iStrategyLabs Field Trip
What began as a simple trip, offered by NCWIT’s Aspirations in Computing network, quickly unfolded into an amazing opportunity? When we think of a typical field trip for high school and college students, we hardly think about visiting the scenes of the action; rather the products of their creation. Wednesday, January 29, 2014 was a very special day for the young women that were chosen to venture the iStrategyLabs office. We all woke that morning and went through our school days as usual, anticipating the field trip that lay ahead of us. I knew the field trip would be amazing but not all the research in the world could have captured the aspect of innovative creativity that engulfed their workplace.
When we walked in there were many aspects of creativity, there were objects such as Legos that represented the freedom to construct. The entire space was a rainbow of intricate design. The pictures that covered the walls were unique and could have provoked even the least inquisitive minds. While the layout was an amazing, their work was the true inspiration. We were escorted to the conference room that was as much a part of the office as the everything else. One thing I noted was that there were no walls. The connectivity in the office was embraceable. The office was sectioned but united, a feeling that many workplaces fail to mimic.
The projects that we were introduced to that day varied in ability but they all exceeded in creativity. Among the many projects we were introduced to, my favorite was the social machines. iStrategyLabs has taken the initiative to create fun machines that connect the virtual world of social networking with reality. Among some of their famed projects was a social fridge that would open to reveal a treat after 10 people checked into the area on Four Square. While it is my favorite, needless to say, it is certainly not their only.
The lab is full of surprises. Many aspects to the lab are suppressing such as the ceiling pipes that are rigged with the coolest Bluetooth technology. There is a project wall, engineering room, 3D printer and many other surprising aspects to their work space. However, what was most interesting was the variety of backgrounds. Each employee has a story that you would not believe. I thought of superheroes when I heard their stories: One interest by day, another by night. There were engineers that doubled as nurses and computer scientists that doubled as photographers. It just goes to show that computer science is for everyone and anyone.
Departing from the field trip to iStrategyLabs, I left with fond memories and connections that have supplied me with an amazingly nice and helpful mentor. I must acknowledge the provider for this amazing opportunity. The Aspirations in Computing network has, once again, supplied me with an amazing opportunity that I am thankful to have. Therefore, if you know a girl interested in math, engineering, technology or science; go online to https://www.aspirations.org and get her the tools she needs to succeed.