CNMI State Public School System Science Program coordinator Asap Ogumoro said the group first reached out to the office of CNMI Delegate Gregorio Kilili Sablan, who then informed the PSS Commissioner’s Office of the plan.
“Commissioner [Glenn Muña] then worked with our office on how to get the program started here,” said Ogumoro, who is scheduled to travel to Washington, D.C. with a separate group of students for the STEP-UP research program.
“STEP-UP is where students take up a summer research project on different issues. They do that work and then present what they have researched in D.C. to some stakeholders. It’s a different program,” Ogumoro added.
Jailene Miranda-Enriquez, a visiting computer science student from Stanford University, was the instructor of the program and mentored the students from start to finish. She previously volunteered as mentor to elementary students in California and Colorado.
She said they opened the opportunity to both public and private middle and high school students on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota. “We opened the applications in January where 25 students registered online but only 17 where able to participate in the course.”
“There’s been a lot of interest. The course started on July 2 and ended on Aug. 2. The students put in over 200 hours of coding practice but that’s just at the school-classroom side. They even continued learning to code at home and during weekends.”
Last Thursday’s presentation was the culmination of the program and the students’ work. “[In] the first half of the program they learned the different languages to write. Then in the last half, they put some work together.”
“Some are either doing a game and some are doing some kind of communicating platform, showcasing what kind of programs they could put together based on the coding skills and algorithms they learned from the course.”
Ogumuro said his work involves introducing science technology engineering and mathematics programs to PSS students. “Anytime there’s a STEM program that wants to work with the system and the students, I try to see how to make it happen. …I help coordinate, get the right people involved, and also get our students involve,” said Ogumoro, who also thanked Dandan Middle School for hosting the five-week summer course.
“Dandan allowed us to use their space, technology, tools, and the campus. Thank you to Reo Arriola and Lynn Mendiola who hosted us for the whole summer,” he added.