Canyon School District students receive STEM scholarships
Corner Canyon High freshman Talia Larsen smiles with RizePoint CEO Frank Maylett after receiving a scholarship to attend a STEM summer camp. (Julie Slama/City Journals)
After having an introduction to coding in school, Draper Park Middle School student Drake Larsen decided he wanted to learn more.
So the sixth-grader decided to apply for a RizePoint STEM scholarship to attend a Code Changers camp to challenge himself.
“I’m really looking forward to learning more coding,” Drake said. “In Hour of Code at school, we’ve learned how to make a character move or create shapes. I’ve done some pretty cool stuff in Scratch and Java too.”
On May 17, 20 Canyons School District students from fifth grade through tenth grade were honored as RizePoint scholarship recipients after a committee reviewed their applications, which included personal explanations of their own ambitions to learn at a STEM camp, their academic records and recommendations from a teacher and a peer.
RizePoint, headquartered in Cottonwood Heights, has mobile and cloud-based auditing software that helps organizations improve the quality, safety and sustainability of their products, services and facilities. Companies can gather better data, see results earlier and act faster on any red flags. RizePoint’s auditing software is used by five of the top eight hospitality brands, including Marriott and IHG, and five of the top eight food service brands, including McDonald’s and Wendy’s.
This is the second year the RizePoint scholarships have been awarded. Most of the recipients are students in fifth grade and middle school.
“This helps students attend a summer camp outside of what they learn in the district,” Canyons Education Foundation Development Officer Laura Barlow said. “It gives our students a great opportunity to learn new, fun things, and that is huge. It enhances what they’re already learning and gives them a jumpstart into STEM. It excites students about learning.”
Students selected their camps and some of those chosen this year include GREAT Camp, Girls Go Digital, Robotics Exploration, HTML Coding, Lego Mindstorms and Scratch, Smart Camp, Code Changers, Youth Academy of Excellence Inventions of Antiquity, Aviation Day Camp, Junior Naturalist, Play Well Master Engineering, Odyssey Camp, Tech Camp, Bricks 4Kidz, Mars Exploration in Kansas and Hatfield Marine Science Investigations in Oregon.
RizePoint CEO Frank Maylett said the organization looks at students’ applications to see why the scholarship is important to them.
“We award the STEM scholarships to young men and women for some amazing opportunities because we want to invest in their future, as many of these smart, talented and motivated students will be working in technology and we can help them in that path,” he said. “For some students, this is the first time they’ve filled out a scholarship application. This is something they earn and impacts their lives and what they’re doing.”
Maylett said a new report found that the growing Utah technology sector had 15,000 unfilled jobs and was struggling to find skilled workers in the 5,000 tech companies in the state.
He said some students want to discover answers to help animals, find cures for chronic diseases, or have just moved to Utah and want to have this opportunity that hasn’t been offered before. Some students write about their interests in the STEM field, but also address the need for the scholarship.
“Some students might not be able to afford to attend a camp so this is a way we can help them enroll in some pretty amazing opportunities,” he said about the first program of its kind in Utah. “We’ve had students say that they wouldn’t be able to attend otherwise as it would be a financial burden.”
Maylett also said that RizePoint supports STEM education, with a focus on access to providing that technical education for females.
Drake’s older sister, Talia, also will be attending Code Changers.
“I’ve found Hour of Code at school really interesting,” said the Corner Canyon freshman, who said this is her first scholarship she’s received. “I’m not sure yet if I want a career as a coder, but this is a good opportunity for me to learn more about the field and figure that out. I know there are not many females in the field. This camp sounds pretty cool.”
In addition to Drake and Talia, this year’s winners include:
Abdullah Husin, Hillcrest High
Abigail Slama-Catron, Midvale Middle
Alvin Tai, Albion Middle
Amelia Slama-Catron, Hillcrest High
Andrew Romanovsky, Midvale Middle
Bradley Williams, East Sandy Elementary
Charles Avila, Mt. Jordan Middle
Christian Soderberg, Lone Peak Elementary
Diana Alzerreca, Eastmont Middle
Emily Erickson, Indian Hills Middle
Emily Waters, Union Middle
Eric Snaufer, Midvale Middle
Kiriana Jolley, Eastmont Middle
Romeny Molia Salanoa, Alta View Elementary
Ryan Pomeroy, Indian Hills Middle
Savanna Moursal, Butler Elementary
Shaylee Nielsen, Mt. Jordan Middle
Yuexi Chloe Chen, Granite Elementary