Duncanville middle school students enjoyed a four-day “goIT” interactive training session and immersion into the world of STEM this summer. Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) brought its flagship STEM education program back to Duncanville ISD middle school students July 15-18. Approximately 215 students from Kennemer Middle School’s STEAM Academy, William H. Byrd MS and J. Herman Reed MS attended.
TCS piloted goIT with the first class of 6th graders when new Kennemer STEAM Academy opened in 2018. The lottery-based academy emphasizes STEM and design thinking. DISD’s STEM Education Director Dr. Crystal Rentz said schools need to focus on bringing meaningful summer enrichment programs to close the skills and education gap. After the program’s success, TCS and Duncanville ISD expended the program to two other DISD middle schools who offer specialized programs.
During the four-day course, students learned the foundations of computer science and design thinking. They created mobile app solutions to problems they identified in their communities. Issues ranging from mental health to pollution to cyberbullying on social media were included. Students designed and prototyped their apps, screen-for-screen, on paper and the computer. A two-round shark-tank type presentation concluded the goIT experience.
Judges For Student Presentations
Judges were Mike McCall, VP at Citi; Somil Garg, a TCS client partner; and Dr. Rentz. Teams from Byrd walked away with 2nd and 3rd place titles, and a team from Reed walked away with 1st place. Students surveyed after finishing the classes said they were now more interested in pursuing careers in technology.
TCS partnered with Citi to bring in 30 Citi employee mentors to help with the exercises. Mentors helped students develop their apps and presentations, and were also role models who helped them see themselves with careers in finance or technology.
A Citi mentor said, “TCS has always been a critical partner for our organization, and it was great to see them supporting such an important initiative. Not just hosting it but running it in a way that promotes diversity, gives students a chance to have fun, and provides great exposure to what a tech career includes.”
TCS provided another 15 volunteers, and DISD also brought in student mentors who are preparing for careers in education.