El Segundo High School (ESHS) student mentors’ new Elementary School Cyber Education Initiative (ESCEI) has launched its first Computer Science/Internet Safety Workshop, attracting 52 El Segundo fourth- and fifth-grade GATE students and their parents.
The young protégés laughed, cheered and questioned the high school student mentors during the interactive workshop. The students played educational software games to detect “Trojan viruses” and used ESCEI’s customized QR codes to learn complex computer science fundamentals on their school-issued iPads.
ESHS junior Shrenil Sharma founded the ESCEI in September, recruiting his peers from the Project Lead the Way Engineering Pathway and the ESHS Computer Science Club. Sharma, who plans to major in computer science at a four-year university, has won several awards with his teammates at the annual Chevron Design Challenge at both the regional and state levels. Grateful for the support he has received from his ESHS teachers, the engineering student said that he wanted to create a cyber education club as a way for ESHS students to give back. In addition to Sharma, the ESCEI student mentors are Hayden Crabbs, Carson Doering, Joseph Karrer, Ben Kooper, Thomas Martinez, Adrian Osorio, and Nolan Young.
“We want to help elementary students learn what to expect about the engineering program in high school,” said Sharma. “Sometimes kids can get intimidated when being taught by adults. We find that they are more comfortable working with student mentors and open up to ask lots of questions.”
ESCEI mentors presented their younger students with an educational video that their production team created for the program. The video reviewed the rapid progress of technology and explained why it’s so beneficial to get ahead of the game¾even when you’re only ten years old.
“When these kids grow up, there will be new jobs that haven’t even been created yet, most of which will have some field of computer science as an integral skill. It’s estimated that 71 percent of new STEM jobs will need computing, and computer science majors make 40 percent more in their lifetime earnings than the college average,” Sharma said, quoting Computer Science Education Week in the ESCEI presentation.
It’s not just the elementary students benefitting from the workshops. Mentor Adrian Osorio says the younger students asked the mentors questions about concepts they had had not yet considered. “Their amazing questions test my knowledge, pushing me to become a better cyber security professional,” said Osorio.
Sharma was thrilled at the large turnout for the inaugural event at Richmond Street School on November 15. Excited to see that more than a third of the participating elementary students were girls, Sharma realized the importance of having female mentors join the ESCEI. “Since then, we have recruited three female ESHS students to join our mentoring efforts,” he said.
Sharma says that the club is planning on hosting at least three more events for both Richmond Street and Center Street Schools this year, and possibly a workshop designed specifically for El Segundo Middle School students.
The student mentors are also sharing their ESCEI program and workshop ideas with other school districts, and will introduce their program to educators at the upcoming Project Lead the Way statewide conference, Sharma says.
For more information on future ESCEI events, please visit their website at http://eshscompsci.wixsite.com/escei-eshs.
About the El Segundo Unified School District
The El Segundo Unified School District (ESUSD) was established in 1912 to serve all of the residents living in the City of El Segundo and covers the western part of the city. ESUSD consists of six schools including the Eagle’s Nest Preschool, Richmond Street and Center Street Elementary Schools, El Segundo Middle School, El Segundo High School and the Arena/Virtual High School, as well as partnerships with the South Bay Adult School and California Regional Occupational Center (SoCal ROC).
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Photo Caption 1: ESHS 11th grade student Carson Doering mentors 4th and 5th grade students from Richmond and Center Street Schools during the inaugural Elementary School Cyber Education Initiative (ESCEI) workshop. ESCEI was organized by a group of ESHS Engineering Pathway students as a way to give back to the community, while also advancing STEM education.
Caption 2: Founding members of the ESHS Elementary School Cyber Education Initiative (left to right) front row: Benjamin Kooper, Shrenil Sharma, Carson Doering. Back row: Thomas Martinez, Nolan Young, Hayden Crabbs, and Joseph Karrer.