Seminole State hosts CodeOrlando to highlight its IT programs

Thursday, July 18, 2019
Written by: Susan Leavens

You may know Aaron Gordon, the 6-foot-9-inch powerhouse that dominates the court for the Orlando Magic, but did you know that he also is giving back and influencing the youth of Orlando? Gordon has developed a summer camp that gives underprivileged students four weeks of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. 

With a staggering 2.4 million STEM jobs going unfilled in 2018, Gordon was inspired by his mother Shelly, who worked as a science engineer in the high-tech industry in California, to show underrepresented students from Orlando that there are more career options for them.  

Thirty students from Jones, Evans and Oakridge high schools will spend time learning about STEM and working on a classroom project that they will present to the group at the end of the camp on Aug. 2. Projects range from coding a game or creating an app to developing a website. Also included in the summer camp are field trips to area colleges, including Seminole State, UCF, and Full Sail. Area partners, such as Disney, the U.S. Navy, Nemours and EA Sports will host the students to educate them on careers in the STEM field while demonstrating their strengths in each of the fields.  

Dr. Janell R. Robinson, professor of information systems technology at Seminole State, has helped develop the curriculum and lesson plans and works as a mentor to the students.

“I am passionate about helping students accomplish their educational and career goals,” Robinson said “As a change leader, my ultimate goal is to help achieve more diversity and inclusion in the information technology field.”

Seminole State alumna Padmaja Parise volunteers as a mentor to the students at the camp. After being a member of Robinson’s Women in Technology club at Seminole State, Padmaja wanted to help the students gain a new perspective and says having mentors from different background allows them to have an overall enriched experience. 

“I have been lucky to have good mentors during my journey at [Seminole State] and this was a golden opportunity to give back to the community. Also, personally I have gained a lot in terms of networking and insight into STEM technologies.” 

As part of the camp experience, the students visited Seminole State July 18 and spent part of their time touring the College’s Computing and Telecommunication Services (CTS) Department, the Information Technology Department and the Barbara Miller CFADA Automotive Training Center. 

“I have spent the last three years working with minorities and females on and off campus, supporting and encouraging current [Seminole State] students, providing awareness about technology, and informing potential students about our information systems technology programs.” Robinson said. “Having mentors that look more like them, that they relate to, can give them the confidence they need to succeed.

Seminole State offers more than 40 STEM programs, including information technology and a two-semester STEM research program, which encourages students to conduct their own research while being mentored by faculty researchers. Plus, Seminole State can equip students for emerging STEAM professions by combining STEM with art and design. For more information, visit the IT Department website, the STEM Certificate Programs webpage or select the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics filter in College Catalog programs. 

About Seminole State College

Seminole State College of Florida, established in 1965, serves nearly 30,000 students across six sites in Central Florida. A comprehensive college, Seminole State has awarded more than 100,000 credentials, from bachelor's degrees to high school diplomas, and offers more than 200 degrees, certificates and programs designed for success. For more about the college, visit
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