A scholarship got him going in Decatur Makers
Talk to Niles for five minutes, and you might walk away feeling a little… inadequate.
Elected president of student government in the fifth grade. Interviewed on air by WABE-FM’s Rose Scott.
Built a computer at age 11. Helped create a class for other kids to learn how to build PCs (and taught a couple of sessions).
He even visited a local elementary school to demonstrate how to cut Styrofoam with a hot wire – safely.
“I love engineering, and I wanted to have opportunities outside of school to learn about technology,” says Niles, a rising seventh grader at Drew Charter Elementary. “A teacher told me about Decatur Makers and the scholarship, so I applied. I wanted to be surrounded by like-minded people.”
The first computer Niles built was guided entirely by YouTube videos.
“It took me two hours to build it,” he says. “I watched lots of tutorials, saw people build lots of computers. I had a list of parts that I’d been assembling for a year, and I saved up money to buy them.”
He’s only building on that experience with his Decatur Makers scholarship. When he started the Preteen PC Build Club – now guided by Decatur Makers mentor Jason Rose – he did so just to get other kids involved in something he loved.
“We’ve had experts on computer hardware come in and speak and tell us about different parts,” he says. Those lessons have prepared club members to diagnose problems with PCs as well as work with individual components.
Though college is still a long way away, Niles already has his eye on a degree in software engineering. It doesn’t hurt that he’s got a head start at Decatur Makers.
“It’s just a really fun place,” Niles says. “There’s so much stuff there, and you can do whatever project you want.”