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STEM summer camp helps students explore the future of Artificial Intelligence

STEM summer camp helps students explore the future of Artificial Intelligence

Education, Volunteerism

Summer camp often stirs memories of campfires and cabins – but not always. In August 2019, PPG and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania joined forces to create the PPG Artificial Intelligence Pathways Institute (AIPI) & Teen Accelerator program. And, it is not your average summer camp.

Coding robots, exploring PPG innovation labs and solving health and environmental challenges with artificial intelligence (AI) technology set this program apart and created a unique and fun learning environment and experience.

Shaping the future of technology

Today, AI increasingly shapes the future of technology across the globe, and even in our PPG communities. The student participants discovered this first-hand by exploring the impact of AI on society. Challenged to use AI to identify, design and develop a prototype to solve a community problem, the program matched the students’ passion for technology with project-based hands-on learning, mentorship and networking opportunities – all while building personal confidence and gaining exposure to future career paths.

“We are helping students from historically underrepresented groups in these fields develop technical skills and confidence in their abilities, while encouraging them to build personal and professional connections with a diverse group of peers who share similar passions,” said Dr. Lisa M. Abel-Palmieri, president and CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania.

PPG employees support students

With the help of 75 PPG IT employees, the students were introduced to computer programming specific to robotics, coding, human-centered design and other topics and toured PPG’s Coatings Innovation Center (CIC) in Allison Park, Pennsylvania. Their work culminated into a public showcase and awards day held at PPG’s Pittsburgh headquarters where the students presented their prototypes to their families, school administration, local government officials and PPG employees. In 2020, the program was hosted virtually.

According to Chris Caruso, vice president of Information Technology at PPG, the program opened a new door for young people to discover IT and AI possibilities. “This program is an incredible way for our PPG employee volunteers to have a positive impact on the lives, and minds, of our region’s future tech leaders and innovators,” said Caruso.

Boys & Girls Club presents PPG with ‘Champion of Youth Award’

Vince Morales, PPG senior vice president and chief
financial officer. 

On August 5, 2020, PPG was recognized with the 2020 Champion of Youth Award for joining the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania’s mission to activate and advance the potential in every child to ensure they have great futures.

In addition to jointly launching the PPG Artificial Intelligence Pathways Institute and Teen Accelerator program, since 2016, PPG has joined the Boys & Girls Club to complete five COLORFUL COMMUNITIES® events in the Pittsburgh area to transform classrooms and other community spaces used by the organization.

As part of the Boys & Girls Club’s virtual “Bridge to Great Futures” Gala, Vince Morales, PPG senior vice president and chief financial officer, accepted the award on behalf of PPG.

“At PPG, we aim to share our passion and joy for experimentation and the life-changing differences made possible through color with future generations,” said Vince. “Our alike missions to create possibilities for our local youth enable a wonderful partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs. My personal experiences with the organization have been nothing short of remarkable and I’ve seen first-hand the efforts to enable bridges to great futures.”

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