New Computer Club Boots Up

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     Fenwick’s new Computer Club opens doors for students looking to pursue STEM careers in the computer science field. The Computer Club was started by Fenwick senior and computer enthusiast Conor Kotwasinski. This club aims to get students interested in technology, and to give students opportunities to explore careers in computer science. 

     Kotwasinski commented that Computer Science suffers the most college dropouts of any program. He hopes the club will help Fenwick students gain insight on what careers in computer science will entail.

     Club moderator Mr. Kleinhans said, “Computer Club allows students to really understand what goes on in STEM; a lot of the pen and paper work doesn’t actually reflect what you do as a computer scientist or engineer. These activities and projects show what these different scientists and engineers actually do and help students to find what area is best for them.” 

     The Computer Club plans to work with SDKs (software development kits), build personalized 8-bit computers from scratch, design websites, learn how to use Fenwick’s new 3D printers, explore SIM cards and telecommunication, and practice routing (gaining “admin” control of local devices). This year, the Computer Club is expecting to finish at least four of these projects.

      “Some of these things might not be applicable to a course, but they’re great for getting students excited about something new,” Mr. Kleinhans said.

      Some of these activities may sound intimidating to newcomers, but the Computer Club has varying levels of instruction based on students’ previous experience. The main goal that the Computer Club hopes to achieve in its first year is to provide an experience that is different and more “free-form” than other computer science courses. Kotwasinski felt that the past computer science courses that he has taken have sometimes limited student creativity. He hopes to give students a different experience. 

     Kotwasinski said, “I want to give students the ability to use computer skills as they want, rather than being stuck in a classroom with a specific task. It’s up to members of the club to create what they want!” 

     Kotwasinski compares this hands-on experience to playing with Legos. Everyone knows that one can follow instruction booklets to build with Legos and execute a pre-outlined task; however, Legos can also be used by a person in any way they wish to express their ideas and imagination. 

      The Computer Club currently has 42 members and is open to accepting more. While a schedule has not yet been finalized, students can expect meetings to be on a semi-regular basis in the STEM lab (room 57) before school. Strict commitment to attendance is not needed for students with busy schedules or other morning activities. For further updates, students should stay alert for bulletin announcements, or join the Computer Club Schoology group. The access code is GQ7B-76WB-ZNV33. 

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