June 20, 2009

Google, Educators Working With Lowcountry Middle School Entrepreneurs

Staff Report  /  Charleston Regional Business Journal

Forty-two middle school students from Berkeley County are spending this week applying innovative problem-solving skills to 21st-century challenges through the Innovation Technology & Entrepreneurship Among Middle Schoolers camp. The iTEAMS program, which is free to its participants, is a joint effort among SC Governors School for Science and Mathematics, Google Inc. and Berkeley County School District to encourage students who are interested in pursuing computer science, engineering, programming and business.

Employees from Google's nearby data center in Goose Creek are on site daily to share information with campers on the entrepreneurial philosophies and overall vision of the Internet search company. They also serve as mentors, introducing students to the company's technical applications and assisting with the camp's project-style format. "It is important that young people are given the tools and the resources to enhance their science and math skills," said Jeff Stevenson, program manager at the data center.

"The iTEAMS camp will provide Berkeley County students who are showing an interest in computer science, technology or engineering with those skills, and the added benefit of being with other middle schoolers in a fun, nurturing environment." Students at the camp use technological resources including video game creation software, global positioning systems and computer programming applications to simulate potential solutions to different challenges.

"Much like The Governor's School for Science and Mathematics, whose primary purpose is the economic development and prosperity of the Palmetto State, the iTEAMS camp will help identify future talent and educate motivated, young people about career opportunities in engineering and technology," said Kim Bowman, executive director of the GSSM Foundation.

The S.C. Governor's School for Science and Math Foundation received a Google Community Grant of $31,054 from the Google Inc. Charitable Giving Fund at Tides Foundation. Currently, eight GSSM alumni are employed by Google Inc. in Mountain View, Calif., and New York City.