ST LOUIS- At the tender age of nine, Elijah Anderson has some lofty goals.
"I'd like to be the president," Elijah says casually. "That's kind of my goal."
With a quick wit, easy charm, a love of math, and honed skills for deconstructing difficult equations, somehow, Elijah Anderson does give off a sort of executive vibe. Even at just nine years old.
Do others find him to be, pardon the expression, presidential?
"A couple of times, yes," Elijah smiles. "People do say that."
Young learners are encouraged to think big at the Youth Learning Center's Summer Discovery Academy.
"Our big thing is access," says Bill Kent, president and CEO of the Youth Learning Center. "So we have kids here from Ladue, we have kids from the city, just taking part in a fantastic educational opportunity."
The two week sessions given students hands on access to industry level computer programming software. Students between the third and ninth grades can also get instruction in engineering, robotics, and aeronautics.
"These kids are using a platform called Unity," Kent explains. "And they're learning Java programming, industry level work. They're learning 3-D video game design and these are skills that transfer."
Elijah came into the program with a love for anything to do with robots. Now that's he's building them, his eyes widen when he describes the feeling of actually building droids that can move.
"It's really shocking and amazing," Elijah beams. "I'm learning every day how to program, how to make a robot and things like that."
In another classroom, 11-year-old Randle Smith is using the Unity program to create 3-D landscapes complete with trees, mountains, and volcanoes.
"I want to make video games when I get older," Smith says.
So you want to be a video game designer?
"Well, a bunch of stuff, actually. A video game designer, a physician's assistant, a mathematician, a computer programmer, and a professional soccer player."
The two week sessions for the Summer Discovery Academy cost $320.
You can find more information at this link.