“While we can host virtual programs, meeting in-person allows students to get to know us outside of the classroom,” Hunter said. “During Robotics week, it rained after dinner, so our evening activities were canceled. In place of our original activities, we had a line dancing session in the girls’ dorm. During Connected, one student cooked shrimp alfredo. In a virtual environment, these amazing interactions are difficult to have.”[email protected] Cybersecurity

Week One began with [email protected] Cybersecurity, an innovative program designed to increase students’ interest in cybersecurity careers and online safety. Sixteen students participated in exploratory lessons while increasing their knowledge about online personal safety, computer networking, mobile security, cryptography, cloud computing, cyber-crime, and ethics.Celeste Molina, a junior at Hargrave High School, said, “I discovered how easy it is to hack someone if they’re not being careful about what they post on social media. As a result, I’m adjusting my social media habits by doing things like not tagging locations and creating posts with minimal details.”

Molina also appreciated the spirit of camaraderie she saw at camp.

“I love how everyone was so ambitious and personable,” Molina said. “I enjoyed spending time with the other campers and our counselors — we’re all going to keep in touch.”

Nikki Hendricks is a cybersecurity education specialist with the Expanding Pathways in Computing (EPIC) team at TACC. Hendricks, who launched a cybersecurity collaborative in June, believes cybersecurity education must be improved in classrooms.

“The importance of managing your online presence, privacy, and security were key components of [email protected] Cybersecurity week,” Hendricks said. “Students learned the value of protecting their data, the skills necessary to lock down their social media accounts, and the significance of projecting a positive image through their social media activities.”

[email protected] Robotics

Week Two was [email protected] Robotics, which introduces students to programming and electronics. Twenty-four students used machine learning algorithms to program miniature cars to detect human faces, stop signs, and primary colors. To accomplish these tasks, students learned the programming language Python and how to use artificial intelligence.”Learning how to program the miniature cars to start and stop was exciting, and I loved bonding with the other campers,” said Isis Maxwell, a junior at Kipp East End High School. “Campers and counselors were able to laugh and have fun together. I will never forget the friends I made at camp.”

Kennedy Newbell, a sophomore at Tarrant County College South/Fort Worth ISD Collegiate High School, echoes this sentiment.

“I enjoyed the experience of staying in the dorms, so that I know what to expect when I go off to college,” Newbell said. “I also enjoyed meeting students who attend Early College High Schools, like me.”

(From left to right): Yaritza Cruz-Villarreal, Luis Medina, and Isaiah Sanders work to complete a final coding project using Python and their AutoAuto Cars. Credit: TACC

[email protected] Connected

The third and final week of the program was [email protected] Connected, where students explore the relationship between coding and communities. Sixteen campers used networked sensors to collect data and create models for environmentally relevant problems. Students also learned how data can be used to tell a science story.Abdon Morales, a senior at IDEA Montopolis High School, said: “I loved touring the TACC facilities at the J.J. Pickle Research Campus, seeing the telescope on top of the Physics, Math, and Astronomy Building, and data collecting at the Brackenridge Field Laboratory. At camp, most of the new friends that I made have some knowledge on basic programming languages like JavaScript, Java, and Python.”

[email protected] 2022 was partially funded by a $120,000 gift from the Harman-Mayes-Sooch Family Fund, the sixth grant TACC has received from the philanthropic fund. The camps also received funding from KLE, Cisco and BP.

“Our work has always been rooted in the belief that education is the key for economically disadvantaged children and families to escape poverty and access higher-paying employment opportunities,” said Janet Harman, who founded the family fund in 2004.

[email protected] started in 2015 with just 50 students. Now in its seventh year, the program has served more than 500 students with the majority from African American/Black and Hispanic/Latinx backgrounds. Forty-five percent of the participants have been girls, and 44 percent have been first-generation college aspirants.

Participants and families are invited to [email protected] quarterly outreach events to continue learning coding, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills, and to benefit from academic and professional development workshops.

Recently, TACC launched the Susan Fratkin Scholarship, which aims to address educational inequities and support undergraduate student persistence in higher education. Scholarships will be awarded to [email protected] alumni, with the first recipients to be awarded in 2023.

[email protected] students are so talented, and some are already changing the world,” said E&O director Rosalia Gomez. “I look forward to seeing the things our alumni will accomplish and the ways they will improve their communities.”

To see more images, see the original article from Damian Hopkins here.

Source: Damian Hopkins, TACC