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TechWizards expanding beyond Gateway

TechWizards is looking for motivated individuals to work with and mentor students at Lincoln or Washington middle schools in Kenosha.

But just who are TechWizards and what do they do?

In 2011 and 2012, Gateway’s Association of Information Technology Professionals students began collaborating with a University of Wisconsin-Extension and 4-H program that works with at-risk youth. They hosted an after-school robotics club for sixth- through eighth-graders at Lincoln Middle School. That first year, the team led by Gateway Information Technology students Donavan Groves and Annie Fahy took home first place at the tri-county 4-H TechWizards Robotics Rally at the CNH corporate training facility in Sturtevant.

The following year, Groves carried on with a new colleague, Mary O’Sullivan, and expanded to include the Boys & Girls Club of Kenosha for summer robotics activities. Now in their third year with TechWizards, Groves and O’Sullivan have built curriculum around the LEGO Mindstorm’s NXT robotic program while incorporating features such as vocabulary lessons, individual and group activities and other aspects of STEM-related (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skill building activities and games. The curriculum teaches the importance of teamwork, exploration, collaboration and self-motivation.

The pair says their involvement is a mixture of volunteering, service learning and mentoring.

Those interested in learning more or joining TechWizards, should contact Alessandra Ruffalo at alessandra.ruffalo@ces.uwex.edu or visit/call the Kenosha County UW-Extension at 19600 75th St., Bristol, (262) 857-1945.