New computer hardware and software support STEM education at the Donald W. Reynolds Boys and Girls Club

Kids spending Friday morning at the Donald W. Reynolds Boys and Girls Club in Fayetteville tested new and improved hardware and software in the club’s community computer lab, thanks to a donation of equipment,
supplies and technical assistance from the proceeds of this year’s NWA TechFest.

An annual technology conference held in Fayetteville “for geeks, by geeks,” this year’s NWA TechFest was held on May 18 with more than 260 participants. The event brings the region’s tech community together to learn from and interact with each other. The conference focuses on the promotion of gender diversity in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields, development of economic opportunities for corporations, and assistance to education programs for students and teachers. Proceeds from the conference are earmarked to assist STEM-related initiatives in northwest Arkansas.

For 2017, the organizers of the NWA TechFest committed to upgrading the Donald W. Reynolds Boys and Girls Club computer lab, and to support the organization’s teen outreach program. A grant from the Arkansas Users of Telecommunications and Information Systems (AUTIS) funded the purchase of new desktop computers, keyboards and mice that allowed the club to replace old equipment and encourages children to work together on one computer. NWA TechFest participants will also clean and restore older machines to enhance their usefulness, and install anti-virus software to protect and support the children who use the machines. Additional funds will be dedicated toward obtaining educational software.

“We’ve always known that the [Donald W. Reynolds Boys & Girl] club is a great resource for sporting activities,” explained Sarah Daigle, advisory board member for NWA TechFest, “and we wanted to amplify the access and awareness of the learning opportunities, too.”

At the club, trained staff provide homework assistance and mentoring to an average of 260 children during the summer, and 530 in after-school programs. The refreshed lab will provide access to technology for more than 4,700 club members (age 18 and under) to facilitate their educational growth.

Sponsors of this year’s NWA TechFest include J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc.; RevUnit; Blue Zoo; Winters Law Firm; Startup Junkie Consulting; First Orion; Digital Ocean; Qbox; University of Arkansas Global Campus; ABC Financial; Mozilla; Atlas Retail Technology Solutions; Propak; Legacy National Bank; and Zenwork.

NWA TechFest is a technology conference that brings together the tech community to learn from and interact with one another, as well as to promote gender diversity in STEM, and to develop economic opportunities for corporations and education programs for students and teachers.

The Donald W. Reynolds Boys and Girls Club has been part of the Fayetteville community since 1941. The organization serves an average of 530 children after school daily and 260 children daily during the summer.

The Arkansas Users of Telecommunications and Information Systems (AUTIS) promotes the advancement of professional and technical knowledge in telecommunications and information systems management technologies.