July 2, 2020
Cowley College has partnered with KanOkla Networks and the Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas to provide a pair of Summer Information Technology (IT) Camps at the Caldwell Community Building in Caldwell, KS. The Middle School IT Camp will take place July 6-10 and the High School IT Camp will be held July 13-17. Both camps will run daily from 9 a.m. to noon.
The camps were an idea brought up in meetings with KanOkla on how to bring information technology into the school systems in that part of the county. Jill Kuehny (CEO of KanOkla Networks) and Jan Grace (Sumner Campus Operations Officer) were vital in making the camps a possibility.
KanOkla Networks arranged the building and handled the marketing of the camps, while instruction will be provided by Cowley College Natural Science Department instructor David Hays.
“We are arranging with KanOkla to bring robotics for the High School IT Camp and classes for seniors via the Golden Tigers program to the Caldwell area in the Fall,” Hays said. “KanOkla will be providing the equipment via their own resources and a grant.”
Leah Sparks-Eakes with KanOkla Networks has been doing much of the setup and preparation along with interns for the camps.
“KanOkla Networks is so excited to partner with Cowley and bring this new IT experience to kids in the area,” Sparks-Eakes said. “One of our goals was to highlight all the different paths there are into a career in IT. If one of these middle school or high school students leave with a new passion for programming or computer animation, we will be ecstatic; but if we can show all of them how many options there are to get to where they want to be, that will make this a successful camp.”
The participants will learn animation via MIT's Scratch and the Blender software program. In addition, both groups will be learning coding via Python starting with the Turtle library that makes programming fun and easy to learn.
“This collaboration shows the power of joint partnerships between the college and industry leaders,” Hays said. “The marketing by KanOkla Networks has been tremendous to bring in a record number of participants. The number of participants exceeded the number of laptops so Agriculture Program Coordinator Buddy Curry graciously offered the laptops from his department.”