Hampton University
Verizon Innovative Learning Program Presented by Hampton University
07/12/2016 - #2
Hampton, Va. - Several middle school students from Hampton City Schools participated in a 2-week program at Hampton University that immersed them in computer science and engineering. During the program that concluded on July 8, students created products using the skills they learned in the various classes. Students from Newport News Public Schools are currently participating in the program.  
 
The Verizon Innovative Learning Program Presented by Hampton University brings technology and hands-on learning opportunities to students in underserved schools and communities. Minority boys from middle schools across Hampton Roads have been given the opportunity to learn technology skills this summer at Hampton University.
 
“We had about 25 young, middle school African-American males, they have really creative, innovative ideas, about technology and making our lives better,” said Karen Campbell, Regional Vice President of Public Policy at Verizon. “That's really what the program is all about, giving young African-American men an opportunity to learn and spark an interest in STEM education.”  
 
The first-of-its-kind, two-year program exposes young male minority students to technology, including coding and 3D printing, and provides valuable science, technology, engineering, math, and entrepreneurship skills. The first session of the program pulled 25 students from Hampton schools. The second session pulled 25 students from Newport News students.
 
“I think this is a great opportunity for the Verizon program, the students have grown so much,” said Angela Byrd-Wright, principal of Lindsay Middle School in Hampton. “It's a great opportunity for them to really explore STEM fields but also really see the great potential that they maybe didn't know that they had inside of themselves over the last two weeks.”
 
Over the summer students will be participating in technology workshops on campus, 4-5 days per week taught by university professors. 
 
“This project got them thinking about engineering and computer science by engaging them with app development and 3D printing, and the next step is to move on and get them more interested in math and science,” said Dr. Eric Sheppard, HU Associate Professor of Engineering.
 
“This program confirmed what we already knew," said Dr. Arthur Affleck, HU Associate Vice President for Development. “This program cultivated their latent talents by exposing them to STEM and it also connected parents to the process. All of our participatnts will come back next year and we're going to add another 25 young men to the program.”
 
The program also pairs the young men with mentors for continued learning and support throughout the school year.  The program is designed to open the eyes of young male students to the many future career opportunities these skills create.
 
“My son really enjoyed the program. He talked a lot about the 3D printing, the field trip that the kids went on, and the cafeteria lunch. I think it a really good college experience for the kids. My son wants to be an engineer, so this was really good exposure for him,” said Eddie Robinson, a parent of a student participant.
 
“The program was really fun,” said middle-schooler Qualee Arrington. “We all came in together and we came out strong knowing each other, and we put our heads together to build some great things. The main thing I liked about this program was when we had to use teamwork to build everything.”

 


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