UNL Hosts SPARK Center Pop-Up Workshops in Partnership with Microsoft, TV One and Comcast

Photos by Thomas Springer (@FeetsMccoy) and DJ Blak Magic (@DJBlakMagic)

The UNL SPARK Center, coming to Atlanta September 2016, will be an incubator for UNL high school students to learn, create and innovate within the intersection of technology, education and culture. It will be a space where school students become exposed to a plethora career possibilities that connect with their interests; Where students work specifically towards their intended futures. In the words of our students, it will be a place that is, “how school should be.” Leading up to the opening of the UNL SPARK Center, Usher’s New Look will be hosting innovative career-themed “pop-up” workshops, to act as teasers for students to sneak a peak at what’s to come.

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Recently, UNL hosted the first six SPARK Center workshops at UNL’s in-school Leadership Academies at Meadowcreek and Pebblebrook High Schools in Georgia, as well as weekend workshops for Atlanta students city-wide at Morehouse. The six workshops served around 500 students and focused on exposing students to the endless variety of careers available to them as creators behind the scenes within entertainment, music, videography, and technology. The most recent workshop of the series, held on May 21, 2016 at Morehouse in partnership with Microsoft, TV One and Comcast, exposed students to careers within video gaming and virtual reality. The workshop was facilitated by EARI’s Urban Game Jam, which offers education seminars to encourage youth to be part of the gaming revolution. Over 100 Atlanta high school students were introduced to the video game industry, virtual reality, gaming development and gaming design. The workshop included hands on activities and STEAM ( Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) subjects in an engaging and entertaining way.

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Microsoft provided computers to support the day’s activities. Comcast and TV One, provided USB drives and bags of incentives for students. Guest speaker Dr. Mensah, a leading expert in nanotechnology and one of the four inventors of the fiber optics that are used in the telecommunication industry, kicked off the workshop by inspiring students to recognize their full potential to be leaders of innovation in technology. Mensah holds 7 USA and worldwide patents in fiber optics, and on March 20, 2015, her was inducted into the USA National Academy of Inventors. Trice Johnson of Microsoft spoke to the students next about tapping into their passions in order to produce new technologies that can solve real world problems. Students were able to try out virtual reality technology, which opened their eyes to the unbelievable careers associated with newly emerging technologies. One lucky student walked away with a go-pro camera for his participation. UNL will continue to host these workshops leading up to the September 2016 launch of the UNL SPARK Center.

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Further Reading

Check out this article from the Burton Wire, on the Spark Center pop-ups

Take Action!

Are you a potential sponsor or partner interested in observing a Spark Center Pop-Up? Email Deb King, Chief Development Officer, for a sneak peak on June 30th! DKing@UshersNewLook.org, Subject “June 30 Pop Up”

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