For the second consecutive year, Tata Consultancy Services and NiSource teamed up to provide the goIT experience to students from St. Stephen’s Community House in Columbus, OH.
Some parts of the city of Columbus, Ohio are challenged by stark economic circumstances – and overcoming those circumstances has been made even challenging with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Among those worst affected are the youth of economically disadvantaged parts of the city like Linden – with the shutdown of schools interrupting not just their education, but also access to meals, healthcare, and socialization.
St. Stephens Community House is an organization in the Linden community dedicated to meeting the needs of the disadvantaged
among them. Founded in 1919, and relocating in its entirety to Linden in 1968, St. Stephens House has expanded over the years to help provide access to healthcare, education, and other essential services to those in the community who need them most.
For the youth of Linden and other economically challenged parts of Columbus, education has always been one of the best ways to escape the cycle of generational poverty – which is why Tata Consultancy Services joined forces with local energy provider NiSource last year to bring goIT to the youth of St. Stephen’s Community House.
goIT is one of the signature educational programs provided for free by Tata Consultancy Services - delivering a hands-on introduction to design thinking that includes exploring the exciting opportunities offered to participants if they continue to study STEM subjects in and after school.
NiSource Inc. is one of the largest fully regulated utility companies in the United States, serving approximately 3.5 million natural gas customers and 500,000 electric customers across seven states through brands including Colombia Gas of Ohio.
As a deeply embedded part of the Columbus community, NiSource share TCS’ commitment to serving the needs of their customers and neighbors – and that’s why they made a powerful partner in helping bring TCS’ STEM development program to the youth who rely on St. Stephen’s Community House.
However, this summer, Tata Consultancy Services and NiSource faced an unprecedented challenge when they returned to provide goIT to the students and educators of St. Stephen’s Community House for a second year.
Respectful of the obstacles posed by social distancing and the other challenges, TCS leveraged its technological capital to fully transition their in-person goIT program to a virtual experience – so students from St. Stephen’s could continue to engage with quality STEM education from the safety of their homes.
Thanks to this virtual programming, the program engaged 11 students over the course of 6 weeks in goIT’s App Design program – as part of which, they created apps focused around the theme of “Improving Your Community.”
Students ideated digital innovations that promised to bring positive change and address local issues, and were able to collaborate with TCS and NiSource volunteers online to help improve their ideas as well as receive tips and coaching to prepare for their final presentations.
During the virtual showcase at the end of the program, six teams presented their app concepts to a supportive group of participants, including NiSource executives.
Kevin Johannsen, VP of IT Services at NiSource, opened the event by sharing the importance of STEM and Computer Science to the class of students.
The judging panel included Carla Donev, Chief Information Security Officer at NiSource, Greg Skinner, VP of IT Infrastructure at NiSource, and Robin Mathew, Client Partner at TCS – who all served as judges for this competitive conclusion to the goIT workshop program.
The judges were amazed to see the level of thought and detail the students put into their mobile app concepts.
“The issues that we saw being addressed here today are real issues in Columbus,” Greg Skinner remarked. “I really hope to see more ideas like this – and I appreciated being a part of this program.”
The group of judges selected the following app ideas as the winners:- I’m Me – A social media app that focuses on reducing both bullying and cyber bullying.- Human Trafficking (Girls are Humans Too) – An app for women to report any abuse and suspicious activity.- Bridge the Gap – An app to help connect the community and its law enforcement together in a meaningful way.
After the program, NiSource’s Carla Donev said: “It was really amazing to see so many girls attend the program. There are still parts of the industry that are male-dominated and seeing this really makes excited for the future.”
Whatever new challenges the next year brings, TCS and NiSource remain committed to partnering together to inspire Columbus’s youth to immerse themselves in design, recognize and address their community’s problems, and seriously consider pursuing careers in technology after school.
To learn more about goIT, go here: https://programs.tcsempowers.com/us/goIT