ePathway Academy is underway, with students from different schools and grades all getting the opportunity to meet with some of the most successful leaders of entrepreneurial companies in the Central Valley and go behind the scenes to meet innovators, thought leaders, and entrepreneurs who are changing the future of the Valley.
The first week went from June 12 to 16 and focused on Information & Communications Technologies. The group visited companies like Bitwise, Aplos, and FocusVision. Each company provides software and apps to help solve a problem or streamline a tedious process.
One of the students present this week was Princess Cargara, who heard about ePathway Academy from her teacher at Clovis High. Princess, who is interested in the entrepreneurial side of software, said her favorite visit was Aplos.
"It's small but the environment there seemed so fun and friendly," said Princess, "They seemed like a big family."
Princess also said it was beneficial to get experience outside of the classroom environment and meet new people.
"Making connections was the most useful thing [about the program]," said Princess, "Making new friends and learning about the businesses and people who run them."
Another student who visited Information & Communications Technologies week was Rachel Bobo from Philip J. Patino School of Entrepreneurship. Rachel, who is working on building her own business at Patino, said she signed up because of her interest in the topic.
"I'm interested in tech and product development, so I looked into what it was about," Rachel said, "I saw a window for opportunity, or a good foundation for the businesses we started for school."
The second week went from June 19 to 23 and focused on Agriculture & Natural Resources. The group visited Mary's Free Range Chickens at Pitman Farms, Simonian Farms, Gerawan Farms, and Cal West Rain.
In order to be a part of ePathway Academy, students must be in good academic standing and recommended by a teacher.
Program manager Andrew Shinn, who has been with the program since it was conceived, said students will have a savvy ability to distinguish between companies in different industries, learn great life lessons and relish the ability to pass what they have learned onto others.
"As helpful as an entire class is in a semester, there is no substitute for seeing the real world challenges, pains and joys of a company," said Andrew. "When you see and hear the struggles and victories they have, in their own voice, it's a lot more than an intellectual experience. It's a moving, emotional experience as well."
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