Diversity & Inclusion
AI / Digital access / STEM

Check out these summer camps making a difference in the District

Acquired Data Solutions and Howard University are both hosting tech-themed summer camps that kick off on June 28. Both have components of social impact and community problem-solving through tech.

Middle school students in the Center's Science of Smart Cities program investigating the use of sensors, microcontrollers and wireless technology in urban transportation systems. Credit: Jamique Mascoll/NYU-Poly Center for K12 STEM Education

With the solstice gone by, it’s officially summer camp season in the DMV. But popsicles and friendship bracelets can step aside. Check out a pair of sessions below that are teaching students technology skills with a focus on social equity and responsibility.


Starting Monday, Howard University and Verizon Innovative Learning are kicking off a year-long program with a three-week virtual camp for students of color. From June 28 to July 16, students will take part in the the Young Men of Color program, focused on STEM instruction. Middle schoolers from Title 1 schools will learn about augmented and virtual reality, coding, entrepreneurship, design and 3D printing. Participants will also be paired with college-aged mentors from similar backgrounds in anticipation of the coming school year. Verizon is partnering with 47 Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions and community college across the US to provide similar programming.

“The University is invested in expanding minority participation in STEM, and this program is an excellent resource for young men of color in the Washington, D.C. area to gain exposure and develop skills,” said Anthony Wutoh, Howard provost and chief academic officer, in a statement.

Following the camp, students will also take part in monthly sessions throughout the school year. Each will be tasked with developing a technology solution for a community problem that aligns with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, which include goals of sustainability, ending poverty and hunger, economic growth and infrastructure as well as education access and equality.

The camp is free to attend, and technology will be provided for students to use.

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For the second year in a row, Rockville, Maryland-based Acquired Data Solutions (ADS) and the Marion Barry Summer Youth Employment program are hosting a STEM-themed summer camp, offering career development for local students. Starting June 28, over 40 high school and college students will participate in the program. It works like this: High schoolers are the campers and college students act as counselors, under the supervision of a D.C. teacher who will serve as camp director.

Last year, ADS virtually taught 50 high school and college students using the TEAMS (technology, economic, arts, marketing and socialize) model. This year, its six-week program will focus on MASTERY, which stands for mindset, art, storytelling, technology, economy, reflection and you. The company hopes that the new focus will help students gain human skills around self-awareness, social responsibility and economic considerations in addition to technical ones. Last fall, ADS tried out the MASTERY model in an after school program in partnership with the Edge of Yesterday Media.

The placement of the T, ADS representatives said, is intentional to leave technology at the center of programming focus. Participants in the camp will learn machine learning and AI through chatbots.

Acquired Data Solutions CEO Steve Seiden said that ADS and partners have a common passion in preparing youth for STEM careers while taking the evolving digital landscape into consideration.

“MASTERY puts all of this together with an added emphasis on the individual, the you piece,” Seiden said in a statement. “You can’t beat peers teaching peers, and this collaboration, along with the technical skills youth amass from our programs is essential to equip them for what it takes to achieve more, today and tomorrow.”

Series: Racial Equity in Tech Month 2021

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