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NewBoCo STEM programs head to Johnson County

This summer, The New Bohemian Innovation Collaborative (NewBoCo), Wright House of Fashion, and Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County (NCJC), are joining forces to enhance STEM education access for school-aged children and adults. This collaboration aims to spark creativity, inspire innovation, and create new opportunities for local families.STEM education is increasingly vital, yet many children, especially those from underrepresented backgrounds, encounter barriers to entry. Wright House of Fashion, NCJC, and NewBoCo are addressing this issue head-on. By bringing NewBoCo’s Cedar Rapids-based programs, including CoderDojo and DeltaV Introduction to Code, into the Iowa City community, these initiatives seek to educate and inspire a passion for technology and innovation.

RaQuishia Harrington, Director at Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County, emphasized the significance of this collaboration: “I think the collaboration is important as it provides an opportunity for youth to engage in STEM activities that are fun and rewarding. Every opportunity is appreciated and the outcomes are limitless for all youth who participate. The freedom to create and explore new things is what makes programs such as these worthwhile.”

Event Highlights


CoderDojo Sessions: CoderDojo is a free STEM event for K-5th grade students. Through self-guided learning, students explore various STEM-themed activities like LEGO Robotics, Microscopes, BeeBots, and Scratch Programming. The sessions are only open to NCJC Summer program students, with transportation provided by NCJC staff hosted at Wright House of Fashion on July 18, July 25, August 1, and August 8 from 1-3 pm. 


Introduction to Code Workshop: On August 2, from 9 am to 3 pm, a free, registration-required, one-day intensive workshop will be offered for beginners. This Introduction to Code workshop, sponsored by Leepfrog, provides an immersive experience in front-end web development.

 Participants will:

  • Grasp the fundamentals of being a software developer.
  • Understand how HTML and CSS create the modern web.
  • Build and deploy a complete website.
  • Gain the confidence to share their creations with friends and family.

Fashion Meets Tech: Additional Workshops

The partnership with Wright House of Fashion includes unique classes that blend creativity with technology:

  • Fashion Technology: Integrating tech innovations with fashion design.
  • Intro to Sewing: Teaching the basics of sewing with a modern twist.
  • Screen Printing Workshop: Combining artistic design with practical printing skills.
  • UN School of Design: Empowering students with cutting-edge design skills.
  • Future Minds: Empowering Youth through AI Education: Introducing youth to artificial intelligence.
  • Magical Indigo Dye: Exploring the art and science of natural dyeing techniques.

Empowering the Next Generation

Wright House of Fashion, a nonprofit dedicated to inspiring youth through fashion and design, is a fitting partner for this venture. Their mission to empower underrepresented populations aligns with NewBoCo’s goal of making STEM education accessible to all.

 Andre Wright, Founder of Wright House of Fashion, also expressed his excitement: “This aligns with the Wright House mission because we are an educational facility for creatives. We believe the future of education will involve new technology and we are excited to be part of that revolution!”


NCJC, with its robust after-school and summer programs, provides essential support to families and children, fostering social and emotional growth. Serving over 120 children each summer, NCJC is crucial in equipping the next generation with the tools and skills they need to succeed.

A challenge in STEM education is access. Many students face transportation issues or cannot afford extracurricular learning opportunities. By partnering with organizations that meet childcare needs, this collaboration reaches a diverse and captive audience, ensuring students who might miss out on STEM opportunities in school can explore these fields.

A Future of Endless Possibilities

Through these summer programs, NewBoCo, Wright House of Fashion, and NCJC are not just teaching kids about technology and fashion—they’re opening up a world of possibilities. By addressing systemic challenges and providing free access to high-quality education, they are ensuring that every child has the opportunity to dream big and achieve even bigger.


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