As promising as kids’ ready adoption of new technology is, America is still facing a challenge in channeling that youthful enthusiasm into careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). Happily, organizations in Tampa Bay such as Computer Mentors Group (CMG) are enlisting the help of technology professionals in the region to encourage disadvantaged local youth to pursue STEM careers. Jody Haneke has seen the amazing transformations CMG leaders and mentors have made in the lives of Tampa Bay kids who were eager to learn tech skills but had limited opportunities to do so. When CMG called and asked him to speak to high school students enrolled in their STEM Corps program this summer, he immediately said yes.
“Closing the ‘digital divide’ that persists in many communities in Tampa Bay is key to our region’s future success,” said Jody. “But more importantly, it can help transform the lives and fortunes of so many bright and talented kids in our local community who would otherwise get left behind. With three kids of my own, I know how easily children can pick up new technology skills and before you know it, they’re mastering them. Every kid should have the chance to experience that sense of discovery and accomplishment. I can’t wait to share all the cool things they can do as designers and developers – and show them how awesome careers in fields like game design and mobile app development are within their grasp.”
Jody will be sharing his love of design, user experience, and mobile application development with students in the STEM Corps program. He’ll talk to them about his own journey from Ringling College of Art and Design to running his own successful interactive agency and the ups and downs he’s experienced along the way. Finally, he’ll show the students the kinds of work they can produce as designers and developers, and the financial and other rewards they can reap along the way.
CMG’s STEM Corps High School provides critically needed exposure to technology careers and mentoring opportunities for Tampa youth who may never have had the opportunity to interact with someone working in a STEM field. This unique initiative, offered as an after school and summer program, is free. It acquaints students with technology leaders who share their passion for their careers, teaches skills in Microsoft Office applications, web design, videography and mobile app development, and provides real-world experience in leadership and project management. This development makes them attractive candidates for internships and employment in the information technology industry.
Interested in mentoring some deserving kids and get them excited about STEM careers? Visit www.computermentors.org to learn more.