”It was cool designing my own Web page!” exclaimed a middle school student at the end of one of Puget Sound Center’s TechCamps Northwest programs held during summer 2003- 2004. “I liked taking digital pictures and then changing them to look really awesome. I also liked doing animations and graphic design.”
Those were the sentiments of nearly 300 middle school students throughout Puget Sound who spent a week learning cutting-edge computer skills in Web design, graphic design, and digital photography. Fun, interactive curriculum developed by Giant Campus was used in tandem with Macromedia Dreamweaver and Adobe PhotoShop Elements to teach computer skills to youth who may not otherwise have been able to afford to attend a computer camp.
TechCamps Northwest targets groups that are statistically underrepresented in the high-tech industry, including females, minorities, and low-income youth. The digital divide, that gap between those with access to technology and those without access to technology, is a driving force behind the mission of the Diversity in Technology Group at the Puget Sound Center, and is the reason TechCamps Northwest was developed.
The Alliance of Technology and Women sponsored several Lunch Speaker Presentations through their Great Minds mentoring program. Successful high-tech women from Microsoft and T-Mobile had lunch with the students and shared about their career paths into the technology field, gave advice about working in the IT industry, and encouraged the students to continue learning all they can about technology.