TXT2011: Teens eXperiencing Technical Education a smashing success
TXT2011: Teens eXperiencing Technical Education, the brainchild of DCTC’s director of technical instruction, Linda Foster, brought 150 middle school girls from area communities to Dakota County Technical College for a week of instructional program exploration.
DCTC partnered with Laura Jeffrey Academy, a girls-only charter in St. Paul, and Best Buy Geek Squad to give the girls hands-on experience with nearly 30 programs—many such as Heavy Construction Equipment Technology, Electrical Lineworker and Heavy Duty Truck Technology typically marked out as career paths for boys.
“The girls ended up loving the programs they initially regarded with the most skepticism like Auto Body Collision or Welding,” said Foster, who noted that several surrounding communities were represented at TXT2011, including Farmington, Rosemount, Eagan, Lakeville, Shakopee, Mahtomedi, Webster, Apple Valley, St. Paul and more. “But once the girls realized what the programs were really about, they had a blast.”
Foster reported that faculty were totally on board from the start. They enjoyed teaching the girls and welcomed the happy buzz they brought to the college. She also noted that from a logistical standpoint, TXT2011 was 95 percent positive.
“We had dozens of volunteers and used a lot of different labs and classrooms over the course of the week,” she said, “but everything ran like clockwork. The girls were just the right age to be open to new things and filled with wonder. We’ve had tons of great feedback from parents who said their daughters had an incredible time, which is remarkable considering that TXT2011 cut into summer vacations.”
Julee Gessinger of Shakopee, Minn., related that her 11-year-old daughter, Emma, had a marvelous time. “Emma has learned so much this week and been exposed to far more than we could have done with a dozen community ed classes!” Gessinger said during the event. “It has far surpassed our expectations and any thoughts that it would be a lot of sitting and ‘listening.’ Emma has loved the hands-on approach and it has been such a joy to listen to her ‘gush’ with new information each day.”
Emma agreed wholeheartedly with her mom. “I didn’t really think I was going to learn much, but as the week is almost over, I really did learn a lot,” she said. “My favorite thing about the week was automotive technology because now I know how to check tire pressure. I liked landscaping because I learned about different flowers and leaves—and I know how to make a nice bouquet. Now, I really want to go again and tell a lot of my friends about TXT.”
“TXT is not just filler information, just there to fill time and kind of blah, blah, blah, but it really is good information, information my daughter Emma can use and has some meaning to her—information she won’t just forget next week. TXT2011 was a great experience for us. I can’t say enough good about it. Linda Foster has gone over the top to work with us…simply amazing!” — Julee Gessinger, TXT2011 mom
The last two days of the week were reserved for Geek Squad Academy. A large team of Best Buy Geek Squad experts ran several peak-interest workshops that included exercises, insights and ideas about computers, photography, video and more.
About 65 girls at TXT2011were students from Laura Jeffrey Academy.
Here are four quick reviews:
- Makehba Nelson, 11, from Woodbury, Minn.
- “I really, really had fun. I learned about cars and CPR.”
- TXT2011 in one word: “Wonderful.”
- Deedee Chappell, 11, from Maplewood, Minn.
- “I learned about a dump truck, fixing computers and blowing up an air bag.”
- TXT2011 in one word: “Pretty cool.” (Okay, that’s two words.)
- Rachel Christensen, 10, from Woodbury, Minn.
- “Photoshop was really cool. I liked learning how to fix computer problems, and it was really fun learning about teeth molds in the dental program.”
- TXT2011 in one word: “Amazing.”
- Moeriyah Foots, 13, Chicago, Ill.
- “I learned so many different things. I learned about how to be safe around electricity and how to make things disappear using video.”
- TXT2011 in one word: “Perfect.”
TXT2012 is already in the pipeline. For more information about the next Teens eXperiencing Technical Education week-long event and how you can participate, contact:
- Linda Foster
Instructional Technology Director
TXT 2011 Photo Gallery