Imagine. You are racing down Bay Street to catch the morning ferry. You miss it by seconds and are forced to jump into the choppy bay waters and battle hungry human-like fish to catch the boat. By way of Manhattan, you arrive in the Borough of Queens at a crowded subway station. As the 7 train rumbles overhead, you luckily have an arsenal of pizzas to whirl into the mouths of angry, attacking commuter zombies rendering them less angry. When you finally arrive at your destination, after leaping from treacherous moving scaffolding, you zoom away in a helicopter.
Though fictionalized in at least some respects, this may sound close to a typical day of commuting in New York City. The City’s infamous commuting experiences are what inspired mobile app designer and high school student Ryan Horgan to create “NYC Splunking” in a STEM summer program offered at the College of Staten Island (CSI).
Horgan, a sophomore at Port Richmond High School, was one of ten high school students who participated in the “Summer App Build” program for high school students. The program was created by CSI’s Office of Continuing Education and Professional Development. With tuition funded by AT&T, the program marks another successful collaboration between the College and AT&T.
“With the technology sector booming in New York City, it is essential that colleges serve the City and its residents by offering programs that provide access to this fast-growing employment sector,” said Christopher Cruz Cullari, Executive Director for Continuing Education and Professional Development. “With support from AT&T, we have been able to do this in two ways. First, through a workforce development program for out-of-work/ out-of-school youth, we created a program that provided entry into the field for high school graduates looking for well-paying jobs. Now, this summer, we are working with students while they are still in high school, tapping into their technological creativity and hopefully creating excitement about attending college and studying one of the STEM fields.”
In the summer program, high school students worked diligently during the month of August to create their own apps, learning the science and math behind computer programming. The program culminated in a presentation ceremony at the new CSI Technology Incubator in St. George where the students showcased their work. Director of the CSI Technology Incubator Jarred Sutton spoke briefly about the space, urging that “Staten Island is in a unique situation to harness its great talents with the College of Staten Island to invigorate economic development in the technology industry locally. With support from a myriad of organizations, partners in the community and the resources of CSI and CUNY we can build tech related businesses right here on Staten Island.”
Deputy to the President Kenichi Iwama congratulated the students and thanked AT&T as well as the Continuing Education staff. He noted that, “On a small scale, this program celebrates student creativity, while on a larger scale it celebrates the innovation taking place in the country. Hopefully, we are igniting this creativity through programs like this one.”
“I’m proud of our students, and I’m very grateful to AT&T,” said Cruz Cullari. He added, “The students would not have been able to participate in this program without the tuition funded by AT&T. They are some of the brightest young minds on Staten Island, and it is an honor to be able to support their talent, which in the long run, will benefit the Borough and the City.”
Approximately 50 family members and CSI staff joined in the enthusiasm as students presented their apps and explained their processes.
“My favorite thing was that this program opened my mind to the coding world and to this new generation of computers,” said Angelina Vega, a sophomore at Port Richmond High School, who created Duos Adventure, a game inspired by Super Mario Brothers.
Both Vega and Horgan used Paint.net to create the graphics.
Horgan said he wants to be a game or app developer and work for a large company like Google.
David Brim, an instructor in the program, congratulated his students on conquering the “herculean task of creating apps in essentially eight days.” Brim highlighted some of the knowledge that students gained including algebra, the logic of a computer, and how software correlates with hardware. “I couldn’t be happier and more proud. My students had no experience with this and they worked like crazy.”
Here is the complete roster of “Summer App Build” students:
- Cameron Baldovin – Age: 16, Grade: 11, School: Xaverian HS
- Jorge Quintero-Blancas – Age: 16, Grade: 12, School: New Dorp HS
- Jordan Clanton – Age: 13, Grade: 8, School: NEST+m
- Ryan Horgan – Age: 14, Grade: 10, School: Port Richmond HS
- Joseph Malak – Age: 15, Grade: 10, School: Port Richmond HS
- Genesis Taveras – Age: 18, Grade: 12, School: Clark Academy
- Khaleed Sadakah – Age: 16, Grade: 12, School: Susan E. Wagner HS
- Nouha Sadakah – Age: 14, Grade: 9, School: Susan E. Wagner HS
- Angelina Vega – Age: 14, Grade: 10, School: Port Richmond HS