Over 40 iDEW (Informatics Diversity-Enhanced Workforce) students from five Indianapolis high schools traveled to Google in Chicago this October, accompanied by several staff from Luddy Indianapolis. This group of students are participating or have participated in the Google Data Analytics Certificate program supported by the Indiana Department of Education 3E grant.
The 3E project, led by Luddy Indianapolis in collaboration with TechServ and TechPoint Foundation for Youth is aimed at helping local schools and communities strengthen, expand, and create effective pre-K to career pathways, especially in STEM.
Davide Bolchini, executive associate dean at Luddy Indianapolis, said, “Exposing high-school students early on to IT industry professionals through hands-on, personable, and interactive experiences can significantly increase self-confidence, essential for fruitful learning, and can lower the perceived barriers of access to the careers in the field. This is wonderful to see.”
Students started their day with a Pringles challenge, making a self-standing ring of potato chips; it wasn’t easy, but a team of students from three different high schools won the challenge. They toured the facilities, had Chicago deep dish pizza for lunch, and participated in a self-branding exercise. Finally, a panel of Googlers and Phylicia Manley from JPMorgan Chase (JPMC) talked about their own career paths and advice they would give themselves if they were in high school. Manley is vice president and program officer for global philanthropy and corporate responsibility. JPMC has supported iDEW summer programming for several years. The gathering gave Manley the opportunity to meet the students and see how JPMC funding for iDEW co-curricular programming is impacting lives; they also funded this excursion.
Google staffer, Amy Kemper, who is also on the Board at Techpoint Foundation for Youth, an iDEW partner organization, helped organize the visit. “It was such an honor to be able to share Google and life experiences with all of the kids,” Kemper said. “I, and everyone from Google who joined us that day, was so impressed with their ability to embrace being uncomfortable, open up, and ask questions. We were all pleasantly surprised with how engaged and curious they were throughout the day. It was a testament to their individual drive, smarts, and recognizing a great opportunity provided to them by iDEW. What a wonderful program and thank you for letting me play a part in it!”
Mike Alvarado, one of the Pike students in attendance, said, “The field trip was very interactive with the students. The icebreakers were a great way to introduce students to each other and at the same time find out more about ourselves. Being able to speak and ask questions to Google employees gave us lots of good and useful information that ranged from life advice to advice on how to get into Google. We also got introduced to an important topic called personal branding that is essential in our future careers by helping us identify ourselves and develop that into our personal branding statement.”
Google Data Analytics Certificate program initiated at Pike High School
Several Pike students completed a Google certification last spring that will prepare them with skills they can take directly to the workforce or carry with them to college.
Briana Escobar Bonilla and Mariamo Diallo are enrolled in the Computer Engineering program at IUPUI, and Adebiyi Adehinmoye is at Purdue, studying Cybersecurity. Henry Salcedo has been admitted to the Data Science program at Luddy Indianapolis for fall 2024.
Google Data Analytics Certificate is a fully online program that provides all the skills needed to find an entry-level job in the field of data analytics, even without prior experience. Students learn about data types and structures, using data to solve problems, how to analyze data, data storytelling with visualizations and using R programming to supercharge analysis. Recently, CompTIA certifications in A+ and Network+ have been added to the iDEW summer curriculum.
Interest in the certificate program is growing rapidly. Last academic year, 18 students were part of the first cohort. Ten students participated in summer 2023, and this academic year 46 students took part. iDEW faculty advisor Jim Lyst, said, “It’s wonderful to see this group of students adapt to the changing landscape of learning and take advantage of opportunities that leverage both certification and traditional degree pathways. This particular certification in data analytics provides a great foundation for a variety of careers and disciplines—whether in business, science, design, or software.”
Pike student named an Amazon Scholar
Pike graduate Anthony Chavez took two full years of iDEW classes and was a Google Data Analytics student. He was the recipient of an Amazon Future Engineer Scholarship in the amount of $40K and was offered a guaranteed summer internship with Amazon. Chavez is currently enrolled at IUPUI studying Computer Science.