IT Students Teach at Florida Indian Youth Summer Camp

Community Outreach is not new to many College of Communication and Information (CCI) students. For the 4th year in a row, the Florida Indian Youth Program partnered with College of Communication and Information (CCI) at Florida State University to deliver technology classes. 

Over the two weeks, 50 youth participated in the camp, made possible through the Florida Governors Council on Indian Affairs (FGCIA), a non-profit established by Governor Rubin O’D Askew in 1974. Participants were taught lessons in game design, coding and web design from students in the IT Leadership course. 

Many CCI students participated and taught various topic such as Social Media (Donna Sothen, Elicia Smith), Developing Leadership (Donna Sothen, Austin Rain), Coding Basics (Shane Thompson, Angela Bowers, Austin Rain, Kyle Gross, Joshua Goraum), Digital Design (Kelsey McCool, Tristen Rogers, Donna Sothen), Coding w/Python (Kyle Gross, Joshua Goraum, Trevor Madden, Zachary Rodefer, Robert Griffin), Hardware/Networking  (Nickson Jean Baptiste, Stephen Putnal, Trevor McCowen, Rob Sandkamp), and Careers in Tech (Anushka Patel, Donna Sothen, Kelsey McCool).



FIYP is an intensive away-from-home experience summer program designed to promote increased high school graduation rates among Native American students, encourage students to aspire to higher learning beyond high school and provides an on-campus experience at local universities in Tallahassee. Students spend more than 70 hours in classroom activities spread across Florida State University, Tallahassee Community College and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University.

“We have had a successful relationship with FGCIA that benefits the students being trained as well as our CCI students,” shared Ebe Randeree, associate dean.

As demand for technology skills grows in the job sector, the classes aim to prepare students for their futures. Students learned modern, foundational skills. Students shared that the courses were “really interesting” and that they “didn’t know you could do so much with technology.”

CCI students saw this as an opportunity to improve their communication skills as well as train others in careers paths that they have chosen.  According to student and project co-lead Donna Sothen, “I taught the FGCIA camp so that I could teach and inspire high-school students to join the technology community as well as understand why I (myself), have such a passion for tech; the students rewarded me with their focus in class and constant questions to learn as much as they could about the different tech topics – In the end, the students continual drive to learn inspired me to want continue teaching young students about technical topics.” Her co-leader Austin Rain agreed; “educating the next generation to the careers and opportunities available with an Information Technology is critical to meeting the STEM needs of Florida.”

“We were very fortunate to have the FSU students working with our students each year,” said Terrence Clark, Training Coordinator for FGCIA. Clark also said that “the continued support of the College of Communication & Information is appreciated and our camp students benefit from interacting with FSU students.”