Emily Rodriguez, an eighth grader at IN-Tech Academy, MS/HS 368, watched as Tanbir Ahmed, a freshman, fumbled with the guts of a computer sprawled across a table on Nov. 8.
“What is this?” she asked.
Emily started blowing out air while whirling her wrists around each other as a clue.
“Heat sink,” Tanbir said.
“Good job, dude,” Emily said of the fan-like tool used to keep the computer’s central processing unit cool.
Tanbir spent his first day in IN-Tech’s MOUSE Squad, a group of more than a dozen students who practice tech techniques after school and fix electrical equipment for staff, getting quizzed on the computer’s inner workings by Emily, who was in the squad last year. He and five others dissembled computers piece by piece, identifying the parts they’d be tasked with reassembling next.
When IN-Tech Academy first joined MOUSE, a youth development organization that provides funding to underserved schools to help turn students into digital media and technology experts, the squad focused on traditional Internet Technology such as software work and data storage. Since 2002, co-advisors William Tsang and Jim Meenan have gradually added more hardware and programming skills.
A few IN-Tech students have been selected to join MOUSE Corps, a citywide group of advanced MOUSE Squad members who are tasked with developing devices, software and applications that benefit others. Last year the corps was divided into teams asked to create technology that aids the blind community. This year CORPS projects will focus on improving the environment.
Miguel Perez and Hiram Gonzalez, both juniors, were on “team fashionista,” which created an application that used photos of clothing to organize attire in a closet and digitally suggest outfits.
“It’s supposed to randomly choose clothes for you and act like a GPS for your closet,” said Miguel.
Windston La, a junior, worked on a watch-like device outfitted with heat sensors to help wheelchair-bound people find food.