The key technology partner for the program is Clearly Innovative, which provides cross-platform mobile solutions, leveraging a combination of the Appcelerator Framework, Objective-C and Java.
Startup Middle School harnesses, develops and promotes the talent that already exists within American middle school classrooms to create a new generation of innovative global technology leaders. At (MS)2, the program entails the development of a custom mobile technology curriculum and competition to engage and motivate 40 middle school students from economically-challenged backgrounds to pursue careers in STEM. On June 3, students presented their ideas to a live audience and panel of judges for the chance to win a special trip, and potentially, investors for their projects.
During the ceremony, Peterson presented his mobile app, which was focused on fitness.
“The idea came from the fact that obesity is a big health problem in America,” he said. “There’s no app on the market that has the features I came up with.”
Busayo Bird-Maqubela, a 12-year-old coder at (MS)2, created an app called The Five Elements (TFE), which consists of five independent platforms, including the TFE clothing shop, TFE magazine and TFE ‘my studio,’ where musicians can connect and collaborate.
He said he plans to use his knowledge of technology for more than mobile apps and technology solutions.
“I think of myself as a coder,” Bird-Maqubela said. “This program has given me recourses and skills. This class creates the next Mark Zuckerberg, the next Steve Jobs. This is the class that makes the Black billionaires that can benefit the community. One of my main missions is to definitely come back and give back to the community.”
Eugenia Charles, a parent of one of the coders who participated, said she saw a need for more programs to bridge the “digital divide” – the idea that socioeconomic and other disparities can constrain opportunities in today’s high-tech world.
“Many of us are way behind when it comes to technology,” Charles said. “Many of our children don’t have access to computers, so the school provides them with their own laptops to take home. I think it’s great that the Howard is making a concerted effort to bring more opportunities for people of color in the tech field.”
For more information, contact Patrick Gusman, managing director, Social Sector Innovations, LLC, 646-835-9956 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.