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Digital Scholars Program

In the summer of 2020, DPI launched the Digital Scholars program to build a deeper and more diverse pool of homegrown students pursuing computer science and tech-related degrees. The program is a partnership between UIC’s CHANCE program, UIUC’s Grainger College of Engineering, and UIUC’s College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. To date, the program has reached 200+ students and involved more than 100 representatives from Chicago’s tech community.

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Program Components

Digital Scholars is an intensive summer program for high school students and incoming / current college students at the University of Illinois at Chicago or City Colleges of Chicago.

The program is intentional about serving Black and Latinx, CPS and Chicago-area, young women and first-generation students — at NO cost.

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summary data about 2021 Digital Scholars

Course Offerings

Students have the opportunity to take one of several courses:

  • CS 111: Intro to Programming
  • Mobile App Development
  • Data Science Discovery
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering

Industry Connections

Students meet and make meaningful connections with members of Chicago’s dynamic tech community through daily talks with tech entrepreneurs, technologists, business strategists, & civic leaders.

Topical Workshops

Students participate in weekly workshops that dive into key topics such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, data science, and presentations from Chicago’s top tech incubators.

College and Career Readiness

Beyond the college-level course, participating students get additional experiences to build essential skills such as communications, collaborating in teams, how to build their professional networks and other work-readiness skills.

Digital Scholars Program Partners

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Become a Digital Scholar

Rising 11th and 12th graders and incoming/current students at UIC and City Colleges of Chicago
can choose a summer program pathway in computer science, mobile app development, data science, or electrical & computer engineering.
All programs will be offered in-person (with respect to current CDC guidelines).

Keep a look out for future dates!

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Student Testimonial

“The Digital Scholars program has helped me learn more about computer science, app development and has really made me more inspired about what I want to do in the future.”

Alena Morrisette2021 Digital Scholar (Mobile App Development); Senior - Bolingbrook H.S.
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Student Testimonial

“This was an experience that has greatly changed my mindset and thought process. It gave us the opportunity to have conversations with some of the most successful people in the Chicago tech community.”

Doriyon Ward2021 Digital Scholar (CS 100), First-Year CS Major at UIC
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Student Testimonial

“I’m glad I was able to challenge my computer science skills and work with new people. Not only did they fill me sense of excitement heading towards my career path, but also made me more prepared for life after high school.”

Reggie Adu2020 Digital Scholar (CS 111), First-Year CS Major at UIC
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Student Testimonial

“Being a part this program has been incredibly beneficial to me, especially since I’m a rising Freshman at UIC. We had daily speakers tell us about their life stories and how they got to where they are now… like Anthony Rod from NetherRealm Studios and Amita Shetty from Breakthrough Tech.”

Jakya Bryant2021 Digital Scholar (CS 100); First-Year CS Major at UIC
Digital Scholars

Digital Scholars Speakers, Supporters, and Workshop Hosts

DPI’s ambitions are large and transformative in scale. The Community Education Unit is building programs and partnerships to reach thousands of learners to transform the composition of Chicago’s tech workforce.

We will not be able to achieve this impact without the development of strategic partnerships to map out a learner’s journey from middle school to a successful career in tech. Our Digital Scholars Program partners include school districts, community colleges, non-profit program providers, four-year institutions, and employers.