Adam Pridgen Volunteers for KIPP Outreach Program
Today Adam Pridgen participated in Science, Engineering, Technology, and Mathematics Day at KIPP Academy Middle School in Southwest Houston. [http://kipphouston.org/kms] “KIPP, the Knowledge Is Power Program, is on a mission to develop in under served students the academic skills, intellectual habits, and qualities of character necessary to succeed at all levels of pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, college, and the competitive world beyond.” This is the first year professionals and graduate students were invited to participate in the event, which lasts all day. Adam learned of the opportunity through a posting at Rice, and as part of Praetorian’s Outreach Initiatives, he volunteered to speak with sixth graders about computer engineering and computer science. During this event, Adam spent time with sixth graders to talk about what it means to be a computer engineer and computer scientist and the impact these professions will have on the future.
“This event was awesome. I had the opportunity to sit down with some very intelligent and mature sixth graders. My only hope is that I have sparked an interest for them in the field of computer science and engineering. In the past I have acted as a Boy Scout Counselor and taught about computers and online safety, but this was much more extraordinary. I had a casual conversation with the students and told them about my background along with how I got to the position I am today.” Some of the common questions asked were “What does it take to be a computer scientist or engineer?” and “What does a computer scientist do?”. To the first one I answered, it takes three things. You need passion, because you really have to want to succeed. Second, you need to be willing to work hard. Completing a computer science or engineering degree is incredibly challenging, so you need a strong work ethic to complete this goal. Finally, you need to have fun and enjoy what you are doing. If you do not enjoy the work you do, then find something you do enjoy so that you can excel at it. As far as the second question goes, I have to repose the question of what doesn’t a computer scientist do. In general, we solve problems, and since computers are everywhere, computer scientists work and touch all aspects of our lives.