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Western Center Academy student completes summer program at MIT


Last updated 9/14/2018 at 2:56am


Western Center Academy junior Aaliyah Webster attends a four-week technology and engineering program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Beaver Works Summer Institute, July 9 through Aug. 5.

HEMET – Aaliyah Webster, a junior at Western Center Academy, completed a four-week program at the 2018 Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Beaver Works Summer Institute. Webster was among 198 students from high schools throughout the nation to participate in the program.

BWSI was an opportunity for high school seniors to complete hands-on projects, partake in online courses and attend lectures by leading scientific researchers. Webster was at MIT July 9 to Aug. 5, where she was able to live in the dorms, eat in the dining hall and experience the typical college life firsthand. The program is hosted by the MIT Lincoln Laboratory Beaver Works Center, a research center in Cambridge jointly chartered by MIT Lincoln Laboratory, the MIT School of Engineering and the MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Students were placed into one of eight courses that involved project-based learning in an intensive team environment. Webster was placed in the race car course which allowed her to program miniature self-driving cars, integrating sensors and collision avoidance logic to allow the cars to navigate complex racetracks. She was able to work with other students as they tested their software to recognize signs, follow a path and avoid obstacles. 

"This year, we had a fantastic group of students: talented, full of questions, very intelligent and all with a passion for learning," Joel Grimm, the manager of Beaver Works, said. "I love to see the new ideas and solutions they use to complete their summer program on the final day. It was an exciting day of races and technology demonstrations. These students received a transformational experience that they will be sure to remember for many years to come."

Webster said the summer program opened her eyes to many things. While she is still leaning toward attending University of California Berkeley, she said this experience has peaked her interest in attending MIT. She also said the program has solidified her desire to pursue a degree in computer science to become a software engineer.

Submitted by Hemet Unified School District.


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