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Howard County Library System, MD

Contact: Christie Lassen,

Community Partners: See description below for complete list that includes the community college, local universities, school system, and industry leaders.


HiTech, HCLS' STEM education initiative for teens, teaches cutting-edge science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) via project-based classes that include computer programming, 3D animation, nanotechnology, music/video production, e-books, game apps, cybersecurity, green energy, wearable technology, and robotics.

HCLS instructors teach students ages 11-18 the critical skill sets needed for 21st century careers. HiTech’s curriculum comprises four modules: Interact, Improvise, Invent, and Instruct (the Academy), each incorporating progressively greater levels of instruction.

Leveraging the best technology, teaching tools, and experts to deliver a top-quality STEM education experience, HiTech incorporates an innovative methodology that blends instruction with experiential learning and peer to peer communications. A launching point for the STEM career pipeline, HiTech produces the next generation of brilliant scientists, mathematicians, and engineers needed in the community and nationwide.

The initiative capitalizes on Howard County’s advantage as home to a number of major STEM-oriented employers and higher education institutions, with many providing leadership and guidance as members of the HiTech Board of Advisors, including Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, Mindgrub Technologies, Northrop Grumman, University of Maryland's A. James Clark School of Engineering, Maryland State Department of Education, Howard County Public School System, Howard Community College, and University of Maryland Baltimore County's Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology.

The Urban Libraries Council (ULC) named HCLS a 2013 Top Innovator for HiTech. ULC President and CEO Susan Benton said, “HCLS staff are commended for setting the pace for growth, change and innovation in the field.” 


Attendance since the popular initiative’s launch in June 2012 has reached 3,750. All HiTech students receive certificates of participation, along with a transcript of classes completed, at the annual HiTech Expo.

Projects have included the design and build of two weather balloons that traveled as far as Delaware and New Jersey, robots, quadrotor flight controllers, hovercrafts. In conjunction with the Choose Civility initiative, HiTech students created an e-book entitled Chapters of Civility, which is available as a PDF and from iTunes and Google Play.

HiTech students also developed two mobile games, Escape From Detention and Cyborg Glitch. Learning game design principles from HCLS and Mindgrub Technologies instructors, students developed game logic, layout, characters, music, and sound effects to create the humorous and challenging games. Both games are available for free from iTunes and Google Play. The first game, Escape From Detention, has been downloaded 6,000 times from 30 countries across the globe since its release in January 2013: