Dozens of African American high-school students take summer STEM - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Dozens of African American high-school students take summer STEM classes at KSU

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Forget sleeping in, hitting the pool or playing basketball: dozens of kids are choosing to spend most of their summer in a classroom.

It's an opportunity that could be life-altering.

The kids were working together, but not the way you would expect over summer vacation. They're hunkered over circuit boards and computers by choice.

"I just really think it's a good thing instead of staying home and sleeping in or playing basketball," said Seth Caise, an 8th grader. "You're learning something, so it's good."

"I can get smarter," said 7th grader Jason Rogers. "I don't get smarter doing other things, so it's better here. I've met lots of people here."

The middle school students from Frankfort and Lexington were hand-picked to take part in the Minority Male Maker program. Kentucky is one of only four states in the country to get it. The idea is to help young men of color get more interested in fields of the future. They're learning coding, how to build apps, websites, even emojis.

Kentucky State University is taking part thanks to a $400,000 grant from Verizon -- an amount that shows the need to build interest in careers in technology.

"It's fun because you don't know what to do, so you have to ask for help, like, every five minutes with your friends," said Rogers.

They may not have the answers yet, but they're learning and having fun doing it.

"My favorite thing is 3D printing," said Caise. "I really enjoy doing that."

The hope is by starting at a young age, it will engage these kids in a field that will open opportunities and change lives.

"I mainly think it's important because they see potential in all of us, not just a couple of people," Caise said. "I think it's really important they push us and get us motivated and that way we do better in life."

One-hundred and fifty students take classes at KSU this month as part of the program. It continues through the fall with mentoring.

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