City middle schoolers learn about high tech careers
BY MEENAKSHI DALAL Staff Reporter August 2, 2013 6:20PM
Teens participating in the CampUs program on IIT's campus present business plans for products they've designed throughout the week. | Meenakshi Dalal~Sun Times
Updated: September 4, 2013 6:12AM
If you’ve ever lost something and couldn’t find it, wanted to take your big screen TV with you on vacation or needed to do a presentation when there was no projector — a group of 35 middle schoolers might have you covered.
Middle schoolers from four Chicago schools — Shoop Academy, Spencer Technology Academy, Edward White Elementary Career Academy, Ariel Elementary Community Academy — spent the week on the Illinois Institute of Technology campus designing products and business plans.
They were challenged with developing an item that they could sell in the real world, resulting in plans for products like “The Finder App,” “Foldable TV” and the “Pocket Projector.”
The students competed in groups to come up with what they thought were proposals. The winning plan was for the imaginary pocket projector.
But the business proposals weren’t really the point of the fully-funded camp, organizers said.
“Our goal is to expose them to jobs they don’t know exist. How can you keep your passion for something you love, like sports, in your career?” said Kanchan Sakhrani, national program manager for the After School All-Stars program. ASAS hosted the camp.
The students competed in groups to come up with what they thought were proposals. The winning plan — an imaginary pocket projector.
The focus was on careers and skills related to science, technology, engineering and math.
William Hayes, 13, who attends Edward White Elementary Career Academy and aspires to be an architect, said he thought the camp turned out to be cool.
“I got to be with a lot of other people who are just as smart as me and see how different people think,” Hayes said.
The teens participated in team building activities, high school and college prep sessions, and went on field trips.
They visited the United Center, the University of Chicago and Teza Technologies during the week to see professionals in their prospective fields at work.
After visiting the University of Chicago, 13-year-old Tammika Evans said she finds herself much more motivated about her future now, with dreams to be a veterinarian. Evans pledged to earn straight A’s this school year.
The CampUs program, in its second year, was funded by Teza Technologies. The company plans to provide the funding for next year, as well.