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PIE volunteers mentor high-school students 'Lift Off' at SLU
By Jessica Daues, NGA Office of Corporate Communications

Volunteers with NGA Partners in Education worked with local high school students at the Lift Off summer experience by the Notes for Life Arts and Technology organization at Saint Louis University July 12-21. The PIE program worked with students to create projects that will benefit their community. These included ideas to help St. Louis citizens increase their use of technology to connect residents through urbanization, transportation and more.


NGA PIE volunteer Rich Crothers (right) talks with a Lift Off team of students developing a communications system between cars that fosters safer, more efficient driving July 19. Photo by Jessica Daues, Office of Corporate Communications.

Lift Off was a 10-day residential experience at SLU that focused on the Smart Cities Initiative.  

This past October, the City of St. Louis announced it was joining the federal Smart Cities Initiative. This effort encourages cities across the country to use technology to modernize the way cities tackle everyday problems and improve the quality of life for all of its residents.
During Lift Off, St. Louis students worked in groups tackling problems from lack of public wifi to the challenge of communicating during a large-scale crisis or emergency.
NGA volunteers acted as coaches, offering the students advice and asking questions as they worked together on their projects.
“I'm impressed by the kids' thought processes and how much they know technology,” said Rich Crothers, PIE volunteer and foreign language and cultural manager at NCW. "They are very innovative. I can see a need for the projects they are working on.”
Tiffany Notch, Chief Operating Officer of Notes for Life Arts and Technology, said the students found the NGA volunteers to be very helpful and insightful while developing their projects. Talking with the NGA volunteers also helped the students better understand all the varied jobs NGA has to offer.
“They were very interested in all the different kinds of career options at NGA,” she said.