LOCK HAVEN - It's no secret that jobs that involve computer technology are going to be around for many years to come.
With that in mind, Dr. Krish Pillai, an associate professor of computer science at Lock Haven University, recently set out on a mission to get middle school students interested in the computer sciences.
Pillai, a professor at LHU for four years and a technician at Nortel Networks for several years before that, put together a five-week workshop from June 21 to 25 where students learned concepts of graphical programming.
"He wanted to get students interested in computer science at an early age and promote it as a career choice," said Slater Harrison, technologies teacher at Jersey Shore Area Middle School. "We were absolutely thrilled that someone from academia would give up a week of his summer to create a higher education experience for our middle school students."
In the university's UNIX computer lab, known as the Penguin Lab, students of various programming experience had the chance to do 3-D sculpting, animation and game design as instructed by Pillai and his two teaching assistants, Tonia Guilfoy and Alex Haskell.
Participating in the program were James, Anonie, Keri Batschelet, Calandre Crist, Joe Lusk, Cheyenne Myers and Calissa Weatherly of Jersey Shore Area Middle School and Mitchel Myers from Central Mountain High School, Mill Hall.
"My favorite part of the camp was doing sculpting on the computer," said Keri Batschelet.
"It was really fun to learn how to make creepy monsters," said Joe Lusk.
"I never thought I was going to go to school during the summer and have fun," said Cheyenne Myers. "I wouldn't mind if all of them were like this class."
"I like to work on computers and I?like video games in general, and I am looking forward to working on my own," said Mitchel Myers.
"Learning this over the summer was a fun experience," said Calissa Weatherly.
The program was developed last winter when Pillai contacted various middle schools in the area and got a response from Jersey Shore principal Reed Mellinger.
Designed for students interested in making math and science a career choice, the workshop was sponsored by the LHU Computer Science Department.
"It's one thing to talk about doing great things, but another to see through the drudgery of attending to all the details of getting it rolling," said Harrison. "Krish has a vision for great ideas and the work ethic to bring them to fruition."