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AROC Foundation Establishes Mac Lab at UVI

Mark-Jeffrey Deans, Ayesha Williams, Cora Richardson and Mitchell Neaves pose for a photo in the Mac Lab at UVI. (Submitted photo)

Thanks to a recent donation of iMac computers from the AROC Foundation, students at the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) have increased access to iMac computers, which are essential to programming apps for the iOS operating system and other Apple programs.

Founded by Virgin Islander Cora Richardson, AROC has made several philanthropic gifts in support of the university’s commitment to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education, including the implementation of iPad lending libraries at both the Orville E. Kean Campus on St. Thomas and the Albert A. Sheen Campus on St. Croix.

“AROC’s latest gift of 14 iMac computers is a critical pillar of support for our students who seek to expand their programming knowledge beyond the traditional PC. By having access to these devices, our students can learn the skills they need to excel in programming, software development and other critical STEM disciplines such as artificial intelligence or cybersecurity,” said Mitchell Neaves, vice president for institutional advancement at UVI.

A senior engineering project manager at Apple Inc., Richardson established the AROC Cybersecurity Endowment Fund at UVI in 2019 to benefit students with an interest in computer science and related fields by reducing the financial barriers to their education.

“Supporting the University of the Virgin Islands through technology and software is a way for me to give back to my community and nurture future STEM leaders. I am proud to be able to contribute to UVI’s mission of fostering innovation and expanding opportunities for local students,” said Richardson.

“The Maclab has been highly beneficial to my academic and professional path,” said Allegra Christopher, a UVI graduating senior. “I love it. It has allowed me to engage and complete my course studies in a timely manner thus enhancing my efficiency and productivity academically. Being able to access Macintosh applications here at UVI has provided substantial and consistent results aiding in my ability to manage my dyslexia where normal avenues have failed.”

Christopher is seeking an interdisciplinary studies degree in the arts, majoring in music performance and performing fine arts with a minor in liberal fine arts, which includes communications, English, art and music theory.

In addition to technological support, AROC has provided book scholarships to STEM students, helping to reduce the financial concerns many students face related to the costs of higher education.

Richardson is excited about equipping UVI students to excel in the rapidly evolving digital age. “Our IT staff recently updated all Mac products with Swift Playground, a programming language used to develop apps. This investment will help to cultivate more Virgin Islands students to expand their programming knowledge and become future technology leaders,” she said.

For more information, contact pr@uvi.edu.

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