Students from 15 school districts in six Ohio counties took part in a unique competition June 15. The competition involved robots, and it was part of a multi-day camp focusing on computer programming.
“It helps the kids get a sense of real team building,” Amar Naga, director of operations at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Seven Hills Park, said about the camp. “I think these kids are very bright, all they need is a little guidance.”
Naga said he is passionate about the camp and passionate about his field. Technology, he said, is a field which many students aren’t able to explore or receive training in. He said it has been difficult to find suitable employees to fill the many open positions at his company.
“We started recruiting in 2008,” Naga said. “The problem was I did not see many students for the recruitment. TCS alone cannot solve this problem.”
TCS is a global leader in integrated technology services with an office located right in Milford. The company provides a variety of computer-related services to business owners including software, management services and more.
Employees at TCS must not only be experienced in computer programming, but also be creative when it comes to problem solving and trouble-shooting technology.
So when Naga couldn’t find students to recruit on his own, he turned to local school districts and began talking to administrators and teachers. He urged administrators to make computer programming classes available, and created a three-day camp to help give students a glimpse of the field.
“We needed to create more awareness of science and technology,” Naga said. “We approached students to clearly show them why it is important.”
The three-day camp, which began June 13 focused on Naga’s goal. Students were able to work together on technological projects, which included programming the robots that they would later use in competition. The day camp was free and TCS provided meals and materials.
“It’s really cool how you get to interact with robots and learn about robots as you are programming,” Sarah Bee, a student from Walnut Hills High School, said about the camp. “It really opened my eyes to the need for jobs in technology.”
Dozens of students attended the third camp, and Nada said the camps have been getting bigger and better each year.
“I love the competition,” Connor Kabbes, a recent graduate of Milford High School, said about the camp. “Last year I came in second, I could tell the program is getting better each year. It really makes you focus on talents of basic programming.”
The competition is held on the last day of camp, and teams of students battled their programmable robots on a course that featured several obstacles. The winning team included Tomas Ortiz, of Covington Latin School, Wes Meyer of Wyoming High School, Ryan Palmer of Hillsboro High School, Thanshan Selvakumar of Lakota East High School and Jake Gaddis a home schooled student.
A ceremony was held in the evening to present the winners and wrap up the camp. Parents were invited to attend and Nada said it is important to share information about the field with them as well.
Currently, Nada is searching for more than 200 employees to add to his TCS team. He said he hopes some of the students from camp will pursue technology and come back to work for the company. For him, the camp is rejuvenating, and it leaves him with a new excitement each year.
“I get energy for the next six months,” Nada said.