Outreach program connects students through a computer refurbishing effort
What do you do with old computers? Re-furbish them, of course. That is what a group of Miami University computing majors and several international students from Cincinnati’s Aiken High school did.
Miami students from Humanitarian STEM Service Corps worked with a local non-profit organization, Awakening Your Child Total Potential, to provide computer skill knowledge to Aiken High School students, many of whom are refugees from Nepal.
The program’s participants learned about basic computer knowledge and determined the needed hardware components.
After installing new parts, they learned how to install the Linux operating system and Web server to turn the old computers into Web hosting education servers. They also learned basic HTML coding so they can use their computers to start a website.
The old computers came from Miami University and funding for new computer parts was provided by Procter & Gamble.
To celebrate the students’ achievements, representatives from Miami University, Aiken High School, Procter & Gamble, Awakening Your Child Total Potential, and the Office of Minority Business in the Ohio Department of Development attended a culminating event at Aiken High School on May 6.
It started with a goal to help reduce the number of computers that end up in landfills, and morphed into a mentorship program, according to Yong Lin, a faculty member in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and the advisor to the Miami student club.
Through his work with Awakening Your Child, he learned about a need at Aiken High School to mentor students. Aiken High School's enrollment includes students from 47 different countries, with at least 37 different languages represented.
The high school students want opportunities to connect, learn more about computers, but also what it takes to succeed in college.
But, there was a catch. He didn't want to just give students computers.
“You don’t just give someone a fish, you teach them how to fish," he said. "Our vision is for them to learn, attend Miami, graduate, and then, get a job with a local company, like Procter & Gamble.”
Sara Koeth, vice president of Miami's Humanitarian STEM Service Corp., said she was proud and humbled to be part of this effort.
"What Dr. Lin is doing with Aiken High School was an incredible opportunity to utilize the privilege I have in attending Miami University to help other students in need in a real, tangible way. I walked away from the event feeling incredibly inspired by the creativity and vision of Aiken's students."