Thanks to the Dawson Summer Initiative in Boulder Schools, kids make the world a better place with leadership and invention.
This year, the theme of the annual summer program was “Innovation and Impact.” The program is open to high achieving middle school student who compete for spots and is sponsored by the Alexander Dawson Foundation. There are no barriers to attendance; the program is free, and lunch and transportation are provided. 80 students attended the five week program this year.
During the first two weeks, students learned about the design-thinking model. They heard talks given by local innovators who had created something that changed the world. These included Philip Judge, an astrophysicist who has written books on climate change, Steve Katsaros, owner of the company that developed the first portable solar light bulb; and Stephen Meer, founder of Intrado, a communications company which specializes in emergency communications.
They worked in teams on research and development, learning Photoshop and video editing. “I love when we can put the kids in the driver’s seat,” said Ryan O’Block, a science teacher in the program. “It’s learning for learning’s sake with kids who want to be here. It’s fun for me as an educator to come into this environment.”