A summer camp for local teens is allowing participants to research, develop and build personal computers and then donate them to local non-profit organizations.
The Summer Youth Employment Program, hosted by Rochester Institute of Technology’s Office of K-12 Initiatives and Professor Larry Hill of the Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences, seeks to provide technical skills in computer science and engineering while also building stronger awareness of the needs of the local community.
“This project is designed to not just teach a skill but to show kids how they can make a positive difference in their community,” says Kenneth Sayres, the program’s director. “To accomplish this, we involve our students in every phase of the project from designing the computers to choosing which agencies receive the finished products.”
Throughout the six-week camp, students design and build the computer hardware and install and test software with the assistance of RIT staff and faculty.
The students will also develop request-for-proposals that will be sent to local Rochester agencies and then review the responses and ultimately choose what organizations receive the completed computers.
The camp is sponsored by a federal grant offered through Rochester Works. In addition, Microsoft donated more than $15,000 in software and the computer kits and monitors were provided by MicroWorks.