IT Leadership students partner with local k-12 schools

Students in the Spring 2015 IT Leadership class have been busy engaging the future IT workforce of Florida, talking about Information Technology (IT), Information Communication & Technology (ICT), STEM careers, and the College of Communication & Information. Each semester, students partner with various schools to offer support, training, and career advice to Leon schools.

One of the schools that saw frequent visits was Gilchrist Elementary. According to Rachel Webber, Gifted Teacher at Gilchrist, “I have been so impressed with how well the FSU leadership team interacted with my class to enhance their knowledge of various technologies; they encouraged inquiry and investigation from the students; I had students spending their free time on the weekends creating Excel spreadsheets and making Prezis!”

Some of her students also saw value in the partnership. Kelly W. said that she “had a fun time dissecting the computers and learning about internet safety. I thought it was going to be boring, but it turned out to be fun.” Another student Ella P. had a different take – she said that “taking apart the computer helped me become interested in seeing how our computers work and makes me want to study more about computers.”

School Outreach Visits – Spring 2015

1. Students Tour FSU


Local: Leon High School and Godby High School

Regional: Bay High School (Panama City) and Mandarin Middle School (Jacksonville)

High school students toured Florida State’s campus and visited with students from the Information Technology and Information, Communication Technology programs.

Seniors Sarah Johnson and William Beacham co-led the group. According to William, “there is nothing greater than knowing that you have inspired a young person to seek knowledge they never knew they wanted.” Sarah echoed the sentiments; she said that “these kids are very fortunate to have the opportunity to visit a college campus and talk to current students at such a young age. This is something I wish was offered to me when I was in school– especially in middle school.”

2. Talking Tech in the Panhandle


Leadership students traveled to Rutherford High School and J.R. Arnold High School (Panama City) as well as Choctawhatchee High School (Fort Walton Beach) talking to technology career courses.

Lauren Franquiz and Michael Kimball co-led the outreach in partnership with STARS Alliance. Michael was returning to his high school, Rutherford; he said that “visiting students whose shoes I was in years earlier was a rewarding experience for me and some of those I spoke with. I was able to guide students that were facing the same issues that I did. With the knowledge that I have acquired I was able to help them and pass that knowledge onto them.” Lauren felt that “working with students was challenging and rewarding. First we had to gain their trust and confidence, but then we witnessed that students were inspired by our stories and really cared about the advice we had for them. I’m thankful for the opportunity to make a difference.”

Martin Sung, a member of STARS Alliance,traveled with the team to Panama City and Niceville. According to Martin, “Being able to visit Panhandle schools and to impact young minds has been a humbling experience; going into Choctawhatchee High, Rutherford High, J.R. Arnold High, our mission was to spark as much interest in the fields of STEM, college preparation, college majors in technology, and leadership skills; being able to communicate face-to-face gave us the opportunity to connect with students at a more personal level.”

According to Choctawhatchee Leadership teacher Ms. Brewer and Engineering teacher Mr. Miller, both stated, “I am extremely impressed by the way the FSU students worked with my class; they were able to get everyone engaged and asking questions.”

Rachel Roberson, another STARS student, is a graduate of Chowtawhatchee. She found that

she “enjoyed engaging the students to talk about their interests and provide insight for them through my experiences. As a Choctaw grad, I felt that I had a more personal connection with those students by being once in their position with all the same opportunities. I believe that it gave them perspective to where they are now, where they have the potential to be, and to start thinking about how to achieve their goals. ”

3. Start Them Young: Middle School Visits


Leadership students presented to Raa Middle School and Cobb Middle School in Leon County about IT and ICT

Justin Hirche and Chris Stone led this effort. Chris found that the entire process “was a very cool experience; we were able step into the shoes of another generation and find out what drives them to success. The kids were great; it was something I will never forget.”

4. Class is in Session: Chaires Elementary School IT Lessons


Leadership students taught weekly lesson for 7 session on hardware, iMovie, Photoshop, hardware, HTML and how to be safe on the internet.

Joey Cardenas co-led the Chaires Elementary School outreach with Courtenay Cronin. His teams goal was to create hands-on-interactive lessons that allowed the students to explore

different technologies. According to Joey, the “experience was amazing; we made an impact on these kids by ways in which they experimented with these programs outside of our lessons and figured out things, that were not even apart of our lessons, on their own; when you spark a students interest past conventional time you really cannot have any better impact, and at Chaires elementary, we did that.”

Chaires Gifted teacher Kim Perez agreed; she said “that the careful, thoughtful, precise planning allowed for smooth lessons where “each child was learning” through hands-on engagement was outstanding!”

5. Kids Can Code: Gilchrist Elementary School


Leadership students taught 4th and 5th grade seven, bi-weekly lessons coding, internet safety, graphs, Excel, research skills, and hardware.

Melissa Ehster, who co-led the Gilchrist Elementary School outreach with Austin Hickey and is the current president of COG – (Community Outreach Group) facilitated the outreach at various schools. According to her, the “school was extremely receptive to our students and our ideas, and over the course of the last two semesters we have established a foundation will last for a long time; the students were excited to learn more about technology and were enthusiastic about FSU students coming out to teach them.”

6. Girl (Scouts) Who Code: Girl Scouts of Leon County


Saturday information sessions on coding, game design, iMovie, photoshop, hardware, and cyber safety were held for local Girl Scouts, and a future session for Gilchrist Elementary School is scheduled.

Amanda Lee coordinated the Girl Scouts event with Justin Tadlock. She said that “very few of the scouts had even heard of the concepts we taught them. It was great to see their little light bulb go off when they figured out how to make Elsa spin in a circle, put in titles and transitions into their movies, or change the color of a flower in Photoshop.” Justin echoed her thoughts; he said that “seeing them have fun playing with coding concepts, editing photos, and making small movies was pretty awesome. I can only look forward to seeing who they become and what they will bring to the world.”

7. Seniors and Tech: Allegro Senior Center

Leadership students partnered with Allegro Senior Center, working with Seniors on technology topics

Not directly related to K-12 but part of the class community engagement, the Seniors and Technology project had a different focus. Co-leaders Ashley Spencer and Samantha Davidson worked with their group to help the seniors with various technology-related questions that they had; the students enjoyed teaching a generation who have lived without advanced technology on how to incorporate it in their daily lives.

According to Cheryl Herbert, Lifestyle Director at Allegro, the students “left several happy residents whom they helped with computers, ipads, and cell phones. The group also did wonders for the Lifestyle Department when they helped with our in-house TV station and setting the department’s Sony camera.”

While the leadership students develop leadership, project management, teaching and communication skills, working with k-12 helps them give back to the community. According to Assoc. Dean Randeree who teaches the class, the “community engagement is an crucial part of building a leadership legacy; students take ownership of their profession and work to develop future STEM students.” Melissa Ehster was in agreement; she said that “working with k-12 students has become a huge part of my college experience; if I learned anything from them its that they should not be underestimated. These kids are the future of our community.”

List of students who participated are:

William Beachem

Matthew Bruner

Rachel Bryson

Joey Cardenas

Courtenay Cronin

Samantha Davidson

Ryan Eastman

Melissa Ehster

Dara Fiocco

Lauren Franquiz

Max Galiana

Caroline Goodrich

Austin Hickey

Justin Hirsche

Delbert Infinger

Sarah Johnson

Michael Kimball

Jon Kortlander

Amanda Lee

Jacob McDougal

Megan McGilvray

Alissa McShane

Colin Neff

Chelsea Schneider

Ashley Spencer

Chris Stone

Justin Tadlock

Carlton Tassel

Kiley Williams