As a culmination of the 3rd year of IBM and Woodrow Wilson Middle School's joint mentoring program called IBM NJ MentorPlace, the students had the opportunity to visit the state-of-the-art IBM Watson Experience Center at Astor Place in New York City. The students were able to see demonstrations of AI and different ways that IBM Watson technology is making a difference in critical ways including healthcare and cancer treatments, as well as disaster recovery. The students then participated in a design-thinking workshop and learned how agile processes work for collaboration, iteration, and productive results. The concepts were presented in a relatable way as they prepare for new challenges and are looking for optimizing school/activities balance in high school. The day wrapped up with a career panel, as the students heard from four different professionals, what they studied in school, what their job roles are now, how they got hired by IBM, and what advice they'd give to their 8th grade self if they could go back in time.
The program is a junior/middle school version of IBM's award-winning PTECH Program, which provides inspiration and mentoring to students as they look forward to high school and beyond. Education with opportunity and accessibility is one of the core priorities of IBM Corporate's goals for their team focused on Citizenship, Sustainability & Responsibility.