The following post was written by IT-oLogy Charlotte Executive Director, Kay Read.
On Saturday, September 13th, Cyber Saturday offered the student track at the annual Blend Conference, a national user experience, design, front and back-end development conference. Over 80 Grade 6-12 students joined more than 400 IT professionals at the Sheraton Hotel in Uptown Charlotte for this special edition of Cyber Saturday. Cyber Saturday is a signature IT-oLogy event, sponsored by Time Warner Cable. Saturday’s event aimed to engage the up-and-coming generation in STEM careers through the use of hands-on exercises and real life experiences shared by technology leaders.
For the middle school attendees, the day started with an entertaining keynote delivered by nationally renowned IT authority, Scott Hanselman. Hanselman spoke of his journey to discovering a passion for IT, including the incredible things he’s built through the use of technology.
“The ‘maker’ focus is the seed to plant in these young minds,” stated IT-oLogy Executive Director, Kay Read.
For the high school session, John Fread, COO of Logical Advantage, facilitated a panel of CPCC, JC Smith University, and UNC Charlotte college students who spoke to the students about pursuing a career in technology. The college students explained what sparked their interest in technology and discussed different ways for them to pursue this interest while still in high school. The college students shared a similar trait in that they always had a desire to understand how things work and a joy for making new things.
“Our panel encouraged the high school kids to follow their passion and to not worry about making mistakes. They also expressed the importance of getting involved in technology groups, such as Hackathons, where they can learn and meet other students that share their same interest,” said Fread.
Both middle and high school students were treated to a workshop led by IoT enthusiast and CTO of Logical Advantage, Dan Thyer. Supported by an army of volunteers, students followed Thyer’s lead as they soldered their own PoV Badges, comprised of a circuit board and LED lights.
One of the greatest successes of the event was the diversity of the students who participated. Many volunteers noted a strong attendance of female and minority students. This further reinforced the goal of organizations like IT-oLogy to raise awareness and bolster encouragement for Charlotte’s IT careers.
To learn more about IT-oLogy and their monthly Cyber Saturday events, visit IT-oLogy.org, or follow on Twitter at @IT_ology.