Twenty-five rising high school seniors from the School District of Philadelphia will travel in mid-July to West Chester University for iCamp 2017, a summer academy focused on media development.
The students will spend a week living on campus, learning new skills and working as media developers to create films, games, podcasts, and websites.
The students will produce media projects focused on issues of social justice and community development. The camp has partnered with local nonprofits Fab Youth Philly and the Advocate Center for Culture and Education, as well as the Academic Development Program at WCU. These organizations will be present on campus at the start of the week and act as clients, pitching their work and goals to the students.
Fab Youth Philly will task students with creating a website for teens, while the Advocate Center will challenge them to develop a game testing college readiness. Staff from the nonprofits will act as resources, so the students can learn more about their organizations.
Six WCU faculty members will be present throughout the week, conducting hands-on workshops and one-on-one sessions to help the students learn new media production skills.
Finally, at the end of the week, the camp will host a launch party featuring the students’ projects.
Dr. Laquana Cooke, the camp’s developer and director, has done similar work in the past. Prior to earning her Ph.D., she worked for a nonprofit that taught inner-city residents media production skills, worked in public television production and as a video game designer, and helped with other efforts to teach children, such as learning STEM through basketball.
While studying for her doctorate at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Cooke began working for Games for Change Student Challenge in New York City. After arriving at WCU’s College of Arts and Humanities last fall, she decided to create a similar opportunity with other forms of media for Philly youth .
“I missed doing this kind of work with kids and thought we could use a collaborative effort here,” she said.