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The new $2.7 million computer science facility at Shady Side Academy will be led by Jesse Robinson, current director of information technology at a school in Westport, Ct.
Robinson will join the senior school in August as the head of the Glimcher Tech and Design Hub, with his mission to enhance the curriculum through robotics, fabrication and engineering.
The Glimcher Tech and Design Hub is an 8,500-square-foot space currently under construction and scheduled to open in late summer.
“SSA is investing in the development of creative problem-solvers, tinkerers and innovators,” Robinson said, adding that he looks forward to contribute with students to Pittsburgh’s rich history of engineering, building and making.
Robinson said his wife is originally from the area and that his family is thrilled to be moving to the ‘Burgh.
Senior School Head Sophie Lau said Robinson’s experience in establishing maker spaces, designing computer science and technology curriculum and engaging in the national dialogue of design will make him an ideal person for the position.
Robinson comes to SSA from Greens Farms Academy, an independent school in Westport, where he has served as a computer science teacher since 2013. He designed Greens Farms’ technology curriculum, assisted in developing the STEAM program, established makerspaces and implemented a 1:1 Apple laptop program.
He also helped spearhead The Great Duck Project, an initiative to create the world’s largest crowdsourced 3D-printed duck, which stands six-feet tall and consists of 476 pieces sent in from around the world.
Robinson has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Idaho, a master’s degree in instructional technology from Duquesne University and is wrapping up his doctoral degree in instructional technology at Duquesne.
School officials hope the new science hub, which sits on the lower levels of Rowe and Memorial Halls, will encourage students to reach further into the future of artificial intelligence, automation and technology.
It will house the computer science department, Science Olympiad Team and Robotics Team.
A Fabrication and Robotics Wing will see learning and creation spaces, including a robotics arena, workshop and wet lab, which will be fully equipped with 3D printers, a laser cutter, CNC router and mill, table saw, drill press and more.
There will be two computer labs, a collaboration lounge and faculty offices, all to accommodate the school’s growing computer science program.
Students will be offered courses in robotics, mobile apps, game design, 3D modeling and artificial intelligence, among others.
They will access the facility through a new exterior entrance to Rowe Hall, across from the McIlroy Center for Science and Innovation.