Second Annual DIG STEM & Innovation Camp Takes Flight, Literally

(Columbia, SC) – The second annual “DIG Camp,” hosted by the Darla Moore School of Business (DMSB, Columbia, SC) and McNair Institute for Entrepreneurism and Free Enterprise at the University of South Carolina (USC), will teach 45 middle and high school students to design, build, and fly their own virtual airplanes August 7-10. This is triple from last year’s participation.

The innovation and technology camp—named using an acronym for “Design, Innovate” Grow”—is especially focused towards students in underrepresented populations and demographics and aims to spark students’ interest in STEM careers through hands-on, project-based learning in a fun and interactive environment. Specific skills students will learn to include ideation science, prototyping, 3D design, programming, and entrepreneurship. The focus of this year’s camp is innovation in flight and will conclude with a “Grand Flight Challenge” where students use the skills learned to build a real airplane model.

The Camp will also introduce campers to coding through a partnership with Webgyrlz Code. Campers will learn the logic and sequencing of programing using the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Scratch programing language.

“Coding is a superpower,” Webgyrlz Code Founder and DIG Code Academy instructor, Shambi Broome said. “Teaching kids how to code gives them the power to become producers of technology and teaches them valuable life skills.”

The camp is the inspiration of Tiye Gordon—former MBA graduate of the Darla Moore School of Business with a concentration in international business, entrepreneurship, and innovation—as well as, Dr. Joel Wooten, assistant professor of management science at DMSB, and Janay Clytus, USC’18, Biology major and Founder of StudentCad Connections.

“It is our goal to expose as many students as possible to ideation science and STEM in order to facilitate innovation, entrepreneurship, and a sense of the economic opportunity offered them and for the national and global economy,” said Gordon.

“STEM unlocks an important knowledge base that can empower youth to achieve their dreams,” Clytus said.

DIG Camp is modeled after Wooten’s “Innovation and Design” course at USC, which uses innovation tournaments in the classroom to help students learn how to deal with uncertainty in solving problems. Wooten will lead and instruct camp students applying principles from his course.

“One of the things business school students are increasingly asking for is access to innovation classes and content,” said Wooten. “This camp takes those same ideas and introduces them to the next generation of inventors and problem solvers—I’m incredibly excited about it.”

Interview: 2016 Dig Camp

The Camp will close with a pitch exhibition on Thursday, August 10, from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. at DMSB. Special panel of judges include Dr. Dirk Brown (Director, McNair Institute for Entrepreneurism and Free Enterprise), Dr. Michael Van Tooreen (Director, Ronald E. McNair Center for Aerospace Innovation and Research), Todd Jamison (GKN Aerospace, Orangeburg), and Ms. Jamsetta James (K -12 STEAM Program Manager, It-Ology). James will also deliver the evening’s keynote address on the importance of innovation, STEAM education, and diversity in technology.

DIG Camp is a proud participant of “My Brother’s Keeper Columbia”—an initiative helping to identify best practices that will aid in the positive personal and professional development of boys and young men of color in the Midlands of South Carolina.

For more information, sponsorship, or volunteer opportunities, visit digcamp.weebly.com or email [email protected]

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