Guest Blogger - Frank Johnson
One of the exciting aspects of attending a summer camp is the hands-on experiences they offer that aren’t part of the traditional school day. That’s the case with the program featured in this edition of the Summer At SLU Spotlight, the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp.
The camp provides activities, experiments projects and field experiences for historically underserved and underrepresented students junior high students interested and promotes science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.
On Wednesday afternoon, I sat in on a session that found groups of campers assembling their own small Raspberry Pi computer, installing an operating system and learning the basics of programming. Check out the video to see the campers in action.
Making an Impact
The session also used the practical skills the junior high students were learning to drive home a larger point: when programming knowledge is paired with a good idea and some hard work, it can change the world or revolutionize an entire industry.
The goal, according to instructor James Dudley, is to help demystify some of the more intimidating areas of technology while inspiring in the students a deeper curiosity. Dudley and his fellow instructors are part of a nonprofit that seeks to educate kids about the information technology industry.
They pointed to the examples of tech icons such as Steve Wozniak, the original developer behind Apple, and Jack Dorsey, the founder of Twitter, to show students how they have the power as individuals to make a huge impact.
By allowing students to see the systems behind modern technology, the camp can encourage students to pursue careers in the growing, high-demand fields associated with STEM. Such was the case for one camper I talked with, who’s already considering how his love of building and creating can translate into a career as a mobile app developer.
For more stories on how campers, students and athletes are having their best summer yet, make sure to visit Summer At SLU on Facebook.