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Sunday, December 13, 2015

Students at McKinley Tech celebrate computer science week

Photo: Matias J. Ocner
"Devin Mozee, 16, never thought much of computer science when he was coding games in middle school. But when he enrolled at McKinley Technology High School, he realized just how much power the field can give him." writes Matias Ocner, Author at Scripps Howard Foundation Wire. 

Devin Mozee, 16, explains some of the interests he has in the computer science field. Devin, an 11th grader, wants to be a video game designer. SHFWire 
Photo by Matias J. Ocner

“It never really hit me until I got to my ninth grade year, and I realized computer science can go into different things,” said Devin, an 11th grader who wants to someday be a video game designer for Bethesda Software.

Inspiring students like Devin to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics-related fields was a main goal for McKinley Tech, as it celebrated Computer Science Education Week, which started Monday.

The school began the week by encouraging students and faculty to do at least one hour of coding. They also hosted John B. King, a senior adviser at the department of education whom President Barack Obama has nominated to replace outgoing Secretary Arne Duncan. King spoke to a group of students in Melanie Wiscount’s information technology class.

“It’s really encouraging to be in a class full of diverse students who are excited about careers in technology and computer science,” said King, who wants to increase enrollment in STEM majors and increase graduation rates.

According to 2014 report by the U.S. Department of Education, about 28 percent of bachelor’s degree students and 20 percent of associate’s degree students entered a STEM field. However, more than half of freshmen who declared STEM majors at the start of college left these fields before graduation.

“Unfortunately, we see as a country that we’re doing a better job at access to college, but still struggling on completion,” King said. “We have to make sure that when they get there, the colleges give them the support and the counseling that students will need to thrive.”

Representatives from College Scorecard and Pell Abacus gave students a hands-on demo of their online tools. Both websites help students make better decisions when they choose a college.

College Scorecard, a government-funded website, calculates the average annual cost of college and provides specifics such as graduation rates and an average salaries of graduates.

Pell Abacus asks students simple questions, such as whether they qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. Based on their answers, they are given an estimate of how much financial aid they might get.
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Source: Scripps Howard Foundation Wire