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Kent students learn about Microsoft careers

Jalen White, left, and Jacov Zielke Mill Creek Middle school 8th graders show off the app they created for the Windows 7 Phones, Friday, Dec. 2. - Charles Cortes, Kent Reporter
Jalen White, left, and Jacov Zielke Mill Creek Middle school 8th graders show off the app they created for the Windows 7 Phones, Friday, Dec. 2.
— image credit: Charles Cortes, Kent Reporter

Kent-Technology Academy students at Kent-Meridian High School and Mill Creek Middle School learned about the relationship between their studies of science, technology, engineering, and math and work the Microsoft researchers are conducting last Friday.

"I think this is such a great opportunity for our students to ask questions and get information from real people in the workplace," said Brandi Egbert, ninth grade science teacher. "This event gives the kids the chance to make a connection from what they are learning in school to the professional career world."

The Kent-Technology Academy is an academic community that helps the students focus on problem solving, inventive thinking and collaboration. An intentional small-learning community, the teachers support students with project-based learning that focuses on science, technology, engineering and math.

"We want our students to think beyond the classroom," Egbert said. "This will help them be successful in life."

Kent School District partnered with Microsoft Research Connections Group as part of the software company’s Day of Caring and their work to support Computer Science Education Week. The purpose of this initial visit was to introduce employees and students to each other in preparation for the seventh and ninth grade students’ visit to Microsoft Research Connections labs on the Microsoft campus this spring.

“This partnership with Microsoft connects students to real world applications of the critical thinking, technology, and content that they learn. They will have an opportunity to work with a number of successful adults with curious, creative minds and strong work ethics and they will see more and more extraordinary possibilities within themselves,” said Susan Charrier, school district staff member.

Throughout the year various researchers across Microsoft Research will do virtual presentations to these students to help them better understand careers in research and technology. Additionally, eighth-grade students will work on using TouchDevelop to create applications for the Windows7 phone. Seventh-graders will learn about game programming and a visual object oriented programming tool called Kodu. Microsoft employees participating in the Day of Caring included a researcher focused on interaction, media, and visualization browsing, a former NASA employee and earth systems scientist, a software engineer, a mechanical engineer and an author of books about quantum mechanics and relativity.

“We are pleased to help KMTA and KTA by talking about how technology can make the impossible possible and how they can be the generation that solves the biggest challenges in the world through becoming computer scientists,” said Rane Johnson, principal research director of Microsoft Research Connections.

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