Students crowded around a 3D printer, excitedly watching as the machine created small, plastic objects shaped like Pac-Man. In a nearby classroom, young people programmed robots to follow a track on the floor using laser sensors.
In all, more than 80 students ages 10 to 18 gathered at the Minneapolis Central Library this week to learn about emerging technology and computer science at Geek Squad Academy. The two-day program, taught by Geek Squad Agents, also included classes on digital music, filmmaking and digital responsibility.
Across the country this summer, Geek Squad Academy is holding 26 events for more than 2,500 teens. The program is conducted in partnership with local nonprofits, and since its inception in 2007, has reached more than 17,000 students in more than 80 cities.
“This is really fun, informative and educational,” said 11-year-old Alayzia Winters, who would someday like to become a Geek Squad Agent. “Words can’t describe it. It’s so fun.”
On his first visit to a Geek Squad Academy, Best Buy CEO and President Hubert Joly said the program demonstrates the company’s commitment to igniting human potential.
“To me, it’s so inspiring to see how, as a company, we care about not only serving the customers, growing our employees and serving our shareholders, but also contributing to the common good,” he said. “Teen Tech Centers and Geek Squad Academy are a good example of how, using our assets, our knowledge and our resources, we can contribute to these communities.”
Sarah Oskielunas, one of the Agents teaching at Wednesday’s event, attended Geek Squad Academy as a student in 2007.
“That’s what got me into Geek Squad,” she said. “I just fell in love with all of the Agents I met. I was like, ‘I want to be one of you guys. I want a badge.'”
Now she has one, and she’s using what it represents to inspire others.