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UCM, Summit Technology Academy Partner with International Business to Launch Kenya Collaboration

By Janice Phelan, September 17, 2019

Kenya and MIC Conference
Students from Lee’s Summit and Kenya participate in a video conference on Sept. 11.

The University of Central Missouri (UCM) and Summit Technology Academy are partnering with Digloso, a global technology company, to foster collaboration and innovation by working with students, community organizations, businesses and government agencies in Kenya and Missouri. Known as KenMo, the program is launching this fall. It will operate out of the UCM Gigabit Lab, located at the university’s Lee’s Summit campus.

The international effort kicked off on Sept. 11 with a video conference involving students in Summit Technology Academy’s international studies program and students from Makueni Innovation Campus, located in Kenya. Summit Technology Academy is operated by the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District and includes students from Lee’s Summit and other metro-area high schools. Summit Technology Academy and the University of Central Missouri’s Lee’s Summit campus are both located within the Missouri Innovation Campus.

The project has drawn interest from the Kenya government as well as several community organizations within Kenya and Missouri. John Musau, Digloso founder and CEO, has worked with students and staff at Summit Technology Academy and Makueni Innovation Campus to connect organizations from both countries. A native of Kenya, Musau built his company with a focus on providing emerging populations with technological infrastructure and modular application platforms. Digloso headquarters are located in Nairobi, Kenya.

“I'm inspired to see students learn by leveraging technology to foster global collaboration in resolving world challenges by implementing projects that provide real-world sustainable solutions,” Musau said. “This project wouldn’t be possible without the support of the Lee’s Summit School District through Summit Technology Academy in partnership with University of Central Missouri.”

During the Sept. 11 video conference, Summit Technology Academy and Makueni Innovation Campus students shared information about their classes at school and their day-to-day lives while also discussing the KenMo project. Musau participated in the conference from the Kenya site.

“International Studies and Summit Technology Academy have generous business partners in the Kansas City international community,” said Curt Cook, international studies teacher at the Lee’s Summit R-7 school. “After hearing about John Musau’s work, one of our partners immediately recognized a connection, and introduced us.”

Joe Mullins of UCM is working with Musau, Cook and the international studies students to provide support and resources from the university.

“John and Curt initially brought this opportunity to UCM,” he said, “and we enthusiastically joined the partnership. We are excited about engaging with the students with regard to hands-on experiences with technology such as Internet of Things, virtual reality and telehealth and entrepreneurship.”
      
This year, students from both countries plan to pilot competitions, workshops and events designed to allow students, educators, companies, entrepreneurs and sponsors to problem-solve in a collaborative environment. Students from Summit Technology Academy are also working on a logo and additional branding for the KenMo effort.

To enhance its impact on the challenges identified by the collaborating students, the KenMo Project is actively seeking sponsors to help fund solutions. Individuals and organizations interested in learning more about how to help sponsor the KenMo Project may contact Curt Cook at curtis.cook@lsr7.net or Joe Mullins at jmullins@ucmo.edu.

Digloso is partnering with the Lee’s Summit students through its Global Classroom Exchange Initiative. This international effort develops private and public partnerships that leverage technology to enhance students’ academic standards by encouraging global innovation through peer and professional collaboration. The focus is on the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) areas. In addition, Digloso’s initiative is designed to implement project-based learning principles by applying a series of goal-oriented academic modules that help students develop and implement actual, sustainable projects that resolve real-world issues such as poverty, disease, preservation and protection of natural resources and environments.

The Lee’s Summit R-7 International Studies program is designed for students who are passionate about world cultures, languages and diversity. Through service projects and internships, the students meet and work with refugees and recent immigrants, applying content knowledge to actual, meaningful situations.

The University of Central Missouri operates campuses in Lee’s Summit and Warrensburg, offering undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as certificate programs, professional education courses and customized corporate curriculum. Summit Technology Academy provides advanced college/career preparation for the future high-wage, high-demand professional workforce. UCM and Summit Technology Academy have shared space and resources in the award-winning Missouri Innovation Campus facility since its opening in fall 2017. UCM, Lee’s Summit R-7 and Metropolitan Community College also partner with industry leaders to offer the Missouri Innovation Campus program. The nationally recognized program provides students with an accelerated path to a college degree and reduces student debt while providing employers with a trained workforce.

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