A dozen high school students recently gleaned a unique learning experience at the University of Arkansas’ 17th Technology Awareness Program held at its Sam Walton College of Business and co-sponsored by several organizations.
Striving to serve underrepresented populations and boost access to technology education, three affiliated entities hosted 12 students for a weeklong residential camp June 19-24 — the Information Technology Research Institute, the Walton College Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and the University of Arkansas’ Department of Information Systems.
Students, all of whom were screened for a satisfactory GPA and were required to submit essays for admission, stayed at a dormitory,
ate at a campus dining hall, met faculty and staff, and explored fields
of study for future technology professionals.
"It is vital that technology fields include minorities and women," Eric Bradford, the institute’s managing director, said. "Research shows that diversity helps drive innovation, which in turn shapes the future of technology."
The camp included dialogue with representatives from
well-known companies, including Dillard’s and Walmart—with a tour of Walmart to
observe information systems specialists at work.
"These young people came here ready to learn," Barbara Lofton, Walton College’s director of Diversity Programs, said.
"Based on their research and final presentations, each student would be a
welcome addition to any occupation in the field of technology and to the
The group took part in a project, performed research and
presented results at a closing ceremony. One of the participant’s parents
expressed deep appreciation following the culminating activities.
"It was one of the most incredible displays of coaching, mentoring and teaching that I have seen in a long time," Denisho Coleman Sr., a University of Arkansas alumnus, said. "To see those students present subject matter in the order and depth in the short period of time afforded was very emotional to me."