The Informatics Diversity-Enhanced Workforce (iDEW) program, is a workforce development initiative from the IUPUI School of Informatics and Computing. Providence Cristo Rey is one of four participating Indianapolis high schools. Students earn college credit in courses focused on coding, the Internet of Things, and robotics.
Each semester, students present group projects for a panel of judges. This semester's courses focused on designing mobile apps and video games. Students prepared a functional game for judges to play.
"We spent a lot of time learning to code and problem solving to make our trivia app work," said sophomore Charles Collins. "I really like this class. It's made me want to study Informatics in college."
The ultimate goal of the program is to create a pipeline of skilled, diverse talent for the growing technology sector in Indianapolis. At Providence Cristo Rey, 92% of the students who have participated in the iDEW program are students of color; 56% are female.
Not only does the course teach students the technical skills needed for an IT career, it also incorporates project management skills valued by employers.
Seniors Miguel Olivares and Brandon Washington created the video game, "Somewhere Beyond The Sea." The main character zaps bugs, jumps over obstacles, and collects coins to advance to new levels.
Miguel was the coding and art lead, while Brandon was in charge of project management and music development. "Brandon made sure we had each part of the project complete and on deadline," said Miguel. "He made sure all of our files were organized that we were ready to present."
"This class is a real way for our students to gain access into the tech field," says school principal, Brian Dinkins. "Knowing you have the ability to do this type of work is the first step. They can code. They can design a phone app. With the way IUPUI has structured this program, they can also afford to pursue this degree in college without financial barriers."
IUPUI began a scholarship program, the LiFT Scholars, to provide significant financial assistance and professional development opportunities for undergraduate students in the School of Informatics and Computing.
Two Providence Cristo Rey alumni are currently LiFT Scholars, with more hoping to follow them next year. Three seniors were presented with their admittance packages to the School of Informatics and Computing at the end of the competition.
Daya Collins, one of the three, is ready for the future. "I can't wait to get to IUPUI," says Collins. "I know there is so much opportunity with Informatics. iDEW has helped me see that."
Providence Cristo Rey High School wishes to thank the IUPUI School of Informatics faculty and iDEW staff for their dedication to our students over the last three years, as well as our Technology Teacher, Patti Hammerle, for her management of the iDEW program at PCRHS.
Congratulations to the top group projects!
Mobile Trivia App Category
1st Place: Common Genius - Leairra Carter, Toriahn Armour, Charles Collins
2nd Place: Trivia Whamm! - Jason Hernandez, Jalen Mosely, Joalli Morales
Video Game Category
1st Place: Somewhere Beyond the Sea - Miguel Olivares, Brandon Washington
2nd Place: The Perfect Partner - Anita Brown, A'Jewelle Johnson, Alexys Taylor
Team Dynamics Award - Presented to the team with an outstanding work ethic throughout the entire semester.
Trivuh App - Jason Hernandez, Luis Campos