The AT&T Aspire philanthropic initiative presented a $100,000 check on April 27 at Pike High School that will support the Informatics Diversity Enhanced Workforce (iDEW) program.
Launched in 2015, iDEW, an initiative created and administered by the Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI, aims to address the critical shortage of skilled underrepresented women and minorities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields. The year-round program kicked off at Arsenal Technical, Providence Cristo Rey, and Pike high schools in Indianapolis, introducing information technology (IT) career opportunities through innovative learning education modules.
The $100,000 AT&T contribution will support the purchase of 30 computers and travel costs for field trips during summer iDEW workshops over the next 4 years. It will allow students to learn applications of technology and witness IT careers in action while they visit places and share experiences otherwise not possible for them. A total of 360 students will be served by the funding during this 4-year period.
AT&T Indiana President Bill Soards shared the good news with iDEW Program Director and School of Informatics and Computing Executive Associate Dean Mathew J. Palakal, Pike High School Principal Troy Inman, President and CEO of Providence Cristo Rey Joe Heidt, Director of Career and Technical Education at Indianapolis Public Schools Ben Carter, teachers and students in the iDEW program, and representatives of Indianapolis local government.
“Our iDEW initiative addresses local and national IT and informatics workforce needs through community partnerships, and by attracting diverse high school students to informatics subjects with interesting, innovative, and engaging programs,” said Mathew J. Palakal. “We are so thrilled to have this AT&T Aspire support for our efforts at growing a successful and diverse workforce that can power the digital economy.”
“The iDEW program through the IU School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI has made a great impact on our computer science program here at Pike High School. Pike and IUPUI faculty have teamed up together to write and teach a new curriculum that helps our students to be college-ready and employable. This has been a great benefit to our students, who also receive college credit,” said Troy Inman. “The iDEW program has been a tremendous asset to us and has helped to increase our enrollment in the computer science courses.”
“Honestly, I was never really interested in anything that has to do with computers. However, after the first semester of being in Introduction to Computer Science, I realized that I genuinely enjoyed the class and the things that were being taught,” said Katya Dominguez, an iDEW student at Pike High School. “Being in the iDEW program has helped me recognize my interest in the field of technology and let me witness all the different opportunities that are offered to people like me.”
AT&T Aspire drives innovation in education through technology, social innovation, and relationships to ensure all students have the skills they need to succeed in school and beyond.