (music) skills ready as well. We won't teach game scoring (yet), but what is a game with its music?

NOTE: It is highly recommended to take the Visual Storytelling course as well (as least one person on each team). After all, one key to every great game is a great story!

Course starts April 6th

  • Up to 6th Grade: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 5:15-6:15pm
  • 7th grade & Up: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 6:30-7:30pm
  • Course: April 6th - May 14th
  • Maximum: 10 students (First come, first serve)

Instructor: Leshell Hatley, Executive Director of Uplift, Inc.

Registration Open Until: April 2, 2015

RSVP for Information Session

Student's Full Name and Age*
Parent email*

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Visual Storytelling
Dawud Anyabwile

Visual Storytelling focuses on sequential art and storytelling in addition to teaching students foundational drawing techniques. Students are taught the fine art basics at the beginning of the course such as how to sketch and draw basic shapes. The course then moves into perspective, lighting and composition. This may be a refresher to some students who may already know but often many students still have problems with the basics. Games, animation, storyboards and comics are all based on the sequence of the illustrations or the concepts of movement. So it is not just about drawing one image but learning how to draw these images in sequence like making a film. Changing angles, cinematic lighting and interesting perspectives. One course is not enough, but this one is enough to get you started. From here, you can focus on your own visual story - until the next course is scheduled! ;)

Information Session Required:

  • Wednesday, April 1st @ 6pm
  • Thursday, April 2nd @ 6pm

Class starts Monday, April 6th (minimum required: 5 students; Maximun 10 students)

Classes are Mondays: 6-7:30pm

All ages welcome!

Instructor: Dawud Anyabwile, Co-Creator of Brotherman Comics

Registration Open Until: April 2, 2015

RSVP for Information Session

Student's Full Name and Age*
Parent email*

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Past Courses, Events, and Accomplishments

Uplift Hosts Scratch Summer Camp for 3rd & 4th Graders at Tree of Life Community Public Charter School!

Scratch Summer Camp @ Tree of Life Community Public Charter School

Uplift Hosts 'CAMP (CS)2' at Howard University Middle School of Mathematics & Science this Summer!


Uplift's 3rd Annual Scratch Day DC was a Major Success!

Uplift's 3rd Annual Scratch Day DC

View Photos

Check out our Scratch Studio of Projects from the day!

Click here for more information about Scratch Day in general.


Uplift introduces Girls to Robotics @ Girls Rock! Event

Leshell Hatley, Founder of Uplift, introduces GirlScout Troop to Engineering Concepts at George Mason University

View more pics and clips...


Our robotics classes teach the basics of design, construction, and programming of Lego WeDo and Lego Mindstorms. Students learn about simple and complex machines and are guided through the construction and programming of robots. Shortly after, students can apply what they've learned to construct and program their own creations (e.g. the video above).

Instructor: Leshell Hatley

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Game Design with Flash

Have you ever wanted to make a game such as the legendary Angry Birds? If so, then this is the class to be in!! This introductory Flash Game Design course is an introductory level course that teaches the fundamental concepts of game designing using an easy to learn game design platform called StencylWorks. StencylWorks is a free flash-based game design tool that allows users to create flash games for the web. Flash is a great tool for creating web-based games, and can also be sold to sponsors for a profit. If you want to learn more about how everything works, come join us.  We hope to see you!

Instructors: Muhammad Hawkins and Hamza Hawkins

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Program a Baseball Simulator

Uplift, Inc. is seeking 4 dedicated high-school students to design, code, and test a baseball simulator.  The team would meet for 2 hours, twice a week, for each of the two, one month sessions. Upon completion of the first phase of the project, students will go to a baseball game and research further improvements for the simulator. The end result of the project is to design a program that can work with real team and player statistics to predict the outcome of a game between 2 real teams.

Instructors: Benjamin Russell and Marco Jacobs

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Artificial Intelligence for Two-Player Games

Uplift is seeking 5 students for a course in Artificial Intelligence. Students will make an AI player for a simple game (tic-tac-toe, nim, dots & boxes) of the student’s choosing. This class is for students who have built at least one interactive game/app (i.e., that requires tracking state) before. Students will learn about two-player games and how to play (and win) as a human. Students will review game concepts such as representation, state, and winning conditions.

Instructor: Marianna Martindale

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Introduction to Web Development

An introduction to web development is an entry level course covering the basics of developing for a web-based platform (website, mobile app, etc.).  This course will teach the broader fundamentals of the web and give students a foundation in web development skills platform. The skills learned in this class will prepare students for follow-up courses in developing apps for Windows Phone 8.

Instructor: Ebony Washington

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Introduction to Java ...and a Little App Development

This course introduces students to the Java programming language.  It will focus on concepts, techniques, technologies and APIs for android application development  Concepts and techniques covered include client/server programming, database abstraction APIs and coding.  The course will focus on skills for developing algorithms, and for writing and debugging programs. Students will learn how to accomplish a specific task with code samples you can re-use in your project. Students will also begin to learn chinese.s

Instructor: Wei Zhang

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Computer Graphics, Kinect (XBox)

Seeking students 14 and older who are interested in computer graphics.  Two classes show you a few topics including the kinect sensor (from the XBox) and the way it uses body tracking and object recognition. The first week will be about computer graphics using Processing, and writing a simple flight simulator (here's a very basic version: <>). The second week will be about computer vision using OpenCV and the Kinect sensor. 

Length: 2 class sessions

Instructor: Yi-Kai Liu

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Computer Wiz Kids PC Building and Troubleshooting

Up to 15 students will learn to build and take apart computers, troubleshooting techniques, how to back up data, how to upgrade and speed up computers. In addition, protecting and removing spyware, malware, and fatal viruses. Each student will be challenged at their appropriate level in a fun learning environment in four classes. 

For a more detailed description of the class, click on this link:

v Tune-up your laptop and desktop, configure and install Windows

v Set up and configure your home network, share printers and files

v What is the Cloud? Understand Cloud storage to backup PCs, tablets and cellphones.

v Upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7 and 8 without losing your data.

v Transfer data from one computer to another. 

Instructor: Gerard Cooper


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Introduction to Android App Development for Adults

June 2013 Class Testimonies:

"Leshell taught us some very important things to consider before even opening App Inventor, especially that one should create apps that increase productivity, improve quality of life, or serve some other helpful purpose, and not just to make a profit." CS

"I definitely enjoyed the class. This class informed me about how readily open sources are available for application development." PD

"I really appreciate Leshell's teaching style. She makes the whole process simple and not intimidating - you can really enter this class with no programming background at all." KB


This 2-day course in app development using MIT App Inventor occurs monthly, so if you miss one month, you can sign-up the next. The fee is $80.00 and will be used to offset fees for students in our programs for youth.  From the App Inventor  website:

“Creating an App Inventor App begins in your browser where you design how the app will look. Then, like fitting together puzzle pieces, you set your app’s behavior. All the while, through a live connection between your computer and your phone, your app appears on your phone. “

Prerequisite(s): None

Stay tuned for the next class!

Cost: $80.00

Instructor: Leshell Hatley


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Monthly HackerSpace

This unstructured time is available for any students enrolled in other classes as well as experienced programmers (any age) who want to come share space, guidance and feedback, and programming abilities. Students and professional software developers will meet to work on their own projects and/or group projects, offer feedback, and simply stay connected and learn together. We can also connect via Google hangouts for those who are not in the immediate area.  These sessions  generally occur on Saturday evenings (3rd Saturday of the month).  

(For Students) Enrollment in 1 other class or have advanced programming knowledge and experience

Length: ~3 hours

Once a month, Saturdays, 5-8pm

July 20th, @ the Lab
June 29th, @ the Microsoft Store, Pentagon City
May 18th, Scratch Day DC 2013

Seats Available:  15

Cost:  Donation

Facilitator: Leshell Hatley


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  1. Myles & Ayesha® (Learning Technology)

  2. GirlCrew® (Website for Girls)

  3. The Black Scholars Index® (Website featuring Scholars from the Black Diaspora)

MYLES & AYESHA™ lead a research effort in culturally relevant learning technology. They are positioned as 'learning companions' and provide children, especially African-American children, with reflections of themselves and their ways/behaviors as they learn and grow. We believe placing them within the learning context gives children a sense of familiarity, encourages more interest and engagement, and provides them with a companion as they learn. This belief will be tested in various forms of learning technology - animation, mobile technology, interactive games and activities, as well as books and other forms of written material. Thus, making this a research and development effort. top

GirlCrew! is a web-based community designed to encourage girls to embrace their individual and collective power. This project launched in 2003 (formerly called 'Project Aiesha') and was reborn during the summer of 2011. The website is still in progress. A team of Youth APPLab girls have been working on an app and the webite, with the hope of officially launching both by Thanksgiving 2011. The site is viewable now, but please remember, construction is still in progress. top


Black Scholars Index (BSI) (Relaunching September 2012) A timeless online index of Black Scholars from across the world. Black scholars are featured daily along with information about their lives, education, and their areas of work and interests. The site has been in operation since the beginning of 2008 and has won an research award and has been featured in the 2009 Digital Humanitites Conference. top