3rd Annual CoderDojo Indiana Hackathon!

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On your mark… get set… code! On July 20th, CoderDojo Indiana (CDI), an initiative of TechPoint Foundation for Youth, hosted its third annual CoderDojo Indiana Hackathon, presented by Lessonly. This free, kids coding event engaged more than 99 student coders from around Indiana in a full day of computer science, food, and fun!

The day began with an opening ceremony led by George Giltner, VP of STEM Education, at 9am. Then, those students with some coding experience chose from three exciting challenges: Scratch, Python, or Ruby to showcase their coding skills. Each coder had 2 hours to complete programming challenges from different prompts given, trying to find solutions to problems within the codes!

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Meanwhile, beginner coders had the chance to attend My First Dojo, where kids were able to try out a variety of hands-on CS activities using Makey Makey, Sphero, VEX IQ robots, and more.

After a pizza lunch, the Project Expo began! During the Project Expo, kids from all age groups had the opportunity to showcase their homemade coding projects. These projects were broken down by category: Games, Social Enterprise, and Scratch. They presented their projects to other kids attending the event and the judges, explaining what their program does, and answering questions along the way!

While the Project Expo was going on, we were also busy celebrating the 50 year anniversary of the moon landing with the MoonHack! Beginner hackers could try their hand at coding a NASA rover across the surface of the moon, overcoming the obstacles that awaited them!

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The day concluded at 3:30pm with awards and prizes for kids in every category. Thanks to our friends at Raspberry Pi Foundation and individual donations, we were able to provide amazing prizes for our Scratch, Ruby, and Python Challenge Excellence and Project Expo winners! Our friend Max Yoder, CEO of this year’s presenting sponsor Lessonly, presented the awards to all of the winning students!

Congrats to all the winners - and check out our Facebook album for more pictures!

Want to join your local Dojo? Email myron@techpointyouth.org for information!

SRI Helps Teachers Fulfill New License Renewal Requirements

Most Indiana teachers are required to renew their teaching license every five years, which entails accruing 90 hours of professional development during that time frame. New professional license-renewal requirements were recently announced by the state of Indiana, requiring teachers who are renewing their license through “professional growth points,” which is the most common renewal path, to ensure that 15 of their 90 hours are workforce-related hours. This new requirement goes into effect on July 1, 2019, and is meant to give teachers professional development related to better preparing students for the workforce.

TechPoint Foundation for Youth, through its State Robotics Initiative, is offering 175 elementary and middle school teachers a chance to gain those hours by engaging their students in a fun - and free - robotics program.

Establishing a robotics team requires a coach - usually a teacher - who meets weekly with students for 10-16 weeks. TPF4Y funds the first year, providing a re-usable robotics kit, team registration, and professional development training on how to manage a robotics team. Coaches are also trained to complete a “classroom to career” activity with their students to show how competitive robotics directly relates to real world college and career pathways, a grant requirement that directly correlates to the teacher license renewal requirement. Teachers from schools awarded a grant:

  • Receive $760 worth of robotics supplies

  • Receive 15 hours of training that count toward Professional Growth Points that align with new teacher license requirements per House Enrolled Act 1002

Taking on the role of robotics coach gives teachers a free and fun way to gain the hours of professional development they need while also setting their students up for success in STEM jobs, something that is especially important given the increased STEM workforce demands in our state. Between 2017 and 2027, STEM jobs will grow 13% in Indiana (versus a 7% growth for non-STEM jobs). Plus, the median earnings in Indiana STEM jobs are more than $15 per hour higher than their non-STEM counterparts, and unemployment is significantly lower in STEM occupations. Many of the new workforce-related professional development opportunities that are surfacing for teachers are focused solely on fulfilling this new requirement, but lose sight of the opportunity for true professional development. TechPoint Foundation for Youth’s grant provides a long-lasting program that benefits Indiana students, while simultaneously helping teachers to achieve their professional development goals.

With a high impact program like the State Robotics Initiative, the numbers often speak for themselves. There is a 93% retention rate for teams receiving the comprehensive robotics start-up grant program from TechPoint Foundation for Youth, which speaks not only to the success teachers have had in implementing the program, but also the impact it is having on student participants and eventually, the Indiana economy.

Since the launch of the State Robotics Initiative in 2016, TechPoint Foundation for Youth has increased the number of VEX IQ robotics teams in Indiana from 73 to 1,536, more than any other state in the country. That means that more than 18,000 students are participating on those teams and, when asked, respond that they are more likely to attend college and pursue a STEM career thanks to their experience on the team.

Currently, eighty percent of Indiana school corporations have at least one school with a VEX IQ robotics team, but there are still more than 1,000 Indiana elementary and middle schools who are eligible for a robotics start-up grant and have yet to apply. TechPoint Foundation for Youth has $133,000 worth of grants to give away to 175 grant recipients for the 2019-20 school year.

Robotics helps kids learn to solve problems, create things, collaborate, and communicate with each other and their supervisors, vital 21st century workforce skills employers are asking for in their new hires. Other benefits include encouraging students, with a focus on reaching girls and children from underappreciated communities, to consider STEM careers, which will help Indiana increase minority representation in tech careers.

Creating a program like the State Robotics Initiative requires a cross-sector collaboration between school corporations, corporate partners, and community partners. Some of TechPoint Foundation for Youth’s partners who are making this happen for Indiana students include: the Indiana Department of Education, Indiana Department of Workforce Development, Guggenheim Life and Annuity, Roche Diagnostics, Eli Lilly and Company, and others. These partners each play a role based on the needs they see in our communities, whether that’s finding ways to connect students and teachers to real world experiences, building a pipeline of future employees, or developing workforce skills. 

TechPoint Foundation for Youth needs the support of donors, volunteers, and coaches in order to make this program successful, so please contact us at info@techpointyouth.org if you see yourself filling one of these roles. If you want to check a specific Indiana school’s eligibility for the grant, you can also visit the robot map webpage.

TPF4Y Selected as Brighter Indy Grant Recipient!

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TPF4Y is thrilled to announce our selection as a Brighter Indianapolis Fund community partner alongside three other deserving Indy-area nonprofits. The fund was formed in 2017 when local tech company Lessonly decided to give 1% of revenue and massive amounts of volunteer time to organizations in the Indianapolis community. Every year, Lessonly chooses four partner organizations and supports them through financial and volunteer commitments.

"TechPoint Foundation for Youth is removing barriers and inspiring youth in Indiana to pursue STEM careers,” said Alex Mislan, Lessonly Services Delivery Manager. “We're grateful for the opportunity to work with such a forward-thinking organization that is preparing the next generation of Lessonly llamas!"

As part of TPF4Y’s Brighter Indy partnership with Lessonly, the company will specifically be supporting two upcoming CoderDojo Indiana-facilitated events: the youth hackathon on July 20th and Hour of Code in December. The Lessonly team will also engage in several other volunteer opportunities during the 2019-20 year, allowing them to witness firsthand the impact their support is having on the hands-on STEM programs powered by TPF4Y. Lessonly is especially excited to have an impact of TPF4Y’s priority population, which is composed of Indiana students from families identified as low income and/or of low educational attainment, especially students who identify as female or non-white. This population is under-represented in STEM training and courses and, as adults, in STEM-related careers.

“It’s rewarding to have the opportunity to give back to the community we call home and to work with each of these fantastic nonprofits,” said Katie Townsend, who leads the Brighter Indy Fund and serves as Lessonly’s Director of Enterprise Sales. “We’re thrilled to increase our impact and help deliver more meaningful learning experiences for children across Indy.”

This year’s other Brighter Indianapolis Fund community partners include: Big Green, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), and Nine13Sports.

Indiana Represented at 2019 VEX World Championship!

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TPF4Y would like to recognize the tremendous accomplishments of all 120 Indiana robotics teams who competed at the 2019 VEX World Championship in Louisville, Kentucky, in April. It was an historic year for Indiana VEX teams, with more Indiana representation at the event than ever before! What’s even better? Twelve different home teams won awards at varying levels! (You can also view the Indiana Teams Worlds Results for the rankings of all of our Hoosier competitors!)

A few highlights we want to feature:

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  • Out of the 12 teams that made it to the Elementary School Division finals, only two were from the United States and both were Eaglebots teams from Woodview Elementary in Nappanee, Indiana, coached by Jake Simons. They represented their state and country with pride accomplishing a second and sixth place overall finish. The Eaglebots also received the Elementary School Division Excellence Award, the most prestigious award a team can win.   

  • In the Middle School Division finals, the Steel Eagles 1 from Zionsville Middle School, coached by Andy Seward, achieved a 3rd place finish, making them 1 of only 3 middle school teams from the United States to make the finals and the only team from Indiana.

  • Two teams from Indiana placed in the top ten for World Skills. Team 491X from Pioneer Jr-Sr High School, coached by Thomas Tam, had the 8th highest Skills score. Team 574C from Wawasee High School, coached by Jed Wandland, had the 2nd highest Skills score. 

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While we are very proud of the teams mentioned above, we want to congratulate each and every team that qualified for the 2019 VEX World Championship - just making it to the competition is a huge accomplishment! We hope that all of the Indiana teams had as much fun competing as we did cheering you on! 

We are looking forward to the upcoming season to see all the excitement generated by the VRC challenge, Competition Tower Takeover and the VEX IQ challenge, Squared Away IQ. The countdown to next year’s Indiana VEX Robotics World Championship starts NOW!

$38,000 Raised at 2019 Mira Awards to Expand Design It Make It Challenge!

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In partnership with the Indiana University School of Education, TechPoint Foundation for Youth is thrilled to announce our newest program: the Design It Make It Challenge!

Design It Make It has been created to promote and celebrate the convergence of designing and making in a world supported by digital technologies. Modeled after inquiry-based learning models, Design It Make It allows students to use play, imagination, innovation, and critical thinking to solve a real-world challenge that changes each year.

Our pilot program with 20 schools was a huge success and culminated with the Design It Make It showcase hosted on Saturday, March 10th at Lucas Oil Stadium during the 2019 Indiana VEX Robotics State Championship. This year’s challenge was to create a solution that improves human health. Six teams were selected as finalists and invited to present their projects at the showcase. Three awards were given:

  • Judges Top Award: Adams Central Jr/Sr. High - Monroe, IN

  • Design It Award: Binford Elementary School - Bloomington, IN

  • Make It Award: Riverside Intermediate School - Fishers, IN

At this year’s Mira Awards gala on Saturday, April 13th, both Salesforce and Angie's List provided $10,000 gifts in response to TPF4Y's challenge to raise funds to expand our Design It Make It program. Paired with the generous financial contributions of the Mira attendees, we raised $38,000 to support the participation of more than 1,000 students in the Design It Make It challenge during the upcoming school year!

4th graders from University Elementary in Bloomington display their project: The Reading Treehouse.

4th graders from University Elementary in Bloomington display their project: The Reading Treehouse.

6th graders from Fishers-based Riverside Intermediate School’s Engineering Design Team submitted a project entitled Global Predator Protection: Solutions for Zero Hunger, which received the Make It Award.

6th graders from Fishers-based Riverside Intermediate School’s Engineering Design Team submitted a project entitled Global Predator Protection: Solutions for Zero Hunger, which received the Make It Award.

8th graders from Adams Central Middle School in Monroe, Indiana, pose with their project: Toilet Transfer, which received the Judges Top Award.

8th graders from Adams Central Middle School in Monroe, Indiana, pose with their project: Toilet Transfer, which received the Judges Top Award.

2019 Bridge Builder Award Recipient Announced!

Stephen J. Dutton, Partner, Barnes & Thornburg LLP, is the 2019 Bridge Builder Award recipient.

Stephen J. Dutton, Partner, Barnes & Thornburg LLP, is the 2019 Bridge Builder Award recipient.

TechPoint Foundation for Youth is pleased to announce that its Board of Directors has selected Stephen J. Dutton, Partner, Barnes & Thornburg LLP, as the 2019 Bridge Builder Award recipient.  

The award will be presented to Mr. Dutton during the TechPoint Mira Awards gala at the JW Marriott on April 13th. The Mira Awards gala, recognizing individual and organizational success in the Indiana technology industry, will be celebrating its 20th anniversary to a sold-out crowd.

The Bridge Builder Award is given annually to an individual, program, or organization that has transformed science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education for Indiana students who are typically underrepresented in those same industries.

Stephen J. Dutton was selected in recognition of his nearly two decades working to help form and shape the organizations that became TechPoint, Inc. and TechPoint Foundation for Youth, serving a combined 27 years as a member of the Board of Directors for these organizations. As a founding board member of TechPoint Foundation for Youth, Steve’s role in setting the groundwork for the governance and structure of the organization has been a crucial component in allowing the Foundation to invest millions of philanthropic dollars into our state and impact hundreds of thousands of students since 2001.

“TechPoint Foundation was envisioned as a way for the tech community to give back,” said Mr. Dutton. “The focus was always on finding a way to supplement the philanthropy made possible with the influx brought about by the new economy being buoyed by Indiana’s local manufacturing and financial sectors.”

Steve played a crucial role in positioning both organizations to successfully impact thousands of students, professionals, and companies throughout Indiana and the impact he made continues to influence their direction.

“TechPoint and its predecessors have moved Central Indiana from a technology backwater to a national player,” said Mr. Dutton, “and Techpoint Foundation for Youth has done so much with so little. Its focus on STEM education has moved the needle in Indiana.”

Steve began his career advising on securities, tax, and M&A matters before moving to advise on technology transactions during what was the very infancy of the tech industry. Steve has spent over four decades in practice, becoming an often under-the-radar fixture within the technology ecosystem. Steve’s amazing abilities have been recognized throughout his career, including The Best Lawyers in America, 2003-2019; Lawyer of the Year, 2015 and 2017; Indiana Super Lawyers, 2004-2017. Steve graduated magna cum laude from both Illinois Institute of Technology and Indiana University School of Law.

“I will be forever grateful for the role Steve has played in our success as an organization,” said Laura Dodds, Executive Director of TechPoint Foundation for Youth. “Ironically, considering his unbelievable humility, I have affectionately referred to Steve as the Grand Poobah of the Foundation as there is no question he doesn't have the answer to from his time with the board. There is truly no one like him.”

TPF4Y’s Second Annual Pi Day Celebration Impacts Nearly 1000 Students

4th graders from New Augusta Public Academy South with a volunteer from First Internet Bank.

4th graders from New Augusta Public Academy South with a volunteer from First Internet Bank.

On March 14th, TPF4Y hosted our second official celebration of Pi Day presented by First Internet Bank! Pi Day is celebrated annually by mathematics fanatics around the globe as the day’s date (3.14) bears a striking resemblance to pi, the mathematical constant used in computing the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter.

Thanks to a generous gift from First Internet Bank, TPF4Y was able to organize Pi Day events at local elementary schools with local STEM professionals volunteering to lead a math-focused activity provided by our partner, Math Pentathlon.  

3rd graders from Indian Creek Elementary with a volunteer from First Internet Bank.

3rd graders from Indian Creek Elementary with a volunteer from First Internet Bank.

TPF4Y worked with nearly 1000 3rd, 4th, and 5th-grade students from New Augusta Public Academy South, Indian Creek Elementary, Deer Run Elementary, and Sidener Academy to celebrate Pi Day by playing Juggle, a Math Pentathlon board game. New Augusta Public Academy South and Indian Creek Elementary had over 40 volunteers from First Internet Bank, Liberty Mutual, GEICO, Sogeti, and many more local companies leading the activity and helping students see how fun math can be.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to making Pi Day 2019 a success!

4th graders from New Augusta Public Academy South with a volunteer form Sogeti.

4th graders from New Augusta Public Academy South with a volunteer form Sogeti.

While Pi Day has passed for this year, we are still looking for volunteers to help facilitate Math Pentathlon games for students this summer and during the 2019-20 school year. Want to learn more? Think you might be able to help? Contact Volunteer@TechPointYouth.org!


2019 - Indiana VEX Robotics State Championship

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The largest robotics state championship in the country took place on Saturday, March 10th at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, produced by TechPoint Foundation for Youth, powered by Guggenheim Life and Annuity and hosted by the City of Indianapolis. This is the second time the event has been held at the venue, bringing 361 Indiana elementary, middle, and high school teams together to compete for the opportunity to advance to this year's VEX Robotics World Competition being held in Louisville, Kentucky, at the end of April. More than 12,000 people were in attendance for the event.

Maddie Thumma and Leanne Cushing from BattleBots

Maddie Thumma and Leanne Cushing from BattleBots

Very special guests, Mayor Joe Hogsett, RECF CEO and Chairman of the Board, Dan Mantz, and IDOE Computer Science Specialist, Jake Koressel helped kick off the event, all presenting during the opening ceremony. Leanne Cushing and Maddie Thumma from BattleBots made a surprise appearance, with many words of encouragement for all of the female robotics students in the audience!

IndyVRC founder, Former Mayor Ballard, along with key representatives from top level sponsors including Indiana Department of Workforce Development, Indiana Department of Education, Roche Diagnostics, Eli Lilly and Company Foundation and additional supporting partners, attended to present awards including the coveted Ballard Teamwork Challenge trophies.

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In addition to the nearly 1,900 robotics matches occurring on 50 different robotics fields throughout the day, an interactive TinkerFest presented by GEICO Cares took place that allowed students to tinker, make, discover, invent, create and play. 20 booths inspired more than 1,000 students through hands-on activities - and it was free to participate. TinkerFest also showcased finalists of the the inaugural Design it Make it Challenge. The contest, presented by TechPoint Foundation for Youth and IU School of Education, challenged K-12 teams to present a solution to a real world problem by designing and building a device that improves human health (see results below).

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"This event was truly a milestone in our efforts with the State Robotics Initiative, and we were absolutely thrilled to put on a great event celebrating the success of Indiana robotics students," said VP of STEM Education for TechPoint Foundation for Youth, George Giltner, "With that being said, our work with the SRI will not be complete until every student in Indiana has access to a robotics program. We are looking forward to further expanding the impact of the initiative in the coming year."

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The SRI grant program has helped launch more than 960 VEX IQ elementary and middle school teams since 2016. The 2019-20 grant is now open and the TPF4Y Robot Team hopes to award an additional 175 grants to eligible elementary and middle schools.

Due to the unprecedented growth of VEX IQ teams in Indiana, the state was awarded 110 qualifying spots for the 2019 World Competition - more than any state in the U.S. The 110 Indiana teams competing at Worlds will be matched up against 1,564 teams from over 30 countries in Louisville, Kentucky, from April 24-30.

Video recaps

Don’t miss these dynamic videos created by Query Productions for the State Championship:

Video played during the opening ceremonies

Learn more about robotics here: https://www.techpointyouth.org/robots/ Video credit: Query Productions - www.queryproductions.com

Final Results

Elementary VEX IQ

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Middle School VEX IQ

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Middle + High School VRC

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Design it Make it Challenge Results

Judges Top Award

Adams Central Jr/Sr High, Monroe, IN


Design It Award

Binford Elementary School, Bloomington, IN


Make It Award

Riverside Intermediate School, Fishers, IN


State Finalists:

New Castle Middle School, New Castle, IN

Clear Creek Elementary, Bloomington, IN

University Elementary, Bloomington, IN

Binford Elementary School, Bloomington, IN

Celebrating Women's History Month with STEM Pioneers!

March is #WomensHistoryMonth and we are celebrating by highlighting female pioneers, both past and present, in STEM fields. Read on to learn more about women astronauts, chemists, computer scientists, geologists, mathematicians, paleontologists, physicists, and more!

Rebecca Lee Crumpler was the first African American woman to become a physician in the United States & the only female physician author in the 19th century!

Rebecca Lee Crumpler was the first African American woman to become a physician in the United States & the only female physician author in the 19th century!

Marie Tharp was an American geologist & oceanographic cartographer who helped create the 1st scientific map of Earth's entire sea floor, revealing the Mid-Atlantic Ridge & changing the way earth scientists thought about the Earth's crust & its movement. (photo: Bruce Gilbert)

Marie Tharp was an American geologist & oceanographic cartographer who helped create the 1st scientific map of Earth's entire sea floor, revealing the Mid-Atlantic Ridge & changing the way earth scientists thought about the Earth's crust & its movement. (photo: Bruce Gilbert)

Florence Bascom was the 1st woman to be hired by the U.S. Geological Survey & the 1st woman to earn a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins. She's most known for her work with petrography (the description & classification of rocks, usually by microscopic study).

Florence Bascom was the 1st woman to be hired by the U.S. Geological Survey & the 1st woman to earn a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins. She's most known for her work with petrography (the description & classification of rocks, usually by microscopic study).

Dorothy Hodgkin was a British chemist who developed protein crystallography, for which she won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1964. Her research led to the discovery of the structure of penicillin, vitamin B12 & insulin. (photo: Royal Society of Chemistry)

Dorothy Hodgkin was a British chemist who developed protein crystallography, for which she won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1964. Her research led to the discovery of the structure of penicillin, vitamin B12 & insulin. (photo: Royal Society of Chemistry)

Hypatia was the first female mathematician whose life is reasonably well recorded. She lived in Alexandria, Egypt around 400 AD & was known as a great teacher & wise counselor.

Hypatia was the first female mathematician whose life is reasonably well recorded. She lived in Alexandria, Egypt around 400 AD & was known as a great teacher & wise counselor.

Rachel Carson was a marine biologist & conservationist who started her career at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. She's the author of multiple books, including Silent Spring, which helped inspire the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency!

Rachel Carson was a marine biologist & conservationist who started her career at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. She's the author of multiple books, including Silent Spring, which helped inspire the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency!

Samantha Cristoforetti is an Italian European Space Agency astronaut who holds the record for longest uninterrupted spaceflight of a European astronaut. She's the 1st Italian woman in space & is known as the first person who brewed an espresso in space!

Samantha Cristoforetti is an Italian European Space Agency astronaut who holds the record for longest uninterrupted spaceflight of a European astronaut. She's the 1st Italian woman in space & is known as the first person who brewed an espresso in space!

Katsuko Saruhashi was a Japanese geochemist most well-known for her groundbreaking research on radioactive fallout. She was the 1st woman to receive a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Tokyo.

Katsuko Saruhashi was a Japanese geochemist most well-known for her groundbreaking research on radioactive fallout. She was the 1st woman to receive a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Tokyo.

Fran Allen is a computer scientist who was the 1st female IBM Fellow & the 1st woman to receive the Association for Computing Machinery’s Turing Award (aka the "Nobel Prize of computing"). (photo: Rama, Cc-by-sa-2.0-fr)

Fran Allen is a computer scientist who was the 1st female IBM Fellow & the 1st woman to receive the Association for Computing Machinery’s Turing Award (aka the "Nobel Prize of computing"). (photo: Rama, Cc-by-sa-2.0-fr)

Mary Anning was a paleontologist in the early 1800s who became world renowned for Jurassic marine fossils she discovered in the cliffs along the English Channel & contributed to important changes in scientific thinking about prehistoric life.

Mary Anning was a paleontologist in the early 1800s who became world renowned for Jurassic marine fossils she discovered in the cliffs along the English Channel & contributed to important changes in scientific thinking about prehistoric life.

Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova was the first woman to fly in space! In 1963, she orbited the earth once every 88 minutes by operating her spacecraft manually. (photo: RIA Novosti archive)

Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova was the first woman to fly in space! In 1963, she orbited the earth once every 88 minutes by operating her spacecraft manually. (photo: RIA Novosti archive)

Rosalind Franklin was a chemist best known for her work on the X-ray diffraction images of DNA while at Kings College London, which led to the discovery of the DNA double helix. (photo: personal collection of Jenifer Glynn)

Rosalind Franklin was a chemist best known for her work on the X-ray diffraction images of DNA while at Kings College London, which led to the discovery of the DNA double helix. (photo: personal collection of Jenifer Glynn)

Emmy Noether was a German mathematician who made important contributions to abstract algebra & theoretical physics. She was described by Albert Einstein as "the most significant creative mathematical genius" of her time.

Emmy Noether was a German mathematician who made important contributions to abstract algebra & theoretical physics. She was described by Albert Einstein as "the most significant creative mathematical genius" of her time.

Christine Darden is an American mathematician & aeronautical engineer who spent her career at NASA researching supersonic flight & sonic booms. She was the first black woman at NASA’s Langley Research Center ‏to be promoted into the top rank in the federal civil service.

Christine Darden is an American mathematician & aeronautical engineer who spent her career at NASA researching supersonic flight & sonic booms. She was the first black woman at NASA’s Langley Research Center ‏to be promoted into the top rank in the federal civil service.

Shafi Goldwasser is a computer scientist and 1 of 3 women to win the Association for Computing Machinery’s Turing Award (aka the "Nobel Prize of computing"). She's a professor at both MIT & Weizmann Institute in Israel, cofounder of Duality Technologies & director of the Simon Institute!

Shafi Goldwasser is a computer scientist and 1 of 3 women to win the Association for Computing Machinery’s Turing Award (aka the "Nobel Prize of computing"). She's a professor at both MIT & Weizmann Institute in Israel, cofounder of Duality Technologies & director of the Simon Institute!

Sally Ride was the 1st American woman in space (3rd overall) & remains the youngest American astronaut to have traveled to space (at the age of 32)!

Sally Ride was the 1st American woman in space (3rd overall) & remains the youngest American astronaut to have traveled to space (at the age of 32)!

Grace Hopper was a celebrated computer scientist who earned her Ph.D. in mathematics from Yale before becoming a U.S. Navy rear admiral & one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer.

Grace Hopper was a celebrated computer scientist who earned her Ph.D. in mathematics from Yale before becoming a U.S. Navy rear admiral & one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer.

Marie Curie developed of the theory of radioactivity (a term that she coined). She was the 1st woman to win a Nobel Prize, the 1st person (& only woman!) to win twice, & the only person to win a Nobel Prize in two different sciences (#physics & #chemistry).

Marie Curie developed of the theory of radioactivity (a term that she coined). She was the 1st woman to win a Nobel Prize, the 1st person (& only woman!) to win twice, & the only person to win a Nobel Prize in two different sciences (#physics & #chemistry).

Jocelyn Bell Burnell is an astrophysicist who, as a postgraduate student at Cambridge University, co-discovered the first radio pulsars (rapidly spinning neutron stars formed in supernova explosions)! (photo: Daily Herald Archive / SSPL via Getty Images)

Jocelyn Bell Burnell is an astrophysicist who, as a postgraduate student at Cambridge University, co-discovered the first radio pulsars (rapidly spinning neutron stars formed in supernova explosions)! (photo: Daily Herald Archive / SSPL via Getty Images)

Florence Nightingale is widely known as the founder of modern nursing - International Nurses Day is celebrated on her birthday! - but was also gifted in mathematics and became a pioneer in the use of infographics and statistical graphics!

Florence Nightingale is widely known as the founder of modern nursing - International Nurses Day is celebrated on her birthday! - but was also gifted in mathematics and became a pioneer in the use of infographics and statistical graphics!

Now Recruiting AmeriCorps VISTAs!

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Since August 2014, TPF4Y has hosted 12 VISTA members who have dedicated their time to the growth and sustainability of our programs. Our VISTAs are an invaluable asset to the work we do and many of our successes, as well as the improvements and changes we continue to implement, are a direct result of their work!

TPF4Y is looking for three new VISTAs to start in June 2019 to help us to grow our impact. Our VISTAs play a key role in ensuring that underserved students continue to have access to experiential STEM learning opportunities. Check out the positions below and share with your network! We can’t wait to welcome these three new members to our team:

Outreach & Community Coordinator (click here to learn more & apply!)

This VISTA member will serve as a liaison between corporate partners, current and prospective mentors, school administration, and teachers to support the growth of STEM Partners, an innovative mentorship program. He or she will also help to identify and launch new math and science after-school enrichment programs, assist program staff with creating a volunteer development plan to improve volunteer retention rates, and help to build a sustainable program model for STEM enrichment during school breaks.

K-12 Program Coordinator (click here to learn more & apply!)

This VISTA member will help us to grow and maintain our State Robotics Initiative (SRI) as the number of VEX IQ robotics teams in Indiana has grown to more than 1,500! SRI has provided thousands of Indiana elementary and middle schools with VEX IQ robotics kits over the past three years. This VISTA will help to recruit schools and community centers to start robotics teams, assist with teacher training, provide event support, and work to develop strategies to sustain the growth of youth robotics in Indiana.
 

AmeriCorps VISTA members live and serve in some of our nation's poorest urban and rural areas. With passion, commitment, and hard work, they create or expand programs designed to bring individuals and communities out of poverty. Want to learn more about becoming a VISTA? Visit the AmeriCorps VISTA FAQ page.

Questions? Contact George@TechPointYouth.org!

Celebrating Black History Month with STEM Leaders!

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February is #BlackHistoryMonth and we're celebrating thought-leaders from all STEM fields! Here, we’re highlighting some of the advances made in science, technology, engineering, and math thanks to Black & African American pioneers!


Percy Lavon Julian was the first African American chemist inducted into the National Academy of Sciences & his work with steroids led to treatments for diseases like rheumatoid arthritis & glaucoma. He also attended DePauw University right here in Indiana!

Percy Lavon Julian was the first African American chemist inducted into the National Academy of Sciences & his work with steroids led to treatments for diseases like rheumatoid arthritis & glaucoma. He also attended DePauw University right here in Indiana!

Valerie Thomas, inventor of 3D television, patented the Illusion Transmitter that extends television & makes images look three dimensional. She also worked for NASA overseeing the Landsat team that built the first satellite to send images from space!

Valerie Thomas, inventor of 3D television, patented the Illusion Transmitter that extends television & makes images look three dimensional. She also worked for NASA overseeing the Landsat team that built the first satellite to send images from space!

Vivien Thomas was an African American surgical technician who developed the procedures used to treat cyanotic heart disease in the 1940s without any education past high school.

Vivien Thomas was an African American surgical technician who developed the procedures used to treat cyanotic heart disease in the 1940s without any education past high school.

Katherine Johnson's 35 year career as a NASA mathematician led to the success of U.S. manned spaceflights & her portrayal in the movie Hidden Figures! She was awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama in 2015.

Katherine Johnson's 35 year career as a NASA mathematician led to the success of U.S. manned spaceflights & her portrayal in the movie Hidden Figures! She was awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama in 2015.

Mark Dean is the co-creator of the IBM personal computer released in 1981 & contributed to the development of the color PC monitor. He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1997.

Mark Dean is the co-creator of the IBM personal computer released in 1981 & contributed to the development of the color PC monitor. He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1997.

Gladys West is a mathematician best known for helping develop the Global Positioning System & her work to mathematically model the shape of the Earth. West was inducted into the U.S. Air Force Hall of Fame in 2018.

Gladys West is a mathematician best known for helping develop the Global Positioning System & her work to mathematically model the shape of the Earth. West was inducted into the U.S. Air Force Hall of Fame in 2018.

Jerry Lawson is an electronic engineer best known for his time at the SiliconValley semiconductor firm Fairchild, where he helped create the world's first computerized cartridge-based video game system.

Jerry Lawson is an electronic engineer best known for his time at the SiliconValley semiconductor firm Fairchild, where he helped create the world's first computerized cartridge-based video game system.

Born into slavery, George Washington Carver went on to become an agricultural scientist, teaching at Tuskegee University for 47 years. He is especially well known for inventing over 300 uses for peanuts (although he did not invent peanut butter!).

Born into slavery, George Washington Carver went on to become an agricultural scientist, teaching at Tuskegee University for 47 years. He is especially well known for inventing over 300 uses for peanuts (although he did not invent peanut butter!).

Marie Maynard Daly was biochemist and the first African American woman in the U.S. to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry.

Marie Maynard Daly was biochemist and the first African American woman in the U.S. to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry.

Lonnie Johnson is a NASA engineer best known as the inventor of the Super Soaker!

Lonnie Johnson is a NASA engineer best known as the inventor of the Super Soaker!

The 1st African American woman in space, Mae Jemison attended med school, became a physician & served in the Peace Corps before becoming a NASA astronaut. She also holds 9 honorary doctorates in science, engineering, and the humanities.

The 1st African American woman in space, Mae Jemison attended med school, became a physician & served in the Peace Corps before becoming a NASA astronaut. She also holds 9 honorary doctorates in science, engineering, and the humanities.

Ernest Everett Just was a pioneering African American biologist who's primary legacy is his recognition of the fundamental role of the cell surface in the development of organisms.

Ernest Everett Just was a pioneering African American biologist who's primary legacy is his recognition of the fundamental role of the cell surface in the development of organisms.

Jane Cooke Wright was a pioneering cancer researcher & surgeon, most known for her contributions to chemotherapy. Wright pioneered the use of drugs to treat breast cancer & skin cancer and co-founded the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Jane Cooke Wright was a pioneering cancer researcher & surgeon, most known for her contributions to chemotherapy. Wright pioneered the use of drugs to treat breast cancer & skin cancer and co-founded the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Physicist George Carruthers invented the ultraviolet camera for NASA's launch of Apollo 16 & his invention recorded the first observation of molecular hydrogen in outer space. Not surprisingly, he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2003.

Physicist George Carruthers invented the ultraviolet camera for NASA's launch of Apollo 16 & his invention recorded the first observation of molecular hydrogen in outer space. Not surprisingly, he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2003.

Shirley Ann Jackson is the first African American woman to earn a doctorate at MIT and the second African American woman in the U.S. to earn a doctorate in physics. She is currently the 18th president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Shirley Ann Jackson is the first African American woman to earn a doctorate at MIT and the second African American woman in the U.S. to earn a doctorate in physics. She is currently the 18th president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Edward Alexander Bouchet was the first African American to earn a Ph.D. from any American university, completing his dissertation in physics at Yale in 1876.

Edward Alexander Bouchet was the first African American to earn a Ph.D. from any American university, completing his dissertation in physics at Yale in 1876.

Giving Tuesday 2018

Black Friday. Cyber Monday. Giving Tuesday.
On November 27th, give thanks by giving back with a donation to TPF4Y.

From students, to volunteers, to teachers, to schools...

TPF4Y programs unite everyone in our mission to inspire underserved students
to become the future leaders of our state's STEM workforce.

But don't just take our word for it.

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"I like the robotics team because I get to be an engineer. I feel more confident. I've learned that teamwork is better than doing things alone."
- Emma, 5th Grade Student

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“I’ve learned how to work with my team better. Robotics helps me learn to build because I want to become an engineer. I’ve learned to try new things at life.”
- Nate, 5th Grade Student

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“Robotics is very educational. I learn how to have good teamwork. It is fun because you can work with others. I feel more confident at school because I can help others with building.”
- Jarrah, 5th Grade Student

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“It is so important to invest our time as volunteers into our youth.  Many of our kids do not have positive outlets for their creativity and being a part of the robotics team is giving allowing them to develop skill not only in robotics, but also in problem solving.  I have seen an increase in curiosity and drive in the students who take part in this program.  Kids are working together to better themselves, and it is bringing together groups of students who may otherwise not interact with each other.  It is awesome to watch!!”
- Joanna Schnepp, Volunteer

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“Students crave attention from adults, and when they see teachers or community members volunteering to spend time with them as they showcase their skills, it excites them. It lets them know that people care about them and want them to have opportunities to better their future. It is my hope that it inspires them to also volunteer when they are older and show kindness to others through their actions.”
- Heather Rumple, Volunteer

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"The knowledge I gained at the TechPoint Foundation training allows me to support my students as they build, collaborate, and problem solve this competition season. The training reinforced the goals and vision set for my team and allowed me the forum to ask questions from trainers as well as receive tips and advice from experts in the field. Thanks to the training, I am able to teach my team how to delegate responsibilities, analyze problems, experiment with solutions, and document progress.”
- Jennifer Moore, Teacher & Robotics Coach

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“I appreciate the training I received from TechPoint Foundation for Youth. Everyone was patient in explaining how the robot works, how to get my team together and what a successful season should look like for a first year, second year team. We are now in our third year and I continue to be thankful for the support, trainings offered, and quick responses to questions that come up. The robotics program here at Mississinewa all began with a grant from TechPoint Foundation for Youth. The ways this program has impacted students is unbelievable. Students who were once so shy are finding a voice. Those that really didn't care to come to school are finding excitement in learning the world of robotics. Others are gaining confidence, making friends, and having fun while learning to collaborate.”
- Alysha Scott, Teacher & Robotics Coach

“The TechPoint Foundation for Youth's robotics grants have helped us to foster change in the way we view student programs.  Through robotics education, we are now able to serve a sector of our student population that has been overlooked in the past.  Our building climate is now more inclusive and we are proud to be able to partner with TechPoint Foundation to offer students with interests in technology and engineering a fresh approach to STEM education.”
- Amanda Varner, Assistant Principal

“I really can’t think of a better way to drive the future of life sciences in Central Indiana than to support TechPoint Foundation for Youth's work with STEM initiatives like VEX robotics. We at Roche are so proud of the legacy we helped build in Indianapolis more than 7 years ago with the launch of the IndyVRC and are thrilled with the statewide growth TPF4Y has achieved over the past few years.”
- Carole Puls, Roche Diagnostics

So mark your calendars and celebrate Giving Tuesday on November 27th with a gift to TPF4Y
to support STEM programs for Indiana students!

Click here to make your gift now!

2nd Annual CoderDojo Indiana Hackathon!

On your mark… get set… code! On July 28th, CoderDojo Indiana (CDI), an initiative of TechPoint Foundation for Youth, hosted the second annual CoderDojo Indiana Hackathon. This free, kids coding event engaged more than 80 student “code ninjas” from around Indiana in a full day of computer science, food, and fun!

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The day began with an opening ceremony led by Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett at 9am. Then, experienced code ninjas chose from three exciting challenges: Scratch, Python, or GameCraft. Each ninja had 5.5 hours to earn point by programming solutions to different prompts given in each challenge - the more difficult the challenge, the more points they earned.

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Meanwhile, beginner ninjas had the chance to attend #MyFirstDojo, where kids were able to try out a variety of hands-on CS activities using Makey Makey, Sphero, VEX IQ Robots, and more.

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The day concluded at 4pm with awards and prizes for kids in every category. Thanks to our friends at Raspberry Pi Foundation, we were able to provide an amazing prize for our Scratch and Python Challenge Excellence winners: travel stipends to attend Coolest Projects North America in Santa Ana, California, this September. Deesha Roopesh of Carmel and Christopher Wang of Fort Wayne will both travel to this national event to represent Indiana later this year.

Want to join your local Dojo? Email myron@techpointyouth.org for information!

2018 Summer Fun with Technology!

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Most of the time, parents bemoan the amount of time kids spend staring at screens or looking at mobile apps. For two weeks this summer, that was a little different for 60+ kids who participated in one of TPF4Y's goIT Technology Camps!

goIT is an experiential, immersive technology education program developed by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to demystify computer science and help students gain the skills and confidence required to pursue STEM degrees—and become tomorrow’s technology leaders. Thanks to TCS, these week-long camps as well as the volunteer training, were provided for free by TPF4Y.

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“We are living in an age where kids have easy access to technology, whether that be through mobile phones, laptops, tablets, or otherwise. Our kids are very capable of understanding how to use these technologies, but not how to leverage them in improving their communities,” said Dennis Ma, Technology Specialist at TCS. “It's important for students to learn about technology at a young age and to be exposed to jobs and career paths that they might not know exist. We need to prepare our students to take on [the jobs of the future].”

In June and July, TPF4Y led a coalition of partners, including Salesforce.Org, Tata Consultancy Services, DREAM Alive, Direct Employers, Propel Up, and more, to host two goIT technology camps. More than 60 central Indiana students were able to participate in the program, which was mentored by local software development professionals.

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"Here at DirectEmployers Institute, it is our mission to bring learning to life for our students. Programs like goIT... support our mission and are a perfect fit for [our] students, as teaching them about robotics and technology enables them to uncover both the hard and soft skills they weren’t previously aware of, allowing them to realize their full potential," said Kristabell Gichina of Direct Employer.

As part of these camps, students explored different technology careers, learned how to code using MIT App Inventor, and then worked on small teams to design, build, and present their first mobile application. While designing their apps, students were encouraged to brainstorm around solutions to real problems in their lives. Finished prototypes included a mental health awareness and education app, a fresh food access map targeted at users living in food deserts, and more. Some students even had the opportunity to work on their projects inside the Salesforce offices downtown, assisted by local developers!

Overall, more than 25 volunteers came together to mentor students during the two camps.

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"PropelUp is all about connecting people to the relevant resources they need to learn throughout their lifetime," says Nick Birch, Co-Founder of PropelUp. "So the goIT program was a great initiative for our team to participate in because it allowed us to help high schoolers practice some of the skills and mindsets professional 'problem solvers,' aka software developers and designers, utilize in the real world."

We were excited to partner with Tata Consultancy Services to create this opportunity for Indiana kids and look forward to hosting more goIT camps next summer!

Want to learn how you can make an impact? Contact volunteer@techpointyouth.org to get involved!

May the 4th Be With You!

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TPF4Y's 3rd annual signature fundraising event, May the 4th Be With You, was our biggest one yet, with over 350 people in attendance! Thanks to all you Star Wars fans, our total profit was nearly $10,000, which will help us inspire Indiana students hoping to become the next Galen Erso with exciting STEM programs.

This year's festivities included:

  • Lightsaber Training with the Jedi masters of Indy Lightsaber Academy
  • Build-Your-Own Lightsaber - take home your very own laser sword!
  • Lightsaber Duel performed by the Jedi masters of Indy Lightsaber Academy
  • Stormtrooper Shootout - use a nerf blaster to defeat the Dark Side!
  • Droid Driving Competition - maneuver a VEX IQ robot through an obstacle course faster than your opponent!
  • R2D2 Test Drive - drive a mini R2D2 robot around a field using a remote control!
  • Tatooine Tattoo Station - airbrush tattoos of your favorite Star Wars characters
  • Star Wars Caricatures - picture yourself as your favorite Star Wars character
  • Space-Themed Chalk Art Performance by Ben Glenn, the Chalk Guy
  • Jedi Trivia - with Lucas Films authorized questions
  • Admiral Ackbar's Art Station - artistically interpret your version of Star Wars in this coloring activity
  • Photo Booth - get your picture taken with official Star Wars Indiana characters
  • Jar Jar Binks Build - use your imagination to create a starship or extraterrestrial out of LEGOS
  • Greedo's Gaming Corner - test your survival skills in these Star Wars video games
  • Force Fashion Costume Contest - channel your inner Star Wars persona & win a trophy!
  • (Inter)stellar Raffle - win some cool Star Wars themed items to take home with you

The Mos Eisley Cantina, sponsored by our partners at Sun King Brewing Company, was stocked with plenty of beer, wine, soft drinks, and juice, and a ClusterTruck taco/nacho bar kept everyone fed and happy! 

Check out the slideshow of pictures to relive all the excitement!

Thanks for all those who participated this year - we're excited to have you back (with friends!) next year! Until then, may the Force be with you...

Fun STEM Summer Camps!

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Looking for a way to get your children involved in STEM learning during the summer months? We've pulled together a list of summer camps that will have them learning about science, technology, engineering, and math - all in a fun, hands-on environment!

The below camps offer single day or week-long options (some are full-day, some half-day), vary in age range and cost, and touch on a wide assortment of topics and themes for any STEM-loving student!

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SCIENCe

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Nina Mason Pulliam EcoLab Summer Camps
Location: Marian University - Indianapolis
     Grade: K - 8th
     Cost: $240 per week

Your child can bring science to life in new, different and fun ways each and everyday through hands-on activities and experiments!

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Science Central Summer Camps
Location: Fort Wayne, IN
Grade: K - 8th
Cost: $30 - $150

Channel your child's inner astronaut, doctor, architect, scientist, engineer or detective with these single day or week-long camps!

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INSpace Camps
Location: Carmel, Greenwood
Grade: 4th - 12th
Cost: $275 per week

Open the door to advanced technologies that will shape the way your student looks at the future. Students get hands on by flying drones, programming, edge of space launches, airplane rides, and a lot more. Students should pack a brown bag lunch each day. Before and after care are available for additional fee. 

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The STEM Connection Summer Camps
Location: Moore Road Farm - Indianapolis
Grade: K - 6th
     Cost: $200 per week

Help your kids reconnect with nature! Located on a beautiful 30 acre farm in Pike Township, the STEM Connection Summer Camp helps students make connections between STEM learning and the natural world.

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TECHNOLOGY

Butler iDTech Camps
Location: Butler University - Indianapolis
Grade: 2nd - 12th
Cost: $829 - $1,229 per week

This week-long camp offers courses for every interest in a well-balanced, fun environment! Check out the programs on Coding, Game Development, Design, and Robotics!

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Codelicious Summer Camps
Location: Carmel, Fishers, Indianapolis
Grade: 3rd - 12th
Cost: $75 - $295 per week

Codelicious offers a variety of fun summer coding camps ideal for kids of all different experience levels. They also offer classes year round for kids 8 and up!

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Computer Science Summer Camp
Location: Purdue University - West Lafayette
Grade: 6th - 11th
Cost: $400 - $600

This overnight camp takes students on an adventure with computer science! A student participating in this camp will gain hands-on experience with programming, algorithms, and problem solving. No previous computer science or programming expertise is necessary, but campers should be comfortable using a computer.

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Indy STEM Camps
Location: Avon, Carmel, Fishers, Indianapolis, Noblesville, Zionsville
Grade: 1st - 8th
Cost: $150 - $160 per week

Did someone say Minecraft? Check out Indy STEM Camp's roster of fun summer camp themes with locations throughout Indianapolis.

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Microsoft Store Workshops
Location: Fashion Mall - Indianapolis
Grade: 3rd & up
Cost: Free

Students have a chance to learn from professionals at the Microsoft store while they participate in FREE workshops, camps, events, and field trips!

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Engineering

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Bricks 4 Kids Camp
Location: Carmel, Fishers, Indianapolis, Noblesville
Grade: PreK - 6th
Cost: $139 - $265 per week

Bricks 4 Kidz Camp offers kids an opportunity to learn the fundamentals of science, engineering, and architecture as they use LEGOs to build various projects!

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Camp Invention
Location: Central Indiana
Grade: K - 6th
Cost: $225 - $245 per week

From becoming a "Robotic Pet Vet" to designing their own futuristic smart home, check out Camp Invention's roster of fun summer camp themes with locations throughout Indianapolis.

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Engineering for Kids Camps
Location: Fishers, Indianapolis, Zionsville
Grade: K - 8th
Cost: $155 - $400 per week

Engineering... in the form of robotics, video game design, 3D printing, and more... for kids!

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FIRSTEP Camp
Location: Sidener Academy - Indianapolis
Grade: 1st - 8th
Cost: $150 - $300 per week

FIRSTEP is a summer camp for kids curious about robotics, engineering, building, working with their hands, and willing to have fun with other students! The camp engages students in mentor-based experiments and hands-on projects that motivate innovation and foster an environment where learning is fun and engaging and anyone can be successful.

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IU Northwest STEM Camp
Location: Gary, IN
Grade: 9th - 12th
Cost: Free

Explore topics in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) including computer information systems and informatics. Have fun and see how exciting a STEM career can be during this 3 day camp. Includes all materials, supplies, and free lunch.

POWER (Preparing Outstanding Women for Engineering Roles) Summer Camp
Location: IUPUI (School of Engineering & Technology) - Indianapolis
Grade: 9th - 12th
     Cost: $400 per week

Explore engineering with other young women your age through hands-on experiences at the POWER Summer Camp!

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MATH

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BizTown Summer Camp
Location: Junior Achievement - Indianapolis
Grade: 4th - 8th
Cost: $195 - $250 per week

It's all the fun of Biztown, for five days in row! Give your kids a chance to learn more about business, entrepreneurship, and more with our friends at Junior Achievement.

Inaugural Pi Day Celebration Impacts 260 Students

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On March 14th, TPF4Y hosted our first official celebration of Pi Day! Pi Day is celebrated annually by mathematics fanatics around the globe as the day’s date (3.14) bears a striking resemblance to pi, the mathematical constant used in computing the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter.

Thanks to a generous gift from OneAmerica, TPF4Y was able to purchase several Math Pentathlon game boards which will be used during future Pi Day celebrations and also each summer when we partner with community sites for special one-time enrichment opportunities.

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TPF4Y worked with Washington Irving School 14, Eliza A. Blaker School 55, and New Augusta Public Academy - South to commemorate Pi Day 2018 by organizing opportunities for students to play fun Math Pentathlon board games with local professionals.

In all, 41 volunteers contributed their time to ensure that Pi Day 2018 was a great success, from our partners at Kronos, DeveloperTown, First Internet Bank, Clean Slate TG, Randrr, Appirio, and Salesforce.

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While Pi Day has passed for this year, we are still looking for volunteers to help facilitate Math Pentathlon games for students this summer and during the Fall 2018 semester.

Want to learn more? Think you might be able to help?

Contact Volunteer@TechPointYouth.org!

2018 Indiana VEX Robotics State Championship

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The largest robotics state championship in the country took place on Saturday, March 10th at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, hosted by TechPoint Foundation for Youth's State Robotics Initiative (SRI). Almost 300 Indiana  elementary, middle, and high school teams spent the day competing for the opportunity to advance to this year's VEX Robotics World Competition being held in Louisville, Kentucky, at the end of April.

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In addition to the nearly 1,900 robotics matches occurring on 50 different robotics fields throughout the day, an interactive STEM Fair took place that allowed students to explore STEM activities facilitated by corporate partners and institutes of higher education. 20 booths inspired more than 400 students through hands-on activities - and it was free to participate.

Thanks to top level sponsors Guggenheim Life and Annuity, Indiana Department of Workforce Development, Herbert Simon Family Foundation, Roche Diagnostics, and Eli Lilly and Company Foundation as well as additional supporting sponsors, the event was a huge success with more than 10,000 people in attendance. 

"This event was truly a milestone in our efforts with the State Robotics Initiative, and we were absolutely thrilled to put on a great event celebrating the success of Indiana robotics students," said State Director of Robotics, George Giltner, "With that being said, our work with the SRI will not be complete until every student in Indiana has access to a robotics program. We are looking forward to further expanding the impact of the initiative in the coming year."

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Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, who opened the event at the welcoming ceremony, proclaimed March 10th as Indiana VEX Robotics State Championship Day, in celebration of the event as well as the overall 225% increase in VEX Robotics teams the state has seen over the past two years, which is due in large part to the SRI. 

The SRI grant program has helped to start more than 500 VEX IQ elementary school teams since 2016 and will be opening the grant to eligible Indiana middle schools in April, with plans to start another 350 teams.

Due to the unprecedented growth of VEX IQ teams in Indiana, the state was awarded 95 qualifying spots for the 2018 World Competition - more than any state in the U.S. The 95 Indiana teams competing at Worlds will be matched up against 1,576 teams from over 30 countries in Louisville, Kentucky, from April 25th - May 1st. 

Video

Here is a highlight video from the State Championship! 

Photos

Looking for pictures of your team from the event? Click here to look through all of our photos on Flickr and check out a sampling of pictures from the event below!

State Championship Award winners

The following awards qualify teams for Worlds. 

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Mayor Hogsett Proclaims Indiana VEX Robotics State Championship Day!

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TechPoint Foundation For Youth (TPF4Y) is thrilled to announce the proclamation of Indiana VEX Robotics State Championship Day with Mayor Joe Hogsett and the City of Indianapolis. Observance of this day is in celebration of the inaugural state championship event that will be held at Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday, March 10, 2018, and will be the largest robotics state championship in the country, gathering the top 300 Indiana  teams from elementary, middle, and high schools across the state.

“We are excited about the unprecedented growth of robotics in Indiana,” said State Robotics Director, George Giltner. “It's unbelievable to think that in just two short years we have gone from 413 VEX teams in the state, to more than 1,300 - a 225% increase - and now we have robots taking over Lucas Oil Stadium. As you can imagine, this is exciting progress for TechPoint Foundation for Youth because we know these increased numbers mean more kids doing more hands-on, inspirational STEM at school.”

This growth in the number of Indiana VEX Robotics teams is attributed to the State Robotics Initiative, a comprehensive grant program developed by TPF4Y with initial funding from partners such as Indiana Department of Workforce Development, Guggenheim Life and Annuity, Herbert Simon Family Foundation, and long time partners Roche Diagnostics and Eli Lilly and Company Foundation. Since 2016, TPF4Y has provided grants, professional development, and now, the largest state robotics competition in the country for Indiana schools and students.

Mayor Joe Hogsett also emphasized the importance of the event: “With a scale that is unmatched across the country, the Indiana VEX Robotics State Championship provides educational opportunities to hundreds of students from across the state. It is an honor to host this event at Lucas Oil Stadium right here in Indianapolis – a city whose nationally-recognized culture of innovation is propelling our growth and success,” said the Mayor.

In addition to celebrating the City of Indianapolis’ observation of Indiana VEX Robotics State Championship Day on March 10th, TPF4Y is also announcing the expansion of the State Robotics Initiative during the 2018-19 school year to serve not only elementary schools across the state, but also eligible middle schools through 2020. TPF4Y will continue to rely on the generosity of its public, corporate, and philanthropic partners to bring this impactful STEM program to Indiana students.

"We are thrilled to see the growth of VEX Competitions in Indiana,” said Dan Mantz, CEO of the Robotics Education & Competition Foundation, which oversees all VEX Competition teams and events. "We value the visionary leaders across the state who partner to increase students’ STEM engagement through VEX Competitions and look forward to seeing the impact of the middle school expansion.”

The Indiana VEX Robotics State Championship is free and open to the public and will include an interactive STEM Fair featuring hands-on activities hosted by local and national companies, institutes of higher education, and community partners who are inspiring the next generation of Indiana STEM talent. To learn more, visit the event webpage.
 

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About the State Robotics Initiative, a program of TechPoint Foundation for Youth
The State Robotics Initiative was developed by TPF4Y to provide a hands-on, STEM learning experience to Indiana students through an economical, entry level robotics platform proven to engage diverse student populations in comprehensive STEM subject matter and spur student interest in STEM college and career pathways. The program was developed in 2016 as a statewide expansion of the City Of Indianapolis VEX Robotics grant program, a legacy of former Mayor Greg Ballard. For more information, please visit www.TechPointYouth.org/robots.
 

About TechPoint Foundation For Youth
As the leader in technology education efforts for the state of Indiana since 2001, TechPoint Foundation for Youth is committed to inspiring our state's underserved K-12 students to explore science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). And to us, that means connecting ideas, investments, industry, and individuals to exemplary programs that inspire students to pursue careers in STEM fields.  For more information, please visit
www.TechPointYouth.org.

Join Our Team as an AmeriCorps VISTA!

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Since August 2014, TPF4Y has hosted 1-3 VISTA members each year who have dedicated their time to the growth and sustainability of our programs. Our VISTAs are an invaluable asset to the work we do and many of our successes, as well as the improvements and changes we continue to implement, are a direct result of their work!

TPF4Y is looking for three new VISTAs to start in June 2018 and help us to grow our impact. Our VISTAs play a key role in ensuring that underserved students continue to have access to experiential STEM learning opportunities. Check out the positions below and share with your network! We can’t wait to welcome these three new members to our team:

STEM Program Coordinator (click here to learn more & apply!)

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This VISTA member will expand and strengthen TPF4Y’s math and science programs including STEM Partners, Math Pentathlon, and more. This position will play a key role in maintaining relationships with schools, volunteers, and community partners. This VISTA will also assist with the implementation of our volunteer development plan and help develop a sustainability plan!

 

CoderDojo Indiana Coordinator (click here to learn more & apply!)

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This VISTA member will be in charge of expanding our CoderDojo Indiana initiative with the support of our Program Manager. He or she will identify new program sites, recruit and train volunteers, and assist with the creation and distribution of new training materials for CoderDojo “Champions.” An outgoing, talkative individual with great people skills and the ability to speak to groups will excel in this role.

 

State Robotics Coordinator (click here to learn more & apply!)

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This VISTA member will help us to grow and maintain our State Robotics Initiative (SRI) as the number of VEX IQ robotics teams in Indiana reaches 1,000+! SRI has provided hundreds of Indiana elementary schools with VEX IQ robotics kits over the past two years. This VISTA will help to manage a diversity grant and inclusion program, assist with external communication to robotics educators and partners, and work to develop strategies to sustain the growth of youth robotics in Indiana.
 

AmeriCorps VISTA members live and serve in some of our nation's poorest urban and rural areas. With passion, commitment, and hard work, they create or expand programs designed to bring individuals and communities out of poverty. Want to learn more about becoming a VISTA? Visit the AmeriCorps VISTA FAQ page.

Questions? Contact Courtney@TechPointYouth.Org!