Silicon North Stars Gives Minnesota Teens A VR Crash Course With Visual


A group of 14 students from the Twin Cities participated in Silicon North Stars’ latest adventure — hands on virtual reality demos with local creative company Visual.

The experience was part of a quarterly meetup held at CoCo in Uptown, whereby local techies share their story with a select group of students Minneapolis and St. Paul.  Visual cofounder Chuck Olson brough various VR boxes front-and-center for the participants to explore over the course of an afternoon last Saturday:

“The kids were so thoughtful and inquisitive. My favorite question was “How did you get a job at Visual?” Besides joking about interviewing myself in the mirror, it gave me a chance to tell them how I started my VR company right here in Minneapolis. I hope the kids were left with the sense that any one of them could do the same thing, right here with the right idea.”

Formed in 2014 by Steve and Mary Grove, the mission of nonprofit Silicon North Stars is to inspire and educate young Minnesotans to become future leaders in technology, in collaboration with the City of Minneapolis’ STEP-UP program and CoCo. Their programming is a hybrid of experiential learning and mentorship.

“We focus on equipping a select group of high potential, rising ninth graders from underserved communities in Minnesota with the inspiration and community they need to pursue careers in technology.”

In addition to annual ‘Tech Camp’ field trips to Silicon Valley, where the Grove’s reside, previous local tech speakers include Damola Ogundipe cofounder at Civic Eagle and John Miller, Product Manager at JAMF Software.

The next steps involve a third Minneapolis to Silicon Valley cohort in August followed by a TBA local tech speaker in September.  Minnesota Program Manager Garrio Harrison estimates that so far 30+ unique students have participated with plans underway to scale the program up more frequently going into next year.