Utah Lt. Governor Spencer Cox speaks at a technology fair at Mont Harmon Middle School in Price which BrainStorm, Inc., sponsored after he challenged company officials to provide technology education to rural school districts.

 

Tech company reaches out

to rural schools following

Lt. Gov. Cox’s challenge

 

By Linda Petersen

Staff writer

Feb. 1, 2018

 

AMERICAN FORK—BrainStorm, Inc., an American Fork company that specializes in technology adoption and education, has taken a challenge issued by Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox to reach out to rural schools.

In August, Cox toured the BrainStorm headquarters. Afterward, company executives asked him what they could do to help enhance technology education in Utah.

“He didn’t even hesitate,” said John Wade, a principal officer at BrainStorm. “He told us to reach out to a rural school or school district and ask the same question.”

BrainStorm took Cox up on the suggestion, and on Jan. 9 held an all-day SPARK Technology Fair at Mont Harmon Middle School in Price.

At the event, students received hands-on training from BrainStorm employees in virtual reality, graphic design, video production, video editing and hypertext markup language (HTML) coding.

“The purpose of the event was to create excitement and curiosity around technology. If we can get students in middle school interested in these topics, they can turn their interest into skills throughout high school and beyond,” Ciera Walker, a member of BrainStorm’s Corporate Giving Committee, said.

“We’ve put a great deal of emphasis on creating new jobs and economic growth in rural Utah. The partnership between BrainStorm and Carbon School District is the right place to start to ensure we meet those objectives,” Cox said at a press conference to mark the event.

Cox said his challenge was motivated by a concern that the gap between rural and urban areas is growing, particularly in regard to educational opportunities.

“We now have this flourishing Silicon Slopes technology sector,” Cox told the Sanpete Messenger, referring to the many technology firms along the Wasatch Front. “I see an opportunity to connect with rural Utah, to give our kids the same opportunities as kids along the Wasatch Front, to introduce them to great things.”

“We certainly know there are areas of the state that struggle more than others. With the loss of jobs in the energy sector, particularly coal jobs, Carbon County is one area that needs all the attention we can possibly give it,” Cox said of BrainStorm’s decision to partner with Carbon County School District.

BrainStorm officials say they are planning a long-term relationship with the schools there.

“We want the schools in Price to know that we’re committed to our partnership. We’re using the feedback from the technology fair to inform what we do next in Price—specifically, what topics were students interested in. Using that information, we’re currently planning more in-depth training opportunities and programs, and we’re looking forward to working with the schools on those,” Walker said.

Walker said while BrainStorm is focused on fulfilling its promises to Carbon County School District, they’re exploring the possibility of “teaming up with other Utah companies to amplify and spread efforts.”

It’s a prospect that is very exciting to Cox.

“We’re very supportive and very hopeful that this challenge will be answered by other tech companies and that Sanpete will be a part of that,” he said.

Cox believes the school districts in Sanpete County would be a great match for such a partnership.

Cox said when he worked for CentraCom, he was one of several employees who spent time teaching about technology at five schools and observed firsthand the positive impact it had.