Tag Archives: National Center for Smart Technology Innovations

TSU-Apple coding initiative seeks to spark girls’ interest in STEM

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is partnering with Apple, Inc. to teach middle and high school girls how to code, as well as consider careers in STEM.

Youth from ages 8 to 18 will get an opportunity to experience coding at a free camp Nov. 2, 9 and 16 in TSU’s Farrell Westbrook Complex (The Barn) on the main campus. Parents are asked to have their children at each event by 9 a.m. Lunch will also be provided.

In July, TSU launched HBCU C2 “Everyone Can Code and Create,” a national initiative supported by Apple, which seeks to bring coding experiences to historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and underserved communities. The initiative is part of TSU’s newly established National Center for Smart Technology Innovations, created through the HBCU C2 Presidential Academy.

The girls coding camp is an extension of the initiative.

“We want to empower young girls to code and create, and understand their capabilities of being an innovator in the field of STEM,” says Dr. Robbie Melton, TSU’s dean of Graduate and Professional Studies and program director for the coding initiative. 

Dr. Veronica Johnson is president of the Metro Nashville Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc., which is partnering with TSU and Apple. She says black women and girls are “vastly underrepresented” in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, as well as performing arts.

“By exposing STEAM projects at an early age, it could help increase their chances of exploring these fields, as they pursue academic degrees and seek future career opportunities,” says Johnson. “Having access to develop needed skill sets to survive in the 21st digital landscape will be critical to the economic impact of the future of black communities.”

Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of TSU’s College of Engineering, says the camp is also beneficial to the participants’ parents, or guardians.

“The program also informs parents and adults about the digital world of information technology, and how as individuals you can take control of your learning and knowledge based on your own needs and career goals,” says Hargrove. “The ability to manage information and make data-driven decisions will continue to be a major skill for today and tomorrow’s workforce”

During the girls coding camp, Melton says participants will move around to different stations where they will learn basic coding principles, and “actually code drones and robots to move and function.”

Eleven-year-old Evangeline Davis-Ramos of New York has participated in a similar coding camp, and says she’s glad to see Tennessee State providing such an opportunity for girls her age and older.

“I believe the girls coding camp will be very beneficial,” says Davis-Ramos. “I like building things, and coding helps take ideas I imagine and make them real.”

Melton says the HBCU C2 initiative puts TSU on the forefront of embracing STEM, and she credits the university’s partnership with Apple with being key to its success.

Dr. Robbie Melton works with students at “Everyone Can Code and Create” initiative for youth in July. (TSU Media Relations)

TSU has been charged with strengthening the collaboration by offering the company’s coding curriculum to new audiences. That expansion also includes providing TSU alums the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of app design and app development for free.

“Apple provides an approach to introduce coding and creativity in a nonthreatening manner,” says Melton. “You have children coding. You have seniors coding, and the fact that we have over a thousand people from high school to senior citizens wanting to code and create is phenomenal.”

Also in July, TSU launched the first community “Everyone Can Code and Create” initiative for youth on its Avon Williams Campus. The initiative is also part of the National Center for Smart Technology Innovations.

For more information about the girls coding camp, contact ablack1@tnstate.edu, or call 615-963-7269.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Camp seeks to spark youth interest in multibillion-dollar drone industry

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The use of drones is a growing multibillion-dollar industry, and Tennessee State University is preparing youth to be part of it.

The university hosted a camp July 22-26 to teach youth about drones, such as how they’re impacting the world, and how to fly them.

Camp participant Christopher Jones enjoying drone flight. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

“We want them to see how drones are becoming the future of aviation,” said Dr. Melissa Riley, a commercial flight instructor and professor in the Aerospace Engineering Technology Department at TSU. “And how they can have a career in that.”

Reports show the commercial drone industry is continuing to grow, and that the market is forecast to be worth $127 billion by 2020.

“And it’s just going to keep expanding,” said Rashad Bailey, coordinator of the drone camp. “This is the ground floor, and I hope these kids will get engaged now.”

Thirteen-year-old Glennwood Walker said he’s considering becoming a physical therapist, but he’s also interested in being a drone pilot, and he enjoyed the camp.

“This program is a fun environment for kids who want to learn about drones, or coding,” Walker said. “Drones is definitely something I’m considering.”

During the camp, participants learned how to program drones, as well as some basic rules of air space. They also got a chance to spend some time in TSU’s flight simulator at John C. Tune Airport.

“We wanted to kind of give them an overall experience,” Riley said.

The camp is one of several initiatives TSU has started to expose youth, and individuals of all ages, to new technology – particularly coding.

The week of the camp, TSU launched the first community “Everyone Can Code and Create” initiative for youth on its downtown Avon William Campus.

Camp participant Cindy Nguyen flies her drone. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

The initiative is part of the newly established National Center for Smart Technology Innovations, created through the “HBCU C2 Presidential Academy” to bring coding and creativity opportunities to students across HBCU campuses, as well as Nashville students. The Academy, which is supported by tech giant Apple, was launched the week before.

Leaders of 14 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) – including Tennessee State – from across the country attended the Academy and came away with knowledge and skills in coding and app development from Apple’s comprehensive coding curriculum.

As part of the initiative, TSU is also working with Metro Nashville Public Schools, Motlow State Community College and the Metropolitan Nashville Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. to expand coding opportunities to other students in the community.

To learn more about HBCU C2, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/hbcuc2/.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.