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Expanding Horizons for FL High School Students

PHOTO: 2019 Gator Computing Program Students in front of HiPerGator

The 2019 Gator Computing Program (GCP) brought 22 high school students from five Florida counties to Gainesville for two weeks of learning and life-changing experiences. Why life-changing? Several participants said they didn’t realize how computer science was integral to so many fields:

“I loved the pathogen lecture and learning how things evolve over time, like the genome of a pathogen such as Zika. Every few days the genome mutates and I learned this is why it is so hard to contain outbreaks,” said Wade Ferris, an 11th grader from Robinson Senior High School in Tampa. “I’ve always wanted to go into medicine and now maybe medical research as well.”

This year’s GCP consisted of 11 lectures given by UF faculty preeminent in their fields. There were also seven programming classes along with eight site visits to UF research labs and the UF Data Center, home of HiPerGator (pictured). On the last day of the program students presented projects sparked by the ideas shared with them by the professors, scientists, and IT professionals they met during GCP. A video of the students’ presentations is online. Learn more about the Gator Computing Program at