Rollins College student and Bonner Leader Sam Sadeh is helping to promote computer science in local schools and communities with the help of a grant from Google. IgniteCS, an initiative that Google started three years ago, allows student-led groups to pitch a project that will implement computer science into communities. The student groups ask Google for funding and support to bring that project into fruition.
Dr. Dan Myers received a promotional call from Google in August about igniteCS, and advised Sam to put together a project to pitch to Google. Sam has connections at Fern Creek, a Title I, high-need elementary school, so he designed a program and proposal, sending it to Google in September, with Dr. Myers as his advisor. Funding only about 30-40 projects in the past 3 years alone, Google decided to award a grand for Sam’s project.
Sam, along with Rollins student volunteers, will be visiting Fern Creek once a week beginning this semester for hour and a half long sessions with the 4th grade class. They will be teaching students computer science topic using ‘Scratch’ programming and language. ‘Scratch’ was developed at MIT to be an educational programming environment, teaching students to take graphical components and put them together, making it easy to create animations. The child-friendly software allows the students to write stories that have animations or create their own stories. Sam designed this project around a creative aspect, hoping it will demystify computers for the elementary students.
This is the first time Rollins has done such a program. This spring, Sam and Dr. Myers will be able to find out what is going to work and what’s not going to work, learning alongside the elementary students they mentor. Their hope is that this will be a sustainable program at Rollins for future students to collaborate with Google and implement computer science into the local community—a hope that Google shares, provided that Rollins continues to meet eligibility. IgniteCS requires a minimum of 5 participating college students, with at least one upperclassman and one lowerclassman as student leaders.
Sam was assisted in writing and leading this proposal by Julie Anna Contino, Alexandra DeLucia, Grace Soto, and Hannah Holman. Sam’s project is still open to a few more Rollins students who want to volunteer. Anyone can get involved—a computer science major is not necessary. Rollins students who are involved have virtual access to Google engineers as advisors, resume workshops, practice interviews, and guest speakers. This is a unique and fulfilling opportunity for Rollins, and a remarkable experience for Rollins students to participate. Continue to follow us as we share Sam and his team’s journey with igniteCS.
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