PETERSBURG, VA. – Virginia State University will be among 24 schools in a program that offers minority males from middle schools in Petersburg, Hopewell and Dinwiddie summer intensive courses in science, technology, engineering and math.
The Verizon Innovative Learning program, the education initiative of the Verizon Foundation, works with historically Black colleges and universities and Hispanic Serving Institutions to prepare middle school boys of color for the tech careers of the future.
Students participating in the program, which was launched in 2015, are invited to university and college campuses for summer courses that provide entrepreneurship training, hands-on learning experiences in next-gen technologies like robotics, augmented reality, 3D printing and access to college-aged mentors.
After the summer courses, students are invited back to the universities monthly for continued STEM education courses and mentoring. Results from the 2016-2017 school year showed that 90 percent of student participants demonstrated an increased ability in math and 91 percent had an increased ability in science.
Since its launch in 2015, the program has reached more than one million students. Verizon has invested more than $200 million in the program in free technology, free access and other support.
VSU is among eight new schools to join the program, bringing the total to 24.
VSU President Makola M. Abdullah thanked Verizon for establishing the program and noted its success closing the digital divide as it addresses “the shortage of minority males in the STEM fields.”
“Together,” he said, “we will have the power to change the lives of countless individuals who will be successful in making a difference in not only their lives but also in our communities.”