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INSPIRED program hosts computing academies for middle, high school students

INSPIRED program studentsLamar University’s INSPIRED program recently hosted two free computing academies for middle school students and is now accepting applications for a free summer high school academy.

INSPIRED, which stands for Increasing Student Participation in Research Development, is supported by a National Science Foundation Broadening Participation in Computing grant and by grants from ExxonMobil. The mission is to increase the number of U.S. women and minorities who earn computing degrees to help meet the demand for computing professionals in today’s high-tech society.

INSPIRED provides support for Lamar University undergraduate computer science students to work with faculty mentors to perform research and outreach, including these free academies at Lamar University. Undergraduate students prepare instructional materials, organize the events and teach the younger students under the direction of LU faculty.

The middle school academies on April 2 and April 9 gave 34 students a hands-on introduction to robotics, computer animation and web page development. Students worked in teams assisted by LU students.

The program partnered with Central Middle School in Nederland for the first event and with Abraham Lincoln School of Technology and Engineering in Port Arthur for the second. Other participants came from Vidor Middle School, New Life Christian Academy in Beaumont, Iman Academy in Houston, Little Cypress Junior High in Orange, Nolan Ryan Junior High in Pearland and Ortiz Middle School in Houston.

The high school academy will be from 1-5 p.m. July 11-15 on the Lamar University campus. Students will learn to program games using Greenfoot and Java and will learn to develop their own web pages using Microsoft Expressions and Hypertext Markup Language. No prior experience is needed. Students also will learn about computing careers in fields including medicine, business and engineering and will learn about how to prepare for college.

Applicants should be students entering grades 9-12 or spring 2011 high school graduates. Applications, which will undergo a selection process, are available at http://inspired.cs.lamar.edu/highschoolacademy.htm. Applications are due by June 8.

For more information on INSPIRED and outreach programs, visit http://inspired.cs.lamar.edu or call Professor Peggy Doerschuk at (409) 880-8782 or Associate Professor Jane Liu at (409) 880-7741.