Canyon School District students receive STEM scholarships
RizePoint gives STEM camp scholarships to 20 Canyons School District students. (Julie Slama/City Journals)
Butler Elementary student Savanna Moursal wants to learn how to hack into a computer if she should ever be locked out.
So the fifth-grader decided to apply for a RizePoint STEM scholarship to attend the camp Girls Go Digital to learn more about coding.
“I applied because coding is fun to learn and I hope to learn more about software at the camp,” Savanna said. “I’ve learned to code a little at school, but at the camp, we’ll use Play-Doh to control a computer. That sounds really cool.”
On May 17, 20 Canyons School District students from fifth grade through tenth grade were honored as RizePoint scholarship recipients after a committee reviewed their applications, which included a personal explanation of their own ambitions to learn at a STEM camp, their academic record and recommendations from a teacher and a peer.
RizePoint, headquartered in Cottonwood Heights, has mobile and cloud-based auditing software that helps organizations improve the quality, safety and sustainability of their products, services and facilities. Companies can gather better data, see results earlier and act faster on any red flags. RizePoint’s auditing software is used by five of the top eight hospitality brands, including Marriott and IHG, and five of the top eight food service brands, including McDonald’s and Wendy’s.
This is the second year the RizePoint scholarships have been awarded. Most of the recipients are students in fifth grade and middle school.
“This helps students attend a summer camp outside of what they learn in the district,” Canyons Education Foundation Development Officer Laura Barlow said. “It gives our students a great opportunity to learn new, fun things, and that is huge. It enhances what they’re already learning and gives them a jumpstart into STEM. It excites students about learning.”
Students could select their camps and some of those chosen this year include GREAT Camp, Robotics Exploration, Tech Camp, HTML Coding, Lego Mindstorms and Scratch, Smart Camp, Code Changers, Youth Academy of Excellence Inventions of Antiquity, Aviation Day Camp, Junior Naturalist, Play Well Master Engineering, Odyssey Camp, Code Changers, Bricks 4Kidz, Mars Exploration in Kansas and Hatfield Marine Science Investigations in Oregon.
RizePoint CEO Frank Maylett said the organization looks at students’ applications to see why the scholarship is important to them.
“We award the STEM scholarships to young men and women for some amazing opportunities because we want to invest in their future as many of these smart, talented and motivated students will be working in technology and we can help them in that path,” he said. “For some students, this is the first time they’ve filled out a scholarship application. This is something they earn and impacts their lives and what they’re doing.”
Maylett said a new report found that the growing Utah technology sector had 15,000 unfilled jobs and was struggling to find skilled workers in the 5,000 tech companies in the state.
Some students write about their interests in the STEM field, but also address the need for the scholarship.
“Some students might not be able to afford to attend a camp, so this is a way we can help them enroll in some pretty amazing opportunities,” he said about the first program of its kind in Utah. “We’ve had students say that they wouldn’t be able to attend otherwise, as it would be a financial burden.”
Maylett said some students want to discover answers to help animals, find cures for chronic diseases, or have just moved to Utah and want to have this opportunity that hasn’t been offered before.
He also said RizePoint supports STEM education, with a focus on providing that technical education for females.
Savanna’s mother, Holly, said she hopes that is what her daughter will be introduced to this summer.
“I hope she gets more exposure to computer science as not a lot of girls are in the field,” she said, adding that she works in the field. “She made a robot in her school’s tech club and has had fun learning coding already.”
In addition to Savanna, this year’s winners include Abdullah Husin, Hillcrest High; Abigail Slama-Catron, Midvale Middle; Alvin Tai, Albion Middle; Amelia Slama-Catron, Hillcrest High; Andrew Romanovsky, Midvale Middle; Bradley Williams, East Sandy Elementary; Charles Avila, Mt. Jordan Middle; Christian Soderberg, Lone Peak Elementary; Diana Alzerreca, Eastmont Middle; Drake Larsen, Draper Park Middle; Emily Erickson, Indian Hills Middle; Emily Waters, Union Middle; Eric Snaufer, Midvale Middle; Kiriana Jolley, Eastmont Middle; Romeny Molia Salanoa, Alta View Elementary; Ryan Pomeroy, Indian Hills Middle; Shaylee Nielsen, Mt. Jordan Middle; Talia Larsen, Corner Canyon High; and Yuexi Chloe Chen, Granite Elementary.