Members of the Gateway to Innovation Conference presented the UMSL’s Xtreme IT! Faculty with a $10,000 gift. Pictured (from left) are: Vicki Sauter, professor of information systems at UMSL; Ashok Subramanian, professor of information systems at UMSL; Lendell Phelps, vice president of marketing at AT&T; Gil Hoffman, senior vice president and chief information officer at Matitz; Keith Womer, dean of the College of Business Administration at UMSL; Eric Gorham, director of information technology at Rejis; Marc Meschke, law enforcement manager at Rejis; David Kocs, principal at TDK Technologies and Jonnie Foster, director of CALT at Washington University.

More high school students will now have an opportunity to learn about careers in information technology thanks to a generous grant from the 2011 Gateway to Innovation Conference.

The $10,000 grant was presented to the creators of Xtreme IT!,  a pre-collegiate summer academy at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. 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 the field of IT to a younger generation.

“As committee chair for the 2011 Gateway to Innovation conference, I feel it is only natural for the conference committee to be supportive of programs that build an interest in the next generation of technology workers,” said Eric Gorham,  committee chair and director of information technology at Rejis. “UMSL’s Xtreme IT is just such a program. It is with great pleasure that we are able to provide a donation to support this worthwhile program.”

Xtreme IT! allows high school students to live in the dorms 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.

“Every year we have more applications from students wanting to attend than we can support,” Sauter said. “With this gift we can increase our resources, offer additional scholarships to students in need and include more participants in the camps.”

Sauter added that while jobs in information technology continue to grow, enrollment in IT programs are decreasing.

“Programs like Xtreme IT! are needed to show students the many possibilities involved in a career in IT,” she said. “And conferences such as Gateway to Innovation are essential to foster and highlight the work being done in the field.”

Gateway to Innovation Conference Honorary Advisor Gil Hoffman echoed Sauter’s words and added the importance of helping pre-collegiate programs in the field.

“The great success of the conference has provided funds and scholarships for kids of all ages to learn more about information technology,” said Gil Hoffman, chief information officer and senior vice president at Maritz. “The contribution to Xtreme IT! is one more example of how the conference helps our community and supports IT leadership for the future.”

The annual Gateway to Innovation conference brings great IT leaders and thinkers from across the nation and the St. Louis region to inspire, collaborate and maintain a competitive advantage.

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Jen Hatton

Jen Hatton