Students from eight area high schools took part in the inaugural SPARK! Launchpad experience in early July, a two-week experience that included skill building, design challenges, field trips to local tech companies, and guest speakers.
From creating their own websites and computer games to building character battle simulations to tackling coding tasks from Willow Tree Apps, the participating students were able to gain a broad look at opportunities in technology in just a couple of weeks. Trips to organizations like Room Key and Linden Lab also helped them explore networks and careers possibilities in the Chartlottesville tech sector.
"We worked in a lot of different languages in these two weeks, and we got to explore a lot of different areas of computer science,' said Nia Robinson '22.
"For the past few days, we decided what we liked and what we were going to work on to show here. I liked it because we got to explore what we wanted to and the teachers were really nice and really helpful."
Luke Roberts, a rising freshman at Charlottesville High School, also had a great Launchpad experience.
At the end of the experience all participants took part in a Demo Party to present their projects. Presentations ranged from talking to each other over radio waves using microbits to aggregating tweets from Twitter API and running sentiment algorithm, facial recognition software, and more.