Computer Information Systems

CyberDay Helps High School Students Explore STEM Careers

by Karen Doss Bowman

CyberDay - Spring 2017

SUMMARY: CyberDay, hosted by JMU's College of Business, promotes computer and information technology education and careers by inviting middle and high school students to campus to experience campus life and programs.

Junior Michael Melton served in the U.S Army before enrolling at JMU to pursue a double major in computer information systems (CIS) and accounting. His time in the service opened his eyes to the many needs of people in any given community. Recently, Melton offered his technology expertise to help high school students visiting the JMU campus for CyberDay. 

“Serving the community is all about helping others, which is what I got out of my time in the [military] service,” says Melton, who taught the visiting teens to program using Scratch, an interactive programming language. “The service opens your eyes to a lot of things, including the fact that there are a lot of people who need help in a whole variety of different ways. Some people are capable, they just need to be motivated. Some people are motivated, they just need direction. Some people have motivation and direction, they just need a chance. It's because of this realization in the military that I can see the true value of the CyberDay events. I just hope I can provide some level of motivation and direction to inspire these capable [high school] students to do great things. I leave it to JMU to provide the opportunity.” 

The College of Business (CoB), in partnership with JMU’s Office of Admissions, hosted the latest CyberDay on Friday, Feb. 17, for 45 ninth graders from Highland Springs High School in Henrico County. The CoB and Admissions Office sponsor multiple CyberDay events each year to encourage middle and high school students to pursue education and careers in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields--as well as to showcase JMU’s campus and academic programs. 

The high schoolers, who are part of the school’s Advanced College Academy, participated in two technology activities: computer programming, and light emitting diode construction and programming. JMU’s X Lab also offered several hands-on learning activities during the day, and several JMU student volunteers helped teach the classes.

“In terms of personal experience and growth, volunteering for CyberDay gives me a new perspective,” Melton says. “Typically I am the student, so having to teach and seeing the challenges of connecting students with material is enlightening. It is a good feeling when you can accomplish this. It is also humbling, when someone barely in high school and has never seen something ends up teaching you things about it after only one hour of interaction, it makes you realize just how smart these kids are.”

Published: Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Last Updated: Wednesday, January 2, 2019

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