JMU News

Valley Scholars to build own computers Friday

by Madison Buiting


Harrisonburg, Virginia — Up to 40 ninth-grade students from central Shenandoah Valley high schools will get to build and program their own computers Friday, February 25 at James Madison University.

Reporters are welcome to cover the workshop at 9:30 a.m. in Madison Hall on the JMU campus. 

The students, enrolled in JMU’s Valley Scholars program, will learn the principals of STEM in the workshop funded by a grant from Merck.

“Learn by doing” is a goal of this workshop. Students will be guided by staff and university faculty as they go through each step of the hands-on building and programming process.

In addition to STEM concepts, the students will learn critical thinking skills and challenge their analytical abilities.

The workshop aims to overcome the barrier to technological access that many students from low and low-middle income families face. According to the Pew Research Center, 54% of families earning less than $30,000 have a personal computer in the home, while 94% of families with an income over $100,000 report owning a computer.

In an increasingly virtual world, access to a personal computer is essential for academic success. By the end of the workshop, students will have their own, functioning computer that will aid in academic pursuits as they go through high school.

The Valley Scholars program is designed to provide educational enrichment for first-generation middle and high school students who show academic potential.

Personal computer building is just one example of the many opportunities that Valley Scholars offers to students. Throughout their time in the program, participants will be exposed to engaging and motivating educational and cultural activities.

The program also reaches parents, grandparents and siblings, creating an investment in access along with a promising future.


Contact: Eric Gorton,, 540-908-1760

More information about James Madison University, including rankings and recognitions can be found at

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Published: Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Last Updated: Wednesday, February 23, 2022

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