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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 CHANCE, UIUC Grainger College of Engineering, UIUC College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, and Swift. To date, the program has reached 250+ students and involved 145+ representatives from Chicago’s tech community.

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Program Components

Digital Scholars is an intensive summer program for high school and first-year college students at City Colleges of Chicago and Illinois institutions.

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 (Only UIC Students)
  • Foundations of Computer Science & Coding
  • Mobile App Design & Development
  • Data Science Discovery
  • Exploring Electrical & 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, entrepreneurship, 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 communication, collaborating in teams, how to create a personal brand and build a professional network, as well as other work-readiness skills.

Become a Digital Scholar

Rising 11th and 12th grade students, as well as first-year college students at City Colleges of Chicago and Illinois institutions, 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).

The 2024 Digital Scholars Program will take place daily and in-person from 9:00a to 1:00p beginning Monday, June 24th through Friday, August 2nd, 2024 at the Discovery Partners Institute, located at 200 S. Wacker Drive in Chicago.


Frequently Asked Questions

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Applications now open!

Digital Scholars Program Partners

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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.”

Alena2021 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.”

Doriyon2021 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.”

Reggie2020 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.”

Jakya2021 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 Pritzker Tech Talent Labs 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.