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Edison School Board Leverages goIT for In-Person Summer Program

At TCS, we are building on the belief that business can be a catalyst for change. Our purpose is to connect people to opportunities in the digital economy and that mission is central to the way we operate as a business. Through innovation, partnership, and collective knowledge, TCS believes we can lead positive change for all stakeholders. Foundational STEM education is more important now than it ever has been if we are to ensure that students are ready for the future of work. Through specialized  curriculum created by TCS, we are challenging students to design technological innovations that will address the greatest challenges facing our community. 

Jobs in the STEM fields are predicted to grow in the next decade at a much higher rate than non-STEM occupations. Students are the next generation of leaders and changemakers and TCS believes inspiring students to pursue careers in tech now will create the change needed for the world ahead of us. 

goIT is TCS’ experiential, immersive program that seeks to inspire students to study STEM while empowering them with 21st-century skills. During their goIT journey, middle and early high school students work in teams to ideate, prototype, and pitch a digital innovation that solves or address one of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which encourages students to design with empathy and create tech for good. TCS also provides educators with, and trains them to use a curated set of lesson plans and activities to get students understanding how they can positively impact their communities through technology creation. The curriculum is built to accommodate both new and seasoned teachers to educating their students on technology concepts. 

In July 2021, TCS partnered with Edison Township, New Jersey, Board of Education for the first ever goIT summer STEM camp for over 300 middle school students. This summer’s program got its start as a Leaders with Purpose project for New Jersey-based TCSers Sharoan Mohammad and Sunil John, both senior leaders in TCS’ Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance division. Leaders with Purpose prepares associates to be active community leaders in TCS, giving them the tools and inspiration through courses and speakers to build their own community-based initiative. 

Over the course of the month, students were mentored by TCS associates who helped the students by giving targeted feedback on their digital innovations. Mentors helped provide direction about how features can bring an app to life, and how creating a list of targeted stakeholders and inform the direction an app’s design elements. In addition to providing valuable insight to students’ innovations, volunteers went above and beyond by working with students, sometimes outside of their specified volunteer time, to prepare the budding tech entrepreneurs for their final presentations, which wrapped up the event. 

“The young generation or students are the innovators of tomorrow. By volunteering in STEM based education programs, you are helping the young generation by giving them exposure to technology and making them future ready,” said Sharoan. “You help provide various tools and techniques to the students to shape their ideas into innovative thoughts make them innovators.”

“It was great to be associated with goIT program which is an amazing initiative to teach fundamentals of IT to young kids. Personally, it was learning experience to interact with them and evaluate the wonderful ideas and prototypes,” said Sunil John, the architect behind the program.

The culminating event for the program took place on August 5th and J.P. Stevens High School in Edison, NJ. This was the first in-person goIT event since March 2020, making it truly special for all involved. Seven teams from the participating schools attended for a “Shark Tank” style pitch competition with each group getting up to present their projects, complete with storyboards and rapid-fire questions from three judges. The judges included Sunil John, TCSer Nitin Shukla, a client engagement partner also on the Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance team, as well as Gail Pawlikowski, Chief Academic Officer of the Edison Township Public Schools.

All teams were polished in their presentations and prepared to answer tough questions from judges. Apps addressed a range of challenges that aligned with the SDGs from SDG #2 – Zero Hunger to SDG 13 – Climate Action. The winning team was Oceans for Us (SDG #14 – Life Below Water), an app that sought to clean up oceans to protect our environment and all ocean-based life. Congratulations to all teams that participated!

After the program, teacher and facilitator, Howard Manson said, “Students had the opportunity to take their idea from inception to a final pitch.  Seeing students brainstorming ideas, thinking through some of the problems, developing their apps was really amazing.”

Students echoed the excitement. One student said, “It was super fun, I also got to meet new people and make friends and I also learned more about computer science.” If the students could change anything, they all agreed they wish they had more time, and they all are looking forward to continuing to work on their projects after goIT ends.

Teams and their families also heard from Anupam Singhal, Senior Vice President of the TCS Banking, Financial Services and Insurance unit on the importance of technology and the role it plays in our everyday lives. Singhal urged students to consider a career in technology, as much of the world will be driven by digital tools and technologies in the future. 

Be sure to check out the goIT Monthly Challenge, a recurring opportunity for students to directly engage in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the goIT digital innovation: