During the start of the 2017-2018 school year, high school students began applying to theCO’s Dev Catalyst program, a curriculum designed to cultivate and grow the abilities of students with technological talents in the greater West Tennessee area. Throughout the course of the program, nearly 800 students participated in one of three categories (Novice Web Development, Advanced Web Development, and Data Development) in order to learn teamwork skills, develop professional skills, network with tech professionals, and hopefully win the grand prize trip to San Francisco, California.Read More
Dev Catalyst is committed to preparing high school students for profitable careers in technology-based fields, such as advanced manufacturing.
According to the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, over the last five years, Tennessee has ranked in the Top 10 for the largest percentage increase in the United States in manufacturing GDP, which reached $49.1 billion in 2016, making it 17% of the state’s total GDP. Advanced manufacturing job creation in Tennessee, in particular, far outpaces the rate of national growth.
Technology has revolutionized the manufacturing industry. The incorporation of robots on the assembly line has led to quicker, more efficient production. Companies have also streamlined the manufacturing and production process by using computer-aided design software.Read More
Every December I write this article reflecting on the moments, milestones, and amazing people that made 2017 a year to remember. From announcing another Best in the West business competition winner to accepting a state-funded grant in which we have been tasked with turning forty-foot motorhomes into rolling innovation labs, it’s been an extremely busy year for theCO.
However, overlooking the mistakes, the loses, and the setbacks for the year would be naive of us as an entrepreneur development center. Some of the greatest achievements and growth can be traced back to times of failure, and that’s perfectly okay! We’ve seen great ideas and potential businesses put on the back burner this year and understand that life gets in the way sometimes. Just know that theCO is here to help. Ask us questions, and tell us about your struggles. We want nothing more than to see you grow personally and help your business grow as well.Read More
At the beginning of the school year, Molly Plyler’s five- and seven-year-old daughters were asking for a new computer. So she gave them a Raspberry Pi, keyboard, and monitor and told them that if they could figure out how to put it together, it would be their school computer. In less than fifteen minutes, the seven-year-old had her computer running.
“It’s kind of a skill that’s lost,” said Plyler, who runs Dev Catalyst, theCO’s student program that aims to improve technology education. “If you go back to the 80s, when you were working with a computer, there was some command-line code that you were kind of used to because that’s how the computer worked, and now we give kids an iPad, and there’s very little understanding of how it works or what it looks like on the inside.”
Raspberry Pis are mini-computers that are relatively inexpensive, costing about $35. Dev Catalyst is currently offering workshops for middle and high school students that teach how to use a Raspberry Pi.Read More
Maria McConkey is a student worth watching out for. Recognized by the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), McConkey isn’t an ordinary Jackson Christian School (JCS) student. According to her teacher, she is extraordinary.Read More
Socks are often forgotten garments, especially to those kept safe from winter's fury and utter harshness. They are second thoughts to more fashionable looks for those who have houses to keep them safe year-round. They are often lost in the fray of washers, dryers, and laundry baskets. But for the less fortunate, socks are almost nonexistent.
Socks are the reason why Brad Montague, Kid President creator and owner of Montague Workshop in Henderson, Tennessee, created “Socktober.”
“When I found out that socks are the most needed but least donated item for shelters as they prepare for the cold winter months, I was shocked,” Montague said. “It’s such a simple way to let our neighbors who are homeless know they are not alone.”
Many Kid President fans might recall his inspirational speeches and playful dance moves concerning Socktober. But Montague had the idea in mind long before the character reached national success. This year he plans to make Socktober more personal with a new approach.
This new approach needed legs, so this summer the Montagues enlisted help from top teen coders from theCO’s Dev Catalyst program to create a Socktober website. The team included four Dev Catalyst standouts: Alyssa Gowan, Colten Cronin, Maria McConkey, and Hailey Yodushock. Many high school students spent their summers playing video games and socializing. These kids were coding.
Dev Catalyst Educational Outreach Coordinator, Molly Plyler, praised their maturity and ability to handle the task of building an international +website that millions would visit to make a difference.
“We have hundreds of students that participate in Dev Catalyst each year,” Plyler explained. “When this opportunity came up, [the Montagues] wanted to give the students a chance to participate in this type of passion project where they could code the site. We were looking for students who were the best of the best within our participants. So all four of these students have been on the San Francisco Trip, they’ve all won awards through Dev Catalyst, but they have also shown this wonderful personality and character.
Dev Catalyst, formerly known as CO:de Catalyst, is an initiative to encourage growth of the West Tennessee region by providing web coding instruction to high school students in much needed areas. The program recently completed its third year with its annual trip to California’s Silicon Valley.Read More