New Mexico State University’s computer science department, in collaboration with the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship, will host a free Verizon Innovative Learning STEM enrichment summer camp for 100 middle school boys. Although targeted to middle school boys, the program is inclusive of all genders and non-binary students.
Beginning July 12 through July 30, students will learn design thinking, 3D printing, augmented reality and social entrepreneurship skills. Following the three-week summer program, students will participate in one session per month on Saturdays throughout the school year to continue learning. The program will be taught by current NMSU computer science students and previous camp teachers.
“Opportunities like this are very important for students who do not get access to camps like this,” said Adan Delval, director of the Verizon Innovation Learning STEM enrichment program at NMSU. “It is an opportunity to explore areas such as computer science, engineering and other STEM related fields.”
Students in previous programs have demonstrated increased interest in various areas, including a 92% increase in engagement in school and a 94% increase in interest in attending a four-year college according to the 2019 program impact report.
In 2017, the computer science department received a two-year grant to implement the Verizon Innovative Learning STEM enrichment program. The program is part of Verizon’s education initiative which addresses barriers to digital inclusion and is a key program under Citizen Verizon, the company’s responsible business plan for economic, environmental and social advancement to help move the world forward for all.
The department has since hosted two programs but had to postpone last summer’s program because of the pandemic. Due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, the program will be virtual with hopes the once-a-month sessions during the academic year can be in person.
“Despite the program going virtual, we are excited because we are able to expand to more students in other communities like Hatch, Deming or Alamogordo,” Delval said. “The challenges we will be facing are students suffering from virtual burnout.”
During the camp, students will be exposed to augmented reality utilizing merge cubes, coding and presentation and communication skills. Students will also learn basic entrepreneurial mindset skills and design thinking during these activities. During the in-person sessions students will have the opportunity to use RVR robots and utilize mobile devices to learn about virtual reality.
Middle school students from the Deming, Hatch Valley, Alamogordo and Las Cruces Public Schools will be selected for the ease of traveling to Las Cruces during the Saturday engagements.
Registration is open now and will close July 5. To register, visit https://www.nacce.com/vil21regformboys and fill out both the parent consent form and the student information form. To learn more about the Verizon Innovative Learning Program, visit https://vil.nmsu.edu/.