High School Students Build Apps at Melaleuca’s Free IT Boot Camp

Following the enormous success of last year’s event, Melaleuca concluded its second annual Computer Programming Boot Camp this week at its global headquarters in Idaho Falls, Idaho.

A select group of twenty-five high school students from across eastern Idaho were chosen to attend the free five-day workshop, which offered a hands-on experience in the ever-changing world of information technology (IT).

“Our goal is to provide students who have a propensity for IT with a practical learning experience and expose them to ideas and innovations that they can’t find in the traditional classroom setting,” said Cole Clinger, Melaleuca Chief of Staff. “We’ve gone to great lengths to design a camp that’s intensive, eye opening, and a lot of fun.”

Carson Clayson, a junior at Rigby High School, couldn’t agree more. “I love it. I don’t interface with a lot of kids who program in my day to day life. It’s fun to have an environment where I’m encouraged to play around with the current technologies.”

Melaleuca’s IT Boot Camp incorporates three of the company’s core values: innovation, learning, and service.

As one of the largest e-commerce companies in North America, Melaleuca relies heavily on IT implementation and innovation to achieve its business goals. In addition, the company has long been an advocate of education and community outreach.

The inaugural camp curriculum, in which students developed their very own smartphone app, was so popular that Melaleuca elected to repeat it this year.

Returning to lead the instruction was Rex Barzee, who chairs BYU-Idaho’s Computer Information Technology Department. Throughout the week, Barzee, along with two teaching assistants, helped the students develop their apps and create interactive webpages using a variety of cutting-edge programming software, including C#, .NET, and iOS.

The apps were as varied and unique as their creators, reflecting the range of the students’ personalities and interests. While many of the apps were practical in nature, including a schedule manager and a metric-to-standard conversion calculator, others were more playful, like a shark and superhero encyclopedia or a software that matches a person’s age to that of various cheeses.

Students were also treated to guest lectures and personal tutoring from Melaleuca’s IT executives. By interacting with Melaleuca employees, camp attendees got an inside look at the various ways technology is utilized on the job at a $1.75 billion global enterprise.

At the conclusion of camp, students were awarded with certificates of completion that they can include on their future résumés and college applications.

“This has been a great learning experience,” Clayson said. “I’ve really enjoyed learning from Mr. Barzee, the IT employees at Melaleuca and all of the other kids around me.”