By Emily Gaylord22 December 2021
Last week, a group of Minneapolis teens got to meet Minnesota Vikings players and staff at a local Best Buy teen tech center. Not to talk about the latest game, but to hear how technology is being used on and off the pitch.
The event, hosted at the Best Buy Teen Tech Center at the OIC Summit Academy, kicked off with a panel discussion featuring Vikings VP Information Technology Cheryl Nygaard, Director of Business Analysis Kendall Peters and football analyst Chris French. Each panelist explained how they use technology on a daily basis and what prompted them to start their careers.
Nimet Abubaker, a regular Teen Tech Center participant, said learning to analyze player stats data was interesting and that she didn’t even know it was a job.
“Any career is possible – you just have to make a plan and you can strive to accomplish it,” she said.
Support the passions and interests of adolescents
Following the career panel, wide receiver KJ Osborn and safety Camryn Bynum joined in the fun of talking with the teens about their career aspirations and trying out some of the gear at the Teen Tech Center.
Gamers and teens experimented with different tech equipment and spent time in the music recording studio inside the Teen Tech Center. Camryn even tried to create his own track.
“This place is so cool,” he said. “I would have loved to see my favorite players as a kid, and I hope I can be there for kids like this and hear about their interests.”
This is the priority of the coordinator of the Teen Tech Center, Nich Thomas: that young people feel supported and that the center is a safe space. Second, he hopes events like this inspire teens to pursue careers that match their passions.
“It’s important that we show people who are like them in successful positions and the steps they can take to get there,” Nich said. “A lot of teens can see sport as an outlet, but most won’t be in that top 1% to play sport professionally. So if they can hear about all the different career paths if they’re in. the technology or the sport and the opportunities that they can grab, that’s great. ”
Cheryl, vice president of information technology for the Vikings, said she would have loved a space like a Teen Tech Center when she was younger, as a way to ask questions and learn.
“There isn’t just one way to work in IT,” she said. “A place like this opens the eyes of teenagers and gives them the opportunity to explore what is possible for their future.”
Click on here to learn more about the Best Buy Teen Tech Center program.