Xtreme IT! doubles in size thanks to gifts

Students work on creating a Web page during the Xtreme IT! Summer Academy in this 2010 file photo. Xtreme IT!, a precollegiate program at UMSL, has received grants to increase the number of students who can participate in the information technology camp. This year, the camp has doubled in size with an emphasis on enrolling female students. (Photo by August Jennewein)

Next week more than 40 high school students will arrive on the campus of the University of Missouri–St. Louis ready to learn the ins and outs of information technology.

The students will be part of Xtreme IT! Summer Academy, a precollegiate program at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, which will run June 24-29.

Vicki Sauter, professor of information systems at UMSL, and Ray Creely, UMSL alumnus and former IBM executive, developed the weeklong camp at UMSL in 2008 to introduce IT to a younger generation.

Xtreme IT! enrolled an average of 20 students each summer over the last four years. This year, thanks to several gifts from area businesses, that number has doubled. The most recent gift was given by Savvis, Inc. In addition to $7,500, the company presented camp organizers with a request: Bring more women into the field of information systems.

“I was thrilled when Savvis challenged us to attract more girls to the camp,” Sauter said. “I was even more thrilled by the response that we received from the girls of St. Louis.”

Xtreme IT! also received an $11,500 Community Impact Grant from IBM and a $10,000 grant from 2011 Gateway to Innovation Conference.

“This funding will allow us the flexibility to make the camp an even better experience for participants by providing better exercises and field trips,” she said. “Also, the funding will allow for more students who do not have the means to participate in the program. More students getting a better experience will, in turn, help us attract more students to technology careers, which the St. Louis region needs.”

Xtreme IT! allows high school students to live in the UMSL residence halls for a week while attending workshops and visiting local businesses to learn about information technology. At the end of the camp, students present Web pages they developed based on the techniques and skills they learned during camp.


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