Image courtesy of SDSC/UC San Diego.
A record 340 middle and high school students have signed up for a wide range of science and technology workshops as part of 2012 StudentTECH Summer Program, organized by the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California, San Diego.
This year, students from around the greater San Diego and Los Angeles areas, plus parts of northern California, Nevada, and Arizona, are participating. Students signed up for a total of 17 courses taught by eight instructors from several of colleges and universities including UC San Diego, National University, Palomar College, and San Diego Mesa College, as well as the San Diego Unified School District.
The course offerings, which begin this week and run through mid-August, were filled in record time. Typically three to five days long, they cover topics ranging from basic computer programming or learning how to make one’s computer more secure, to creating animations, video games, and developing websites. Other workshops will explore the world’s oceans and extreme weather events using actual geospatial datasets.
“The StudentTECH Summer Program has come a long way since we started it in 2006, when we offered only one workshop and had 14 students,” said Ange Mason, SDSC’s Education Program Manager. “This remarkable growth underscores the heightened interest among middle and high school students in computer science and technology, and this program offers a valuable, fun experience for them as they look ahead to continuing their education.”
Mapping the World
All of the StudentTECH Summer Program courses, funded solely by course registration fees, provide hands-on learning experiences by using state-of-the-art computer software and other technologies in an interesting and engaging format.
“Computer mapping software allows us to explore our planet like never before in history,” said Michelle Kinzel, an adjunct instructor of geographic information science who will present a workshop series on exploring the world’s oceans, inhabitants, and processes – even the movements of great whales – as well as another workshop that explores earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, tornadoes, monsoons, and other extreme weather phenomena.
Image courtesy of SDSC/UC San Diego.
“We’ll explore geospatial datasets collected by real-world scientists, but we’ll also create beautiful maps and explore the tallest mountains on Earth and the deepest canyons on the ocean sea floor,” said Kinzel, who teaches at San Diego Mesa College, Southwestern College, and Oregon State University.
Chris Simpson, founder and CEO of Bright Moon Security, is leading workshops on the importance of making computer systems more secure. The hands-on class will secure virtual systems that will then be attacked by a “Red Team” to determine how well they did. In addition, guest speakers will provide information on cyber security careers.
“By learning to protect computers at a deeper level, and how attackers break into computers, we hope that students will want to learn more about how computers really work, and possibly consider a career as a computer scientist.” said Simpson, a retired Naval Officer who also is an adjunct professor at San Diego’s National University for the Cyber Security and Information Assurance Masters Program.
Added James Nuanez, a freelance digital art instructor who will be leading two computer animation workshops: “StudentTECH workshops are an exciting way for students to try out different areas of study and get focused for college. I love seeing the students flourish as they explore new means of expression in the visual arts.”
Many parents have praised SDSC’s StudentTECH summer program as a fun and engaging experience for their children. Deland Lee’s son Harold, who will be starting 10th grade this fall, took five classes last summer and has signed up for four more this summer.
“The StudentTECH program provides a lot of up-to-date technology courses that were not offered in his high school,” said Lee. “So we appreciate such an opportunity provided by SDSC and wish to continue to have such opportunities in the years to come.”
“Our son, who was going into 7th grade, attended a biotechnology workshop and a geology workshop last summer and loved them both,” said parent Howard Takiff. “He wasn’t looking forward to the geology camp – he figured that looking at rocks would be boring. But it turned out to be one of the highlights of his summer because the teacher was so engaging.
“In fact, on the last day of class, he said all the kids were shouting that they wanted an advanced version of the workshop for the following summer because they enjoyed it so much,” added Takiff.
Warren R. Froelich, 858-822-3622, firstname.lastname@example.org