Students explore game development, cybersecurity and more
Camp helps high school students learn about information technology
Nearly 40 students from the Cincinnati region attended the free two-week camp hosted on the UC campus by the School of Information Technology. During the camp, they learned about the numerous career opportunities available through information technology including in cybersecurity, software development, game development and simulation and data and cloud technologies.
“You get a glimpse of everything,” Kerianna Williams, who will be a sophomore at Cincinnati Public School’s Hughes STEM High School, said of attending the camp. “If you do get into this, you have a general idea of what you’d want to do.”
This year marks the first time since 2019 that UC has hosted the Early IT Summer Camp on campus. More than 40 additional students attended this year’s virtual camp.
Shane Halse, one of the camp leaders and an assistant professor in the School of Information Technology, part of UC’s College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services, has enjoyed the energy on campus the event has added.
“I’m exhausted, but I’m thrilled,” he said. “Students seem to be a lot more engaged in person.
“This helps define their path. They say, ‘I didn’t know you could do game dev. I didn’t know you could do cybersecurity.’ Their eyes are opened up.”
Along with lectures about the disciplines within information technology, students participate in workshops and group projects during which they get hands-on experience.
Within groups of approximately five students, each of which is led by a current UC student, they’ve developed projects focused on:
- a concept for a glove that works as a wireless charger for portable devices
- an app to recommend outfits based on the day’s weather forecast
- a website to track events in Cincinnati that would appeal to teenagers
- a website to help users fully optimize their computers
- a website collecting the most annoying memes online
- a clicking-based computer game
- a public service announcement on the most common digital scams and how to protect yourself from them
This helps define their path. They say, ‘I didn’t know you could do game dev. I didn’t know you could do cybersecurity.’ Their eyes are opened up.
Shane Halse Assistant professor in the School of Information Technology
Students also heard from university leaders and industry professionals about topics such as admissions, co-ops and startup businesses.
“This could be your career, in game development, or it could be your hobby,” Halse said. “If you need some time to unwind, you can come here with friends. We’re trying to create that sense of community.”
Sohani Gauniyal, who will be a junior at a Cincinnati suburban high school, enjoyed meeting other students who shared her passions and getting to experience so many aspects of information technology.
“It’s definitely really neat,” she said. “It’s not just focusing on one particular thing for too long.”
The summer camps are just one part of the School of Information Technology’s outreach to high school students. It also has an Early IT program, which allows students to complete the first year of their bachelor's degrees while they're in high school.
J.P. Lewis, a teaching assistant at the summer camp, participated in the Early IT program while in high school. He said it prepared him for the transition to college and for success now and in the future.
“It sets you up for so much success,” the UC sophomore said. “You’re able to do classes that get you credit for college, and it puts you further along in the program.”
Williams, the Hughes High School student, appreciated that instructors gave overviews of the disciplines within information technology, including the potential positives and negatives of each. It was a good way to judge her interest in the industry without a financial commitment, she said.
She particularly enjoyed the introduction to coding.
“I’ve always wanted something to challenge my brain, and this is something that’s challenging,” Williams said. “IT makes your brain work.”
Featured image at top: High school students at the University of Cincinnati’s Early IT Summer Camp play video games at the UC Esports Innovation Lab located in UC’s 1819 Innovation Hub. Photos/Gregory Glevicky