CCI Students Engage Kids with Tech at FSU PC Tech Expo

In early March, seven students from the College of Communication and Information (CCI) traveled to FSU Panama City to volunteer at the second annual ASCENT Technology Expo. The Expo welcomed all ages to the campus to hear from guest speakers and participate in STEM-related activities including rocket building, Minecraft scavenger hunts, and eSports. Vendors, food trucks, educators, and volunteers gathered from across the North Florida area to share their love of tech.

The expo was designed to engage K-12 students in STEM topics and show them STEM careers and college options. The CCI students focused on showcasing the Information Technology (IT) and Information, Communication, and Technology (ICT) degree programs. They presented at four tables, each on a different topic: Design and 3D Printing, Working with Arduinos, Old Technology, and Women in STEM. Younger students, their friends, and their families had the opportunity to engage with the CCI students to hear more about their topics or their experiences as Florida State students.  The organizers estimated 700 attendees. Dr. Paul Marty from the School of Information delivered a presentation on AI during the event as the keynote speaker.

Logan Wiggins presenting Old Technology

IT major Thum Rangsiyawaranon, who presented at one of the tables, shared, “I loved connecting with parents who thought of ‘this old tech’ as the tech that they grew up with. It was definitely interesting to think ‘What will be the old tech for the next generation?’ It was also great to see the younger generation react to where technology has evolved from.” His display included older iPhones, flip phones, zip drives, floppy disks, a server, an old iMac, and even an iBook.

ICT major Ryan Surujballi also volunteered at the event. He, alongside IT major Stacci Smith, spent the day showing students Arduinos and different projects they can be used in. He spoke about his experience, saying, “My favorite part of the event was seeing the passion the students had for technology. Each kid was extremely interested in learning something they had never even seen before. Also, I was able to share some coding resources to some parents for their kids because they were super interested in the code behind Arduinos.”

Olivia Kennedy and Andrea Colon-De Feria present Design and 3-D Printing

On her experience at the Expo, Smith shared, “I really enjoyed showcasing different Arduino projects to students and families who are interested in learning various areas in STEM. Attending events like this can help inspire so many students to explore and discover various fun, interactive learning opportunities and educational resources in STEM.”

Media Communication Studies major Olivia Kennedy shared her experience as a non-STEM major at the event, saying, “Being able to volunteer at the Expo was such an amazing experience. You could feel the excitement from everyone in the room from the speakers, to the volunteers, to the kids. I was extremely impressed by the projects the younger students do in their free time simply because they are passionate about tech. I loved being able to connect with them, and they were all ecstatic to speak to young adults with similar passions and interests.”

CCI student volunteers included Andrea Colon-De Feria, Logan Wiggins, Olivia O’Hay, Olivia Kennedy, Ryan Surujballi, Stacci Smith, and Thum Rangsiyawaranon.