Students Get New Look at Technology at MIS STEM Camp

A deep dive into business technology highlighted the 2019 Management Information Systems (MIS) Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Camp this week at East Carolina University.

The camp hosted 16 eastern North Carolina middle and high school girls during the weeklong event, introducing a new generation of students to MIS technology and future career opportunities.

The camp partnered with the Boys and Girls Club of the Coastal Plains to advance STEM education in the region, specifically technology fields like management information systems. Management information systems analyze how people and technology interact, applying that knowledge to help organizations implement more effective business strategies.

Despite accounting for half of the national workforce, women hold fewer than 28% of the total jobs in science and engineering related fields, according to the National Science Foundation.

During the camp, students were taught a range of new skills including coding, programming, website building and 3D printing.

Students in the MIS field traditionally go into roles that help bridge the gap between a business’s needs and its technological capabilities, including business analysis, IT consulting, web development and database analysis.

The MIS STEM Camp was heavily supported by donors including gifts of more than $8,700 from Wells Fargo, a $5,000 pledge from alumnus Angelena Brack of JPMorgan Chase, and an additional $1,000 scholarship from the Pitt County Development Commission. Numerous ECU alumni and supporters also took part in an ECU Fund It crowdfunding campaign this summer to support the camp.

South Creek High School student Mya Staton, 14, said the camp offered her an opportunity to look at science and technology from a new perspective.

“We have a lot of technology around us, so learning more about it, learning how it works, and learning how it affects us will help us all in life,” Staton said. “I was already interested in science and it’s always been one of my favorite subjects, but I’ve never been to a camp focused just on technology. This was something really different for me.”

During the camp, students were taught a range of new skills including coding, programming, website building and 3D printing. Students worked together to plan and present projects combining the skills they developed during the camp featuring coding and 3D animation.

Camp director and College of Business associate professor April Reed said that nurturing interest in the MIS field was one of the camp’s primary missions.

“MIS combines business with technology, but it’s not well known by those outside of the field,” Reed said. “There’s great potential for igniting interest in females to explore technology because of its inherent social aspects. Our goal is to introduce our campers to MIS and provide guidance to those students who find they have a passion and a talent for the field. These jobs are in great demand and pay very high salaries, even at the entry level.”

Staton said that while learning some of the new skills was a challenge, she and her fellow campers were eager for the experience.

“Some of the things we took on this week were hard, but now that we’ve had some time to learn and practice, it’s fun,” Staton said. “I definitely think about science in a new way. It’s nice to get a different view of something you’ve been doing your entire school career.”

Learn more about ECU’s Department of Management Information Systems and ECU’s STEM opportunities online.