CodeChangers returns to Ridgecrest for STEM camp
For a second year, Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division teamed up with the Sierra Sands Unified School District to sponsor Utah-based organization CodeChangers to host a four-day science, technology, engineering and math camp for about 100 sixth- and seventh-graders in Ridgecrest, California from June 3-6.
One of CodeChangers’ founders, Jason Schallenberger, and his team traveled to Ridgecrest to host their STEM camp, which aims to help students become creators of technology and not just consumers.
“It’s been going really well,” Schallenberger said on the second day of camp. “We have a new group of students who weren’t able to attend last year and we’ve switched up our curriculum. The kids are loving it and we’re having a lot of fun.”
For an hour and a half each, students participated in 12 different classes at James Monroe Middle School gaining hands-on experience with website development, virtual reality, building a drone, and video game creation. Projects from each class connected to each other and some of their coding work is accessible through a CodeChangers online account for continued practice and development.
“I wish I had something like this growing up,” said Kenn Hernandez, a NAWCWD electrical engineer who was among several NAWCWD volunteers who helped with the camp. “When I was younger, you had to search for something like soldering on your own. To be able to have this opportunity at their age is an awesome advantage.”
To close out the camp, Schallenberger invited parents to see a video recap of their students working throughout the week and the CodeChangers team handed out “swag” to the participants as well as additional supplies to help them continue coding and building onto their projects.
Meghan Baronowski, closing ceremony guest speaker and head of Air Vehicle Engineering at NAWCWD, expressed her appreciation for the opportunity and excitement for the future of technology.
“My son came to this last year and he loved it,” Baronowski said. “I love that the base supports this and that we have employees who came and spent their time telling you a little bit about what they do and why this is important. You all are going to change the world. You’re going to be able to advance our technology to do things you can’t even dream of right now and I’m so excited to see it.”