On Friday, December 6, 2019, 50 local students and their chaperones came to campus to learn about coding, careers in computer science, and college life. The students ranged from fifth to eighth grade and were from J. Taylor Finley Middle School in Huntington and Pulaski Street School in Riverhead.
Statistics show that coding may be one of the most important job skills for the future. Huntington and Riverhead schools chose Stony Brook University because of its reputation for being on the cutting edge of technology.
“I love that we are doing coding in our schools, and the students get to see the validation in the work we’re doing. It ties everything together,” said Amelia Creedon, School Media Specialist from Pulaski Street School.
The middle school students were invited to campus for training in computer science coding, followed by a time of questions and answers about the types of careers available in the field. Volunteers from the SBU student club Women in Computer Science (WiCS) Regina Wong, Nicholas Reimer, Anna Zhang, Katheryn Martinez, Pavani Tripathi, and Arpita Abrol were responsible for the coding lessons and career talk. This was the club’s second year volunteering their time to host this event.
“When I was in middle school, coding and data analysis were not a part of the computer/math track. I am amazed by how the schools’ curriculums have changed to incorporate computer science,” said Regina Wong, a member of WiCS who helped organize and lead the day’s event.
Every student received a Stony Brook University backpack filled with swag and was welcomed as fellow Seawolves for the day. With backpacks in place, students enjoyed a sunny walking tour of the campus, including the 9-11 memorial, the Frank Melville Jr. Memorial Library, and East Side Dining, ending with an informational tour of the Charles B. Wang Center.
While enjoying the day’s activities, Marybeth Robinette, Director of Instructional Technology from Finley Middle School, said, “It was so important for these students to be exposed to a college campus. Not only does it reinforce the importance of learning, but it also broadens their perspectives on what college life is about and puts it within their reach.”
This school lab experience and tour were coordinated through the University’s Community Relations office as a part of an outreach program to raise awareness for SBU at the middle school level.
— Tamara Gregorian, Community Relations