By Nicole DeFeudis, Staff Writer for The Lowell Sun
FROM THE LOWELL SUN » For young students in the after- school Kids in Tech program, meeting Rep. Lori Trahan was encouraging, said Founder Olu Ibrahim.
Trahan spoke with around 10 Kids in Tech participants at the Coalition for a Better Acre on Nov. 6, about her experience as the only female executive at a private sector tech company, then fielded questions about her job in Congress.
“ It makes it more real, more tangible, everything that they’re learning … It makes it more exciting,” Ibrahim said of Trahan’s visit.
Kids in Tech, a Lowell- based provides afterschool STEM programming for about 70 students at three city locations. Kids meet once or twice per week to learn everything from graphic design to typing to robotics, Ibrahim explained. This year, they are building computers, which they will later learn to code and play games on.
“ I think all kids deserve an opportunity to make sure they really understand both com- puter science and computer literacy,” said Ibrahim, who launched the program in 2016.
Participants are typically between the ages of 8 and 14. The nonprofit supplies all the materials used during the program, including electronic devices such as laptops and tablets.
“ I see Lowell as an innovation hub, or as an emerging innovation hub,” she said. Kids in Tech provides young students the opportunity to learn and innovate as well. The nonprofit has been in touch with Trahan for quite some time, and the congresswoman recently offered to visit.
Trahan graduated from Lowell High School in 1991. “As a member of the Education and Labor Committee, and as a former tech professional I’m so impressed by programs like Kids in Tech, and their mission of making STEM education more accessible to students in our district,” she said in a news release.
“ It’s vital that we show our kids that tech careers are in their reach, especially since we know that implementing STEM education early on leads to great paying jobs that are right here in our own backyard,” she continued.
Speaking with local professionals makes careers in technology seem like “ more of a viable option,” to the students, Ibrahim said. “ I think kids see a clearer pathway to enter tech,” she said.