TECH Unleashed is an annual program designed to engage young people with an interest in computer and mobile technology. Young men and women age 13-17 interested in computer and mobile technology meet two hours a week and in extended summer, winter, and spring camps where they work on projects to benefit the community. Their site is here: http://www.techunleashed.org/index.php
The program consists of 160 hours of coordination and instruction including:
- 5 day summer camp in July
- 5 day summer camp in August
- 2 day winter camp in December or January
- 3 day spring camp in February or early March
- 35 weekly meetings (2 hours) throughout the academic school year
Tech Unleashed was created in response to input from local manufacturers who recognized the need for a local pool of technically competent professionals to fill a variety of jobs including positions like PLC programmers, hardware and software support, web programming, financial analysis and audio and video production for marketing.
The participants of the first summer camp in 2013 came up with a project (a scheduling and notification application) they are still in the process of completing. To keep the project moving for two years, they have shown great determination and perseverance. As the project moves along, we are able to help them work on important employment skills like innovation, communication, collaboration, team work, time management, project management, presentation and public speaking.
We serve approximately 25 participants per year from 8 different school districts. We are committed to creating an environment that is attractive to both young men and young women. Many participants meet with us after school to work on specific parts of their projects. They continue to recruit their friends and we have seen continued growth even as several of the original participants graduate.
Funding and hardware provided by SOL Epoxy and National Grid. Space and computer equipment and software provided by BOCES. Technical and business skills presentations and support provided by Boundless Connections, LLC, BOCES, and The Demski Group. Character education and non-profit funding provided through Strength Solutions, Inc.
This year we expect to:
- Increase overall participation by 20% including more female participants
- Increase contributions to $14,000
- Complete calendar application project
- Explore monetizing calendar application to produce a funding stream
About the facilitators:
Mike Marvin has a bachelor degree in electrical engineering from RIT and Master’s Degree in computer science from SUNY Binghamton. He worked in manufacturing for a number of years first as an engineer designing lightning arresters and then as a production supervisor for an automated production plant that made the high energy components that are used to build the arrestors. He taught computer science and mathematics at JCC in Olean for 10 years. He was a project manager in continuing education for another 6 years, where he also developed and taught computer classes and management courses on effective management and building professional relationships.
Christina Lopez has a bachelor degree in software development from Alfred State. She worked in manufacturing for a number of years as a web programmer where she was the project manager on a major project to update the multi-million dollar CUTCO e-commerce site. She went on to start her own business, Boundless Connections, LLC. She has taught credit and non-credit computer courses at JCC. She also teaches continuing education courses in project and time management, building professional relationships, effective meetings, conflict resolution, and effective use of technology and social media within organizations.
Mike and Christina are the creators of “Beyond the Divide” which is a body of material designed to help men and women discover the power of working closely with the opposite sex. They are both certified Master Facilitators of The Virtues Project – an international character education program.