Hackground, Applications and Research Laboratory sign STEM partnership - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Feb. 23, 2018 12:59 pm

Hackground, Applications and Research Laboratory sign STEM partnership

The Howard County spaces are looking to give students more exposure to new tools.

ARL and Hackground after making it official.

(Courtesy photo)

In Howard County, an underground youth hackerspace and high school focused on career and technology education signed a new partnership this week.

Hackground, a Maple Lawn space that’s home to robotics teams and plenty of other maker programs, is teaming up with Applications and Research Laboratory in Ellicott City.

The partnership will allow students at the high school to mentor youth at the hackerspace, as well as get internship experience, said Hackground founder Prasad Karunakaran. It’s also intended to provide students with a chance to work on projects outside school hours and get access to the equipment there.

ARL is a two-year program for students that provides access to career-focused programs for Howard County students. It has a variety of academy programs including cybersecurity networking and biotech, as well as marketing and automotive technology. Recently, the school added a virtual and augmented reality lab via a grant from Oculus cofounder and Howard County native Brendan Iribe.

Hackground, which opened in 2014, is a grassroots space that’s home to FIRST robotics teams, as well as a makerspace and other activities. Karunakaran adds programming as youth request it. We visited in 2016 and talked to students who never had exposure to robotics before attending.

While they have different origins, a tour of ARL showed there are some similarities in what the two spaces offer, whether it’s rocketry or computer programming. The partnership creates a new way to combine resources, and help engage students in real-world problem solving, according to Howard County public schools.

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