High Touch, a Wichita technology company, has awarded Zane Storlie, a Wichita State University junior majoring in computer science, the $10,000-a-year Pat Riddle Memorial Scholarship.
“The scholarship is a great opportunity to showcase Wichita's next generation of young leaders in technology-related careers,” states High Touch CEO Wayne Chambers. “Zane continues our tradition of honoring young people who we think will make a valuable impact in the technology community.” The scholarship was established to honor PatRiddle, a former High Touch employee who died of cancer in 2015.
Storlie is a first-generation college student who has distinguished himself a number of ways on campus. A graduate of the Upward Bound Math and Science TRIO program, he is now a TRIO McNair Scholar, a program that provides undergraduate research experiences to first-generation students who demonstrate potential to pursue doctoral studies. This summer he participated in a study abroad program, the Global Entrepreneurship Experience France.
Storlie said hisbest college experience to date has come through his job working for the College of Engineering K12 Outreach Program, where he serves as the Scratch Curriculum Coordinator.
As a freshman, Storlie designed a three-unit curriculum to teach Scratch coding to elementary-school age students. He then taught a team of engineering and computer science students how to teach the curriculum. Last year Storlie's team taught 300 elementary school students, some as young as kindergarten, in 12 Wichita schools how to code using Scratch. This year, Storlie plans to teach Wichita Public School teachers how to implement the Scratch curriculum at an October in-service.
“Opening the minds of these students has been one of the most gratifying experiences I have had since coming to college,” Storlie wrote in his High Touch scholarship essay. “This was one of the factors that made me consider going on to graduate school and possibly even pursuing a doctorate.”
Storlie was recognized at a ceremony held Sept. 12 at the High Touch headquarters with his parents and numerous WSU representatives in attendance. Polly Basore Wenzl, who supervises Storlie and the K12 Outreach Team, told the audience that teaching those 300 elementary students to code would not have been possible without Storlie's leadership.
“Zane has many great qualities, but two that stand out are his intelligence and his resiliency,” said Basore Wenzl “He has overcome economic and health hardships to get this far.”