IDAHO FALLS — A group of local high school students spent this week participating in the first ever Melaleuca computer programming bootcamp.
The free course, sponsored by Melaleuca and taught by Brigham Young University-Idaho computer information technology professor Rex Barzee, was designed to teach students how to build and program their own mobile application.
“Melaleuca is always looking for opportunities to give back to our community,” Brett Carlson, Melaleuca director of strategy and talent acquisition, told EastIdahoNews.com. “Not only do these kids get to build new technology and learn from a professor, but they are able to do it in a business setting.”
Some 30 students from cities spanning east Idaho spent five days learning from Barzee. Several of Melaleuca’s information technology directors and team members were on hand to provide instruction and hands-on training.
Many of the teens had experience with computer programming, but for others the bootcamp was an introduction to mobile technology.
“I knew nothing, and I honestly never had an interest to do anything with computers,” said Rachel Balls, a Madison High School student. “Now I have that knowledge and am able to say I can do it.”
Students chose different themes for their apps. Balls focused on the Disney/Pixar movie “Cars.” Another student made a golf app. One teen’s app highlighted her love of dance.
“The week has gone by very fast, but it’s been very fun,” Barzee said. “This will prepare these students to go on to college and have careers in information technology.”
Melaleuca announced the bootcamp at the end of last school year and was inundated with applications. The company added an afternoon session to allow as many students as possible to attend.
Barzee said those in the classes have been passionate about their projects and many are sad the bootcamp is ending.
Melaleuca bootcamp organizers hope the students will continue their IT education, and the company plans to host additional technology bootcamps in the future.