Students from seven area high schools were chosen to participate in the second year of the Design Based Information Technology Leadership Experience (DITLE) summer program at the University of Cincinnati. This was the second of a 3 year, 1.2 million dollar grant project from the National Science Foundation hosted by the School of Information Technology in the College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services (CECH).
Components of the grant allow for students to earn college credit, compete in the UC High School IT Expo, gain access to paid internship opportunities, and receive mentoring and job shadow opportunities from leading Cincinnati businesses. The program director, Rebekah Michael, noted, “It’s important to pair students with industry professionals to present them with first-hand experiences and promote careers in technology tailored to their interest.”
DITLE focuses on providing experiences for pre-college students in the areas of information security, software development, computer network architecture, and database administration. It is designed to introduce modern skills in technology, while encouraging individual creativity in the STEM curriculum. This model has influenced previous students from the summer program to promote IT courses and clubs at their schools. Some students have begun to coordinate interactive “Family Tech Nights” and are returning to the summer program as mentors for future students.