Houston Community College: HCC team wins diversity award for IT summer camps


Houston Community College’s digital and information technology team won a city-wide diversity award for their IT summer camps for young people of diverse backgrounds.

Diversity Summit Houston selected the team as its 2021 “Team Diversity Champion” for creating opportunities for underserved high school and minority college students to access technology and training.

Over 140 students from the greater Houston area attended the camps held in June at four HCC campuses. The camps focused on virtual reality, coding and robotics and included students from low-income families with limited access to technology.

The students included 30% Latinos, 25% Black or African Americans, 25% White, and 20% Asian Americans. At the end of the camps, they received 1.5 units of continuing education credit.

The IT Summer Camp team was led by Samir Saber, Dean of the Center of Digital and IT Excellence at HCC, and Raymond “Mitch” Keller, Professor of Cyber ​​Security and Networking at HCC. Eighteen professors and 11 support staff served as mentors and provided logistical support.

In one of the camps, the students learned to create, interact and manipulate a virtual reality environment. Using the latest technology powered by Oculus headsets, students were immersed in “new worlds and new possibilities of virtual reality,” Keller said.

“It gave them opportunities that they might not otherwise have had to see the possibilities of emerging technologies,” he said.

In other camps, students learned computer programming using the Apple Swift coding language. In addition to the experience, the camps have integrated the game Swift Playgrounds and Sphero robots offered by Apple Inc., partner of HCC since 2017.

“The camps provided invaluable high-tech experiences that students will likely never forget,” Saber said.

Diversity Summit Houston was founded by the Association of Chinese American Professionals in 2001 to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace and in the community. During its annual gathering of businesses and organizations, the summit selects three diversity champions in the business, community and team categories from city-wide nominations.

This press release was produced by Houston Community College. The opinions expressed here are those of the author.


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