Gunston Coders return to Dartmouth lab
CENTREVILLE — The Gunston School sent a group of computer science students to visit Dartmouth College’s DALI digital arts lab during the weekend of Jan.19-22.
The students took part in coding and prototyping activities provided by the lab, had an opportunity for a question-and-answer session and showed DALI staffers projects they have been developing at Gunston.
“It was great to see that the DALI lab staff have chosen to extend and broaden our working relationship,” said trip leader and computer science teacher Joe Thompson. “This year, in addition to the planned ‘hacktivity,’ we were invited to both a design resident workshop in the software Sketch for Dartmouth undergrads, and were given a tour of a digital music production facility with a DALI staffer.”
The trip was led by Thompson and Gunston college guidance counselor Kellee Webb.
“DALI is my kind of facility,” Webb said. “Their heavy emphasis on collaboration and creativity are excellent fits for our school’s methods and mission.”
“Once we were invited,” Thompson said, “we built a weekend around our visit, as we did last year.”
Arriving late Thursday evening, the students toured the campus Friday morning, lunched in the undergraduate Dartmouth commons, then headed to the DALI lab for a full afternoon of coding, including working with the lab’s new virtual reality gear.
“They are doing interesting VR work with NASA to help astronauts on longduration missions deal with stress,” Thompson said. “We were very lucky to get a look at that equipment and software, to see where VR is headed.”
This year’s students included seven sophomores and one senior. Katie Easter, Claire Johnson, Brynne Kneeland, Cora Duncan, Will Urquhart, Nick Basham and James Pratt all are members of Gunston’s class of 2019. Cliff Peng is a member of Gunston’s class of 2017.
“I have gotten used to the idea that our visits are not just welcomed, but useful to this lab,” Thompson said. “CS education at the high school level is rare, and we take their suggestions for tweaks to our program very seriously. They can see their suggestions in our students’ work.”
From left are Claire Johnson of Church Hill, Will Urquhart of Queenstown, Nick Basham of Trappe, Brynne Kneeland of Stevensville, Cliff Peng of Centreville, Cora Duncan of Centreville, Katie Easter of Grasonville and James Pratt of Chestertown.