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Oxana Pantchenko at pantchenkooxana@fhda.edu

News

2014 Summer Camp was a great success!

STEM Summer Camps

STEM Summer Camp at Foothill College is a program for students who will be freshmen, sophomores, juniors or seniors in the Fall of 2015. We are looking for students who want to strengthen and expand their scientific knowledge and have fun!!! A variety of science and engineering concepts will be introduced through hands-on experiments.

Tentative List of Sessions for Summer 2015

  • Amusement Park Physics
  • Astronomy
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biotechnology
  • Build an App
  • Forensic Technology
  • Nanotechnology
  • Robotics
  • The Chemistry of Cooking
  • 3D Printing
  • Video Game Design

Program Logistics

STEM Summer Camp 2014 Highlights

Build an App and Video Game Design Workshops

The STEM Summer Camp filled up almost as soon as it was announced. Students got plenty of hands-on experience developing apps. They heard technical talks and and saw demos by Microsoft. Doris Chen, a Microsoft developer evangelist, was especially eye-opening to the students, many of whom thought that creating world-class apps was beyond their abilities.

Doris Chen teaching

"Many students attended the workshop wanting to develop Android apps, but Doris's presentation/demo of HTML5 and the ease with which an app could be put together using some of the free open-source technologies demonstrated by her turned many of them around." said Anand Venkataraman, Foothill Computer Science faculty and instructor of the Build-An-App workshop.

"By the afternoon of the first day, most of the students were checking out the newest and coolest features to be released in the beta version of Microsoft's Internet Explorer and by the second day, all of the students were busy developing HTML5 apps and proudly playing games they'd built with their classmates! A few of them said they were ready to export their games into native apps for Windows Phones (a simple one-step process) and list them for sale in the Microsoft App Store!"

Microsoft co-sponsored this workshop with Facebook, providing not only tee-shirts and technical demos, but also an X-Box One preloaded with games, which the students used to chill out during lunch and between coding sessions. Not surprisingly, according to Venkataraman, many students actually found developing a game as enticing as playing one on the console!

Here is a list of the games built by some of the program participants (You'll need to click on a particular student's game folder to see their game).

  • GuessIt!¬†- A simple Number Guessing Game in HTML5 written as a warm-up exercise on the first day. For many students this was their first introduction to HTML and JavaScript.
  • Space Shooter type games - built using¬†Construct2.

Not only was this workshop a resounding success with the Bay Area high-schoolers who attended, it was also a forum where they were able to share and teach each other. Panini Raman, a rising senior at the Palo Alto High School and author of a number of apps himself, was an able teaching assistant at this workshop.

"Having a high-schooler participate in a teaching capacity by lecturing and offering 1-on-1 hands-on help made a critical difference." said Venkataraman. "It further reinforced the notion that advanced skills in these areas are well within reach of segments of the population who may tend to shy away from them."

Tour of Facebook

One of the great highlights of the Build-An-App workshop was a tour of the Facebook campus followed by a meeting with Facebookers.

Facebook, co-sponsor of the workshop, said it is especially supportive of the STEM workshop whose mission is to promote STEM education amongst the under-represented demographics, a growing concern for many tech companies.

STEM tour at Facebook

"The best way to address the problem of disparity in workforce representation is to start early and encourage the underrepresented to advance their knowledge in the field" said Venkataraman, who arranged the sponsorships by Facebook and Microsoft. "What better way to do this than to get them inspired by Microsoft and Facebook?" he added. "These are technologies most of the students use on an almost daily basis. To have an opportunity to peer behind the curtain and have them demystified by their creators is perhaps the ideal way for them to start thinking 'Yes. If I apply myself, I can do it too!' "

"Next stop for me? Developing an app on the Oculus Rift VR platform" said one of the students.

"I'm very pleased to see active support by Facebook and Microsoft of a program seeking to create balance in the tech workforce." Venkataraman said. "Many companies have recently crunched the data to uncover disparities in their workforce's demographic distributions. But to see some of them promptly step up to actually do something about it is most refreshing."

STEM Summer Camp 2013 Pictures

STEM Summer Camp 2013 STEM Summer Camp 2013
STEM Summer Camp 2013
 
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