Posted: August 18, 2014
by Doug Alden, Union Leader
Ten Manchester-area high school students are getting a head start on college and beyond in a new program designed to take high-tech learning outside the classroom.
The Computer Science Career Exploration is a collaboration between the Millyard-based internet company Dyn and Manchester Community College.
"Many companies are looking for people that come with a background of experience who can start working immediately without requiring major training," said Ali Rafieymehr, the veteran tech entrepreneur and former dean of the University of New Hampshire-Manchester who was hired to oversee education at Dyn this spring.
The two-year program is an intensive introduction to the real world of computer science, starting with highlevel coursework and finishing with a semester studying entrepreneurship. Participants gain the experience of an internship before leaving high school, Rafieymehr said.
"The teachers are going to be industry leaders," he said. New Hampshire-based venture capitalist Tom "TK" Kuegler, co-founder and general partner of Wasabi Ventures, worked with Rafieymehr as he planned the project and signed on to oversee entrepreneurial studies.
"The earlier we can get entrepreneurial experience or learning into the hands of people, the better," Kuegler said.
The 10 students were picked by Rafieymehr after an application and interviewing process. The program begins Sept. 2.
"By them getting connected working on projects for companies, they might decide to stay locally in New Hampshire rather than leaving the state," he said.