I had a chance Friday to volunteer at the STEAM Hack-to-Learn. The event was held at the Chicago downtown Microsoft office.
The event brought in students from suburban Chicago and featured several guest speakers, as well as hands-on activities.
Jeff Gettis opened the event, describing his journey from Chicago's south side to his 20 years at Microsoft.
Jon Browning, CEO of Global Mentorship Initiatives, spoke about the importance of networking in building your career, pointing students to LinkedIn and ChatGPT as tools to help them in a job search.
Author Gayle Keller hosted a panel of industry professionals who answered questions about professional careers.
Ravi Penmetsa gave an overview of Artificial Intelligence.
The talks were all interesting, but I was most impressed by the kids' questions, which showed a genuine curiosity about a career in IT. They asked questions like "What is the most interesting part of your job?" and "What would you be doing if you were not in this field?"
After the presentations, the students broke into teams and rotated between building applications with low-code and no-code tools and learning to dance to K-pop music.
At the end of the day, each team stood at the front of the room and shared what they learned.
It was an excellent chance to experience young people learning something new.