Loyola STARS Computing Corps Members Engage in Diverse Outreach Activities
Students at Loyola have engaged in a diverse set of outreach activities, with particular attention now turning to the Greater Chicago Regional Botball Tournament coming up on Sunday, April 14 at the Museum of Science and Industry. Botball is an action-packed robotics competition for middle and high-school students that integrates robot building, programming, documentation writing, and even a bit of mathematical analysis. This year will be Botball's second year in the Chicago area, and it is drawing diverse participants, including many African-American students, a team organized by the American Indian Center of Chicago, and an all-girls team. Loyola hosted the introductory workshop for Chicago teams, with the help of Loyola students, and is continuing to provide assistance to some of the teams. The tournament in April is free and open to the public.
Loyola students have also helped with robotics competitions taking place earlier in the year, mentoring teams at Northside College Prep High School and West Ridge Elementary School.
Two other schools have also benefited from student help in the classroom, ranging from web design at Steinmetz High School to Scratch programming for 6th and 3rd graders at St. Viator Elementary to working with Kindergarteners at St. Viator on iPads.
A number of other community organizations have also proven to be good sites for student activities. Scratch programming was again the topic for children aged 6--12 at the Hamdard Center, a local Social & Health Service Agency. Refugees have also been the beneficiaries of computer skills training at the Pan-African Center and the Indo-American Center. Meanwhile, another STARS student has been working with children aged 9--13 who are categorized as having "High Functioning Autism" (in some cases referred to as "Asperger's Syndrome"). This program encourages social interaction through the process of working as a software development team and uses the creation of a video game as a motivation to learn computer programming.
Anybody in Chicago interested in volunteering for outreach activities or seeking some assistance for their organization can contact the Loyola STARS chapter.