Sixty IDEA scholars are spending their summer becoming student leaders, developing iPhone apps, gaining essential job skills, and understanding child development, all while getting paid for their time through IDEA’s Summer Jobs Program.
Student leadership interns are
- Examining school policies and exploring ways to improve them
- Testing new procedures developed by teachers and staff
- Creating videos to welcome incoming ninth-grade scholars
IDEA School Outreach & Student Resource Coordinator Taylor Ray is coaching the student leadership interns, who meet as a group twice a week and work on individual and small group tasks on other days.
Computer science interns are participating in Apple Coding Camp, taught by IDEA and TAG Labs computer science teacher Che Rose. Many of these interns have taken Mr. Rose’s classes in school, so they are adding Apple’s proprietary coding language--Swift--to their library of coding skills, which already includes C Sharp and Python.
In Apple Coding Camp, interns are learning both coding and design as they create prototype apps. Interns researched local nonprofits to find organizations they thought would benefit from a mobile app. “It’s more and more common that people don’t have computers, but rely on their phones to access the web,” explained Rose. “You can’t easily put a full desktop website on a phone, so most organizations either have a mobile version of their site or an app. Our interns are learning the fundamentals of design, such as minimalism, using empty space, and simply making sure buttons are big enough and at the bottom of the screen so your thumbs can reach them.”
“Seeing the scholars’ progress in such a short time has been fantastic,” Rose said. “It’s been good to see them iterate--they build something, then learn something new, and rebuild with that knowledge. Some of the kids have a knack for design some are really good at coding.”
One or two of the most successful intern app developers will have the opportunity to present their app at Apple’s national competition later in the summer. In addition to app development, computer science interns will take on challenges in robotics and augmented reality.
Mr. Rose has been impressed with scholars’ engagement throughout the internship. “For many, this is their first job, and they’re taking it seriously because we’ve made it serious. They had to interview to be selected for the internship, adhere to a dress code, and be in class on time. We saw a lot of scholars struggling to stay motivated during the pandemic, but they are really engaged now. Coding is different from a lot of other skill sets, so it’s ideal for some students. Some who struggle with behavior or reading comprehension are great programmers.”
Computer science interns and nonprofits they are designing apps for include:
Tamiya Shalon - One Warm Coat
Gerald Givings & Darrien Ruth- DC Scores
Eric Burgess & Jeremiah Holmes - AIDS United
Reggie Parker & Denzel Kerns - The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
Jaquan Ewing & Trevelle Steiner & Edward Keys - Public Justice Center
Zaria Etheridge & Christian Douglass - Society for Science and the Public
Alfred Ankrom & Jared Farmer - Food and Water Watch
Zaquan Thomas & Zechariah Hood - Project on Government Oversight
Arjae Savoy & Deron Thornton - Food and Water Action
Tyrus Spencer & Frank Johnson - Paralyzed Veterans of America
Arjanae Savoy & Antony Crump - DC Central Kitchen
Career Preparedness interns are working through a self-paced computer program that includes modules on college, career, and life goals. Facilitated by Special Education Aides Michelle Bell and Alton Whitley, the internship helps prepare scholars for life after high school.
This program is offered in collaboration with the DC Special Education Cooperative, which typically offers the internship over spring break. Because of Covid-19 closures, IDEA decided to offer the opportunity as a paid summer internship instead.
All IDEA summer interns come together on Wednesday afternoons to polish their workforce skills with the help of professional career coach Dr. Fatima Pierce, CEO of Hickman Rose Strategies. Dr. Pierce is helping scholars create compelling resumes and cover letters, learn proper email etiquette, practice interviewing and networking skills, and build LinkedIn profiles.
Interns are gearing up for a virtual networking mixer. IDEA is seeking professionals willing to volunteer an hour of their time to share their career stories and help scholars practice their networking skills. Interested professionals can contact IDEA Director of Career and Technical Education Andrea Zimmermann at firstname.lastname@example.org.