There was little rest over Spring Break for Nicholas Ermolov, and this summer will be even more exhilarating.
The GBS junior and his friend Parker Thompson, a junior at Charleston County School of the Arts in South Carolina, recently founded CS Upstart
. The program is designed to teach kids about computer science.
“The goal is to create a system and tools [to help kids learn],” Ermolov said. “We are going to run a test course in South Carolina this summer.”
CS Upstart currently has two curriculums to roll out in Charleston: Web Development and Robotics. Students ages 10-15 will learn through a combination of audio and visual instruction during two, one-week summer camps.
Where did this idea come from?
Ermolov said he and Thompson were looking to start a community-oriented project, and CS Upstart came as a natural fit due to their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and business interest.
“We saw a lot of issues with existing programs that are out there,” Ermolov said. “Our goal is to focus on building curriculums rather than just hosting events. I’m a big believer in open source software, meaning the student can openly see a code and use it to learn.”
“Younger kids enjoy having tangible projects,” he added. “It’s nice for them to see their hard work pay off.”
GBS applied technology teacher Mike SInde has had Ermolov in his classes for the past three years. Sinde said “it was shortly after Nick’s freshman year that he began to rise to the top and he has continued to shine now that he is a junior.”
“Nick has always had a maker mentality,” Sinde said. “This was apparent right after the start of his freshman year … Nick created a digital portfolio from scratch using coding that he taught himself. He is the vice president of our engineering club and over the past three years has been our top coder.”
Ermolov said CS Upstart is beginning to work with an organization in Chicago to offer a similar program, and they have started filing paperwork to become a non-profit organization. Sinde said he would love to see the CS Upstart curriculum implemented for the younger kids in the Glenview area.
“One of the biggest challenges that I face as an engineering teacher is that many students do not have formalized STEM curriculums at the K-8 grade level,” Sinde said. “CS Upstart could help fill a void.”
“Many students don’t know if they enjoy computer science because they’ve never had the chance to try it,” he said. “CS Upstart is intended to foster a more comprehensive introduction to computer science, at a younger age, and therefore get more people interested.”