WE ARE
HIGHTECHU
WE ARE |

– About Us –

This is about more than just coding; it's about empowering youth with the diverse skills they need to succeed and thrive in the growing technology industry.

HighTechU is a non-profit initiative based in the UVic Faculty of Engineering, developed by the Department of Computer Science in collaboration with members of the Greater Victoria technology and education sectors, which seeks to build our community through technology-focused experiential learning opportunities for Vancouver Island youth in grades 9-12.

Our Mission is to empower the next generation of innovators on Vancouver Island, through real-world, technology-focused experiential learning opportunities for high school students.

Our Vision is to improve the public perception of computer science and software engineering, and reduce diversity gaps in the fields.

diversity is a cornerstone of HighTechU. Through our programs we aim to create a safe and welcoming environment where all persons, regardless of race, gender identity, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status, can discover and explore the world of technology and their role in leading future innovation. We are particularly focused on helping provide an opportunity for under-represented groups, such as women, indigenous youth and members of visible minorities, to gain exposure to the high tech industry and post-secondary education.

At the heart of HighTechU are 6 core values that guide the program:

Respect
Honour diversity; Act with integrity

Resilience
Find success in failure; Persevere and overcome

Curiosity
Explore your passions; Expand your perspective

Creativity
Think differently. Dare to be original

Teamwork
Work collaboratively towards a common goal

Innovation
Embrace and Drive Change

HighTechU is truly a community-led non-profit initiative, and would not be possible without the amazing contributions of our Educational and Industry partners and supporters. Through their on-going support we are able to offer a program that can pivot quickly in the ever changing world of technology, delivering relevant and meaningful opportunities for island youth that helps address the growing demand for talent in BC and beyond.

Education Supporters

Technology Supporters

Community Supporters

Interested in becoming a partner? Whether you have ideas, resources or are interested in taking on an Intern, we would like to speak with you! Find out how you can get involved here or contact us!

Advisor Mentor Staff
Alex
ALEKSEY VORONA
RESEARCH ENGINEER | XMATTERS
Alex
ALEX S.
STUDENT | SD61
Andrew Maclean
ANDREW MACLEAN
CO-FOUNDER | HIGHTECHU
Ana Hobden
ANA HOBDEN
TiKV Engineer | PingCAP
Bridget
BRIDGET W.
UNDERGRAD | UVIC
Brock Simmonds
BROCK SIMMONDS
INFORMATION TECH TEACHER LEADER | SD63
Bonnie Alexander
BONNIE ALEXANDER
CAREER COORDINATOR | SD61
Danny Briggs
DANNY BRIGGS
IT SYSTEMS ADMINSTRATOR | STOCKSY UNITED
Dawn Anderson
DAWN ANDERSON
TECHNOLOGY CURRICULUM COORDINATOR | SD62
Valerie Irvine
DMITRY ANOSHIN
DATA ENGINEER | ABEBOOKS
Dominique Charlebois
DOMINIQUE CHARLEBOIS
UNDERGRADUATE | UVIC
Ivan Martell
IVAN MARTELL
GRAD STUDENT | UVIC
Jerome Etwaroo
JEROME ETWAROO
ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR | CCSI
Jeff Hopkins
JEFF HOPKINS
PRINCIPAL | PSII
Jon Hamlin
JON HAMLIN
DISTRICT VICE PRINCIPAL | SD61
Jody Kitts
JODY KITTS
DIRECTOR OF ADVANCEMENT | CAMOSUN
Jaimin Modi
JAIMIN MODI
GRAD STUDENT | UVIC
Jacqueline Weston
JACQUELINE WESTON
PROJECT MANAGER | CAPITAL REGIONAL DISTRICT
Kiara
KIARA H.
STUDENT | SD63
Lindsay Johnson
LINDSAY JOHNSON
DISTRICT VICE PRINCIPAL | SD61
Magda Rajkowski
MAGDA RAJKOWSKI
PEOPLE OPERATIONS MANAGER | KANO APPS
Valerie Irvine
MARIA MAKARENKO
UX/UI DESIGNER | FREELANCE
Meeta Khurana
MEETA KHURANA
MANAGER OF ENGINEERING CO-OP | UVIC
placehold
ROB BENNETT
CHIEF OPERATIONS OFFICER | VIATEC
Stu Rhodes
STU RHODES
CAREER COUNSELLOR | SD63
Susana Guardado
SUSANA GUARDADO
FOUNDER | BRIGHT LIGHT IDEAS CREATIVE
Tanya Larkin
TANYA LARKIN
CAREERS COORDINATOR | SD62
Tom Tiedje
TOM TIEDJE
PROFESSOR OF ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING | UVIC
Ulrike Stege
ULRIKE STEGE
CO-FOUNDER | HIGHTECHU
Valerie Irvine
VALERIE IRVINE
PROFESSOR OF EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY | UVIC
SHOW MORE

– Our Programs –

Build the skills you need to lead the next generation of innovation.

The goal of HighTechU is to provide local youth, in grades 9-12, with opportunities to develop their technical abilities, build tech-focused workplace skills, and gain real-life experience with leading technology companies on Vancouver Island. To help us accomplish this goal, there are three main programs within HighTechU: the Community, the Skills Academy and our Summer Internships. Learn more about each of the HighTechU programs by clicking on the relevant buttons below:



At HighTechU we are building a Community for Vancouver Island teens!

The Community is the entry point for anyone looking to become a member of HighTechU. As a member of the HighTechU Community, you are granted access to loads of FREE online and community resources to help you build your skills as a developer and future innovator. A HighTechU Community membership is also the stepping stone to the Academy Application process and summer internship opportunities.

So whether you are ready to join our next Academy cohort, or are simply interested in learning more about technology, you are sure to find value in being a part of the Community, a new addition to the HighTechU Program for 2018-2019. Download your Membership Application today!

High-school youth coding
Don't worry whether you have programming experience or not, you will learn at HighTechU. Don't let a lack of experience deter you from applying for this awesome program!
Skills Academy Graduate

The HighTechU Skills Academy is about more than just coding.

Once you have become a member of HighTechU, you will be able to access many great meetup events and resources including the application to our seven-week intensive weekend program called the Academy. During this hands-on, project-based program, youth will get the chance to learn using the same tools being used RIGHT NOW in the tech industry, gaining exposure to real-world of software development, and building the practical skills needed to succeed and thrive in the ever changing technology sector. Developed in collaboration with education and industry partners, the academy lets you test-drive a career as a Software Developer, working on an interdisciplinary team to build, test and deploy a custom web application.

The Academy provides an opportunity for students to gain hands-on experience with many popular software development tools including:

Github
Visual Studio Code
Balsamiq

In addition to helping build technical skills, the Academy curriculum also incorporates training in many important soft-skill areas, such as: communication, teamwork, collaboration, problem-solving, project management, conflict resolution, leadership and much more!

The 2018-2019 Academy sessions will run on the following Saturdays from 10AM-4PM:

Cohort 1: February 2, 9, 23; March 2, 9, 16, 23
Cohort 2: April 6, 13, 27; May 4, 11, 25; June 1
Cohort 3: July 6, 13, 20, 27; August 3, 10, 17

HighTechU team
The academy taught me how to navigate group work and problem solve as part of a team. It taught me better communication and offered insight into what working for a tech company as part of a dev team would be like.
Skills Academy Graduate

Experience life in High-Tech before you even graduate high school!

For graduates of the Skills Academy, internship opportunities give participants the chance to futher develop their skills by experiencing what it is like to work in software development. Working with our amazing industry partners, HighTechU provides successful graduates the opportunity to interview with local technology companies for customized internships that help support intern development and add value to the companies they are working within. Supported by Company Mentors and a HighTechU Job Coach, internships are the chance to put your skills to the test and get early insight to the career possibilities that exist - all while gaining credit for Work Experience 12A and 12B (if applicable).

Past Summer Interns have been hosted by the following companies:

In general, internships require a commitment to full-time hours (35-40 hours per week), though specific employment terms and contracts are managed through individual employers, with ongoing support for both interns and hosts provided by the HighTechU team. While we encourage all Academy graduates to apply for an Internship, please note that there are limited spaces and positions (based on industry partner requirements) and as such not all graduates will be able to pursue a potential position.

Upon completion of their internship, successful students will be eligible for a post-secondary award which can be applied to their first-year tuition should they choose to attend the University of Victoria.

Summer internships are available exclusively to Skills Academy Graduates!

High-school youth working technology internship
Don't be afraid if you think technology is not for you, because if you've displayed an interest, it probably is!
HighTechU Alum

– Get Involved –

HighTechU would not be possible without the amazing support, guidance and encouragement from our partners, sponsors and mentors.

Become a part of our Community by supporting HighTechU through your philanthropy or sponsorship.

With your support we will be able to continue our mission to empower youth in our community, improve the public perception of computer science and software engineering, and reduce diversity gaps in the fields.

For more information on how you can become a HighTechU Supporter, please contact our
Community Engagement Team.

Access top young talent early while supported by the HighTechU team

We recruit, screen and train highly-motivated and talented youth from around Vancouver Island who could be a great fit for your company. Our team works diligently to connect you with the best up-and-coming talent the Island has to offer, providing full-time support to interns and companies during the course of the internship.

Past Summer Internship hosts include:

For more information on how you can become a HighTechU Internship Host, please contact our
Internship Coordination Team.

Give back and gain experience working with talented and passionate teens

Whether it is guest-speaking at one of our community events, hosting local teens during a tech-crawl, or leading a team in our Skills Academy, Industry Mentors are an integral part of the HighTechU Team. Becoming a mentor is a great (and flexible) way for any developer to build their leadership skills in a fun and engaging environment, all while giving back and empowering the next generation of talent in our community.

For more information on how you can become a HighTechU Mentor, please contact our
Mentor Support Team.


– Contact Us –

Do you have a burning question, but aren't sure if it's worth emailing about? Check out the Frequently Asked Questions below as a great starting point!

Am I eligible to apply for HighTechU?

To participate in the 2018-2019 HighTechU programs, you must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Be a currently registered student at any high-school in the Capital Regional District. We strongly encourage members of under-represented groups including young women, indigenous youth and members of visible minorities, to apply
  • Have a genuine interest in technology, and able to demonstrate your commitment to the HighTechU Core Values
  • * Be at least 15 years old and have a legal right to work in the British Columbia for the duration of the internship
    (*only required for the Internship program )
How do I apply for the Academy?

Applications for HighTechU Academy are currently closed but Membership Applications accepted on an on-going basis. Click here to download your Membership Application today!

What does it mean to be a HighTechU Community Member?

Membership is a new addition for 2018-2019 aimed at allowing more youth to become empowered by technology through our programs. While we recognize many students are interested solely in the Academy and Internship programs, membership has been introduced to provide any interested youth (regardless of prior knowledge) the opportunity to learn and grow, through on-going access to our curated online resource list and monthly meetups to help them develop digital skills.

Interested in becoming a member? Download your Membership Application today!

What does it cost to participate in HighTechU?

A one-time Pay-What-You-Can membership fee of $10 will be requested with all applications, covering HighTechU membership until the end of 2020. In addition to gaining access to all HighTechU programs, this membership will also include some sweet HighTechU SWAG.

In addition to the one-time membership fee, successful applicants to the Academy will be required to pay a $90 administrative fee to demonstrate commitment and help offset the costs of running the Academy program. This fee will also help cover costs for your T-Shirt, Supplies and Certificate of Completion.

Should there be financial hardship that may limit a successful applicant’s ability to pay the fee, please reach out to us directly by e-mail.

How old do I need to be to participate in HighTechU?

Students must be currently enrolled in Grade 9, 10, 11 or 12 in a public or private educational institution in the Capital Regional District (CRD) in order to apply. If you are currently a home-school student living in the CRD, please contact us before submitting your application.

I already know how to program. Should I apply?

While coding experience will certainly be helpful for programs like the Academy and Internship, HighTechU is for anyone looking to bring their tech knowledge and skills to the next level.

For those new to the world of code, HighTechU programs serve as a challenging jumping-off point - an opportunity to build your skills working alongside other like minded teens in a supportive and engaging environment.

For experienced developers, the HighTechU is a chance to take a deeper dive into software development, enhancing your technical skill-set while applying your knowledge in a more realistic team environment.

I don't live in the Capital Regional District. Can I still apply?

At this time applications are limited to students currently residing in the Capital Regional District.

What are the Membership Expectations?

All Participants in the HighTechU program are expected to abide by the following Standards and Expectations:

  • Uphold and demonstrate the HighTechU Core Values.
  • Actively support program staff in creating a positive, safe, and inclusive environment. Treat program staff and fellow participants with respect and cooperate with them at all times.
  • If you have a problem or concern, please seek help from a HighTechU staff member. We want you to feel safe and comfortable in all HighTechU programs.
  • HighTechU will not tolerate verbal, physical or virtual harassment of any kind, and consumption of illegal drugs and alcohol is strictly prohibited during program time.

The HighTechU team has established this set of standards which outline expectations for participants taking part in the program. HighTechU administration reserves the right to dismiss any participant who, in their opinion, is a hazard to the safety and/or rights of others, or who appears to have rejected the reasonable guidelines and expectations for all participants. In addition to the HighTechU Participant Standards and Expectations, participants in the Internship program must also follow appropriate internal policies and procedures of their employer.

Are there any forms I need to sign?

Prior to the official acceptance into the HighTechU program, applicants will be required to complete a consent waiver and indemnity form. This form will be provided to successful applicants, and will need to be submitted prior to admission to the programs.

Running into issues with the form? Reach out to us directly by e-mail or message us on Facebook!