Computer Science Camp

Computer Science Camp

Jun 12 2023

This week, JMU’s Computer Science (CS) and Information Technologies (IT) departments will kick off their 5th Annual Computing Camp for high school age refugee youth. The camp takes place on the JMU campus and is run by faculty members and teaching assistants from both departments. For a number of these students, the camp is pivotal in bringing awareness to the possibility of a career in technology. 

Throughout the week, students gain skills in computer programming through one of two different tracks, one for beginners, and another for more advanced students. Learning how to code opens the possibility for new opportunities in the future for the students within the refugee community. Rebecca, CWS Harrisonburg’s Youth and Employment Specialist explained, “now when you ask kids [refugee youth], ‘what are some of the jobs you're interested in?’, kids will say, ‘well, I want to be in computer science, I want to be in IT, or I want to be in cybersecurity’ and I even heard one kid say, ‘that's what everybody wants to do.’”  

Besides just learning programming skills, students get to experience a college environment. This way, refugee youth get acclimated to going to a university, and attending college is present on their minds. 

Students often attend the camp for multiple summers, where they can advance and become more literate in computer programming. Through this program, there’s an increased awareness throughout the refugee community of what’s possible. “Before, people would be like, I have no idea what [programming] is. We now have cousins, or younger siblings of people who went to the camp going. We also have people going to Blue Ridge, EMU, and JMU to study computer science or IT or networking” Rebecca said.  

CWS Harrisonburg is incredibly grateful for the continued partnership of JMU’s CS and IT Departments in the Computing Camp. Your work is making a wonderful difference in the lives of refugee students!