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App Camp Ignites Interest in Computer Science

Camp Ignites Interest in Computer Science

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

By Rebecca Davis ’15

During the last week of July, middle school students had the opportunity to create their own apps on Android devices in Siena’s “Learn to Program.” The week-long summer camp, founded by MaryAnne Egan, Ph.D., professor of computer science, introduced students to basic computer science skills in a fun, interactive way.

“My hope was to get kids excited about computer science,” Egan said. “Fortunately, they were a very motivated group to work with.”

The campers devised unique app games using programs like Google Maps, Paint, Contact Pickers and Accelerometers. They were able to make a virtual tour of Paris, complete with street views and landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe.

“Middle school is when kids are forming ideas so that’s why I decided this age group would be best suited for this camp,” Egan said. She plans to offer an advanced session next summer.

This year Siena’s computer science department will also be helping teachers at the Academy of the Holy Names, an all-girls school in Albany, to develop their introductory computer science courses.

While educating current undergraduates is still their primary focus, Siena’s faculty keep an eye out for potential future students as well.