Program Profile


Coding with Empathy Challenge 

  • Middle School/Grades 6-8

Empatico’s Coding with Empathy Challenge, developed in partnership with, brings together middle school students from the United States and Egypt to collaborate on a series of empathy-building computer science and virtual exchange experiences.

Through synchronous (live) and asynchronous exchanges guided by educators, students explore how empathy and other social-emotional skills can help solve challenges in modern computer science. By highlighting the importance of including different perspectives in the problem-solving process, students address challenges such as ethical concerns (e.g., machine learning) and diversity gapsStudents engage in cross-cultural dialogue around their vision for the future of coding and artificial intelligence through the lens of equity, while strengthening global competencies (such as perspective taking and cross-cultural communication), technology and computing skills, collaborative problem solving, and compassion (a key aspect of empathy).


Students get to know peers in a partner classroom through collaborative, joyful coding activities that introduce basic computer science concepts and facilitate engaging dialogue. Students explore how to practice key social-emotional skills like empathy and perspective-taking in STEM as they consider the impacts of bias, ethics, and diversity in technology fields. They share insights, ideas, and feedback with their peers as they identify community challenges and leverage their new STEM skills (e.g., machine learning) to take compassionate, informed action together. At the end of the program, participants celebrate and showcase their work in a virtual or in-person community exhibition. 

Program Details
  • Number of Participants: 450
  • Participant Age Group: Middle School/Grades 6-8
  • Partners in the United States: Arizona– Girls Innovation Academy; New Mexico– New Mexico State University STEM Outreach Center; Washington, D.C – District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS)  
  • Partners in the Middle East and North Africa: Egypt – Etijah
  • Project Duration: April 2021June 2022

If you are interested in bringing this program to your institution, complete this form.

Coding with Empathy Challenge is implemented by Empatico and is supported by the J. Christopher Stevens Virtual Exchange Initiative (JCSVEI). JCSVEI is a U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs program administered by the Aspen Institute.