Computer Information Systems

CyberDay Sparks STEM Interests

by Karen Doss Bowman

image: /_images/cob/cis/cyber-day-fall-2017-01-1000x600.jpg

SUMMARY: The latest College of Business CyberDay event brings 15 middle schoolers to campus to learn more about computer programming.

The College of Business (CoB), in partnership with On the Road Collaborative - a local non-profit youth empowerment program - hosted the latest CyberDay on Saturday, Oct. 21. Fifteen students from Skyline Middle School participated, gaining a first-hand look at opportunities in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields.

The students’ first activity was to create a small computer animation story using Alice, a software package developed by Carnegie Mellon University that encourages creative exploration while learning programming skills. Students also participated in team innovation activities which involved making enhancements to a process that allowed them to do an activity faster and more efficiently. 

The CoB has hosted CyberDay programs for more than 10 years, hoping to promote diversity in the STEM fields which have traditionally attracted only small numbers of women, people of color and first-generation college students.  

“A CyberDay event is a great opportunity for both the middle school students we serve and the college students we prepare for computer information systems careers,” says computer information systems & business analytics professor Tom Dillon, the Price Waterhouse Coopers—Dan Caputo Teaching Professor. “We allow the college student volunteers to engage with the kids in small groups where they encourage creativity, share knowledge and act as role models. We familiarize the middle schoolers with advanced technology and problem solving skills, that build confidence. We hope this understanding and confidence inspires them to plan a future in one of the many computer fields. Ultimately we want them to enroll and attend JMU, a great university in their own back yard.”

Published: Friday, October 27, 2017

Last Updated: Friday, October 27, 2017

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