When schools make computer science fun and relevant, it becomes a tangible and desirable possibility for students. Kids who love playing video games might be interested in going “behind the scenes” -- the Angry Birds themed coding game presented during The Hour of Code could be a big hit! A budding artist might be enraptured by Autodesk or Adobe. And students who think computer science and athletics don’t mesh have obviously never seen a RoboCup soccer match. Regardless of the situation, it’s important to show kids how math and science play a role in their everyday lives.
I envision a program that allows minority students in high school involved with STEM to mentor minority students in elementary school. This interaction provides young students with role models with similar cultural and ethnic backgrounds. It converts the possibility of a future in science from a geeky, unfeasible option to an exciting, realistic goal. Schools and organizations would need to help provide the resources necessary to build curricular and extracurricular programs targeting these minority students. Mentors help young students complete projects different projects, such as coding a simple progr...
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...mates to ask, upon seeing my class schedule, “Avery, are you even Black?” or “Why aren’t there any girls in your classes?”) It’s not uncommon for a student to sacrifice his or her interests due to a lack of support. One of the most valuable skills for students to have is the confidence to persevere and prove their critics wrong. Thus, it is important that mentors are a positive force throughout students’ lives.
Just as student mentors are willing to assist elementary school students, corporations and individual professionals must be willing to assist high school and college students. Allotting time and money to those trying to make an impact is a vital step that must be taken. The consequences of this step is well worth the expense, however. By making computer science a part of a student’s day-to-day life, any negative stigma associated with STEM will be lifted.
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