“You have an incredible opportunity with what you are learning at [the goIT program]. I want to encourage you to utilize it.” U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk delivered those words of advice to the Griffin Middle School students, who were selected to participate in goIT, a Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) sponsored program. GoIT is designed to help students gain the skills and confidence required to pursue science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) degrees and become tomorrow’s technology leaders.
The 32 Griffin students were tasked with developing an app to help solve a community problem. Over three days of winter break, the students brainstormed ideas that they see in their community. A few of the Griffin students noted the following issues facing their community: homelessness, hunger, road rage, traffic, pollution, nasty food, too much homework, and fruit flies.
“We are not crowdsourcing ideas. We are trying to get [the students] to understand that they can empower themselves to solve community problems,” explained Arif Rahman, a technology specialist with TCS.
According to Rahman, the goIT event at Griffin, which was free to students and the school, was the first time his company had arranged a technology awareness program at a Cobb County school.
After the students settled on one community issue, they spent the remaining days of the program developing an app to solve the problem. They also created a pitch to market their app to a panel of judges similar to ABC’s TV show “Shark Tank.”
The app winners were eighth graders Taylor Goins and Lauren LaPrade. TCS gave the students $75 gift cards for winning.
U.S. Rep. Loudermilk visited the students during their goIT brainstorming session. As a veteran of the IT industry, the congressman told the students that the types of job fields have changed since he was in school and there are now a lot more STEM jobs available.
“Technology changes so fast,” he reminded the students.
He talked about the impact the students could have on the future just like past generations have done via the Wright brother’s first aircraft, the astronauts first trip to space and today’s smart phone. The congressman encouraged the students to use their freedom to explore new ideas and tackle the next technology.
“Don’t be afraid of failure because failure is actually the key component to success,” Congressman Loudermilk told the Griffin students.