Students Jay Hemrajani, 11 (left), and Millen Chudasama, 10, show Pranab Krishnan and Supervisor Hudgins the code they were working on. The camp aimed to inspire creativity and innovation in science and technology.
Photo by Nikki Cheshire/The Connection
At most summer camps, children are encouraged to step away from their screens and head outdoors. But for the campers enrolled in a program conducted by Core Foundations, a local nonprofit that encourages children to follow their passions in STEM fields, it was all about learning how to innovate with technology.
The camp focused on teaching elementary and middle school-age students about computer animation and Java programming. The founder and CEO of Core Foundations, Pranab Krishnan, says that he hopes children leave with a passion to excel in the field of science, technology, engineering, math and beyond.
“It’s not just about the skills they gain, but also the confidence, the spark, in learning computer science,” Krishnan said. “This camp allows kids from around the area to become motivated to follow programming.”
According to Krishnan, learning Java programming allows the students to venture into web development and the creation of mobile applications.
Krishnan, a rising senior at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, began Core Foundations after being inspired by his world history teacher, Kurt Waters, to create a lasting impact via their Change the World project. “We learn about history throughout the entire year, but now it’s our time to make history,” Krishnan said.
The foundation consists of volunteers who also helped to implement a robotics and scratch programming club at Dogwood Elementary School by providing mentors and the financial backing needed for the program, in addition to running summer camp programs.
Supervisor Cathy Hudgins visited the camp, held at the North County Government Center in Reston, to offer words of encouragement. “This is the best way to get our brains to start solving problems,” Hudgins said to the campers. “And it comes from learning from a very early age about inquiry.”
“It’s all about problem-solving,” Krishnan added. “To make these kids critical thinkers. They are our future problem-solvers. This gives them an opportunity they might not get anywhere else to succeed.”
Core Foundations hopes to expand their impact to other places in Virginia as well as Washington, D.C. and West Virginia for the upcoming school year.
To learn more about Core Foundations, or to help support their mission, visit their website at CoreFoundations.co.
What do you find most valuable about this camp?
Michael George, 17, South Lakes High School
“This camp has taught me that engaging young children in an important field such as STEM can be one of the most rewarding and powerful things that somebody our age can do. The camp introduced young children to a field that builds problem solving, teamwork and critical thinking skills that they will need later in life.”
Joseph Walter, 17, Herndon High School
“The most valuable part of this camp was how through the use of exciting and thought provoking activities we were able to introduce young students to the world of programming. By encouraging their creativity we planted the seeds of curiosity that will help to foster their further interest in STEM.”
Stephanie Su, 18, McLean High School
“In this camp, students were hands-on with visuals and projects as they established a foundation in basic coding. I place high value in shaping a friendly environment, like Core Foundations, where students feel safe and are encouraged to explore beyond their assigned tasks. Furthermore, I believe exposing students to STEM fields at a young age will prepare them for technical challenges ahead while still having fun.”
Akash Bansal, 16, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
“The most valuable part of this camp was trying to make the dreams of all the students come true. Many people say that you should always follow your dream. However, at Core Foundations, our dream is to make the dreams of others a possibility.”
Pranab Krishnan, 17, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
“Core Foundation's objective is to fostering creativity and instill interest in STEM subjects. This camp achieved that goal by providing students with the necessary skills of Computer Science and a passion for learning and innovating.”