HAMPTON, Va. (July 18, 2018) — The Hampton University and Verizon Innovative Learning are partnering to bring several Hampton City Schools minority male middle school students to Hampton University’s campus. The program, which began on July 2, 2018 and runs through July 20, offers the students immersive science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) activities.
“It’s wonderful that these bright, young male students are able to participate and be involved in the Verizon Innovative Learning community and receive the technology education that they deserve,” said Hampton University President Dr. William R. Harvey. “At Hampton, we want to ensure every student, even the ones at such a young age, are able to see that absolutely anything is possible.”
By 2020, 77% of US jobs will require technology skills, yet millions of students lack access to technology and resources to help them thrive in a digital economy. Verizon Innovative Learning, the education initiative of the Verizon Foundation, addresses this issue by providing free technology, free access and innovative curriculum to students impacted by the digital divide.
During the time the students are on campus, they take several classes each day, such as Design Thinking, 3D Modeling, and Electronics, taught by university professors. They will also be creating products using the skills they learn in the various classes. “The goal of this class is to teach the students about design and the process that it takes in order to design a solution successfully, so they’re going to be asked to actually create a solution based on the sustainable development goals developed by the UN, and so they go all the way from analysis of the problem to implementation of a solution,” said Dr. Deshea Simon, Program Manager and teacher of the Design Thinking class. “At the end of the program, they will have a physical product to show that addresses one of the sustainable development goals.”
The students involved in the program are all bright, young individuals who are excited to be part of the learning experience and gain life knowledge each day. “It’s not every day that you can learn about augmented and virtual reality, creative thinking, computer science and computer design,” said middle school student Jonathan Jackson, who attends Spratley Gifted Center. “When you hear about these things, you kind of want to take advantage of them because you never know when you’re going to experience them or see them in life.”
Gabriel Monroe, a middle school student from Huntington Middle School, has learned quite a bit from the program already. “I’ve learned a lot from the professors, like building and variable light speed,” said Monroe. “I’ve been learning how to place things in augmented reality, how to use a 3D printer, and how to solve world issues. Especially, how to interact with your group members to achieve a project, instead of taking the entire load yourself.”
Students of the Verizon Innovative Learning program are 53% more engaged in school, three times better in math, and two times better in reading.
“This is an excellent opportunity for these young men to be exposed to emerging technology and to be immersed in technology as creative thinkers of the technology solutions that impacts local and global communities,” said Dr. Otsebele E. Nare, Hampton University VIL Program Leader and Associate Professor for the Hampton University School of Engineering. “We thank Verizon for the vision and support of this program, as well as continuing this partnership with Hampton University.”
While on campus, students also meet with mentors whom they will remain in contact with throughout the following year. Mentors help teach respect, how to present to an audience, and how to work together in teams.