August 27, 2020
Daniel Rampelt participated in an ICE Challenge in April 2013 as a high school student. He was interested in computer science, but didn’t know for sure if it was how he wanted to make a living.
Making career decisions today is tough. For young people, who are still figuring out what they want from a career and how they can get there, it can feel almost impossible to know where to begin.
BEP Waterloo Region created “Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship Challenges” to help youth build hope and direction for their future careers. ICE Challenges give grade 11-12 students in Waterloo Region an opportunity to work with a local company on a current problem facing their business or sector.
Daniel Rampelt participated in an ICE Challenge in April 2013 as a student at Bluevale Collegiate Institute. He was interested in computer science, but didn’t know for sure if it was how he wanted to make a living. For his ICE Challenge, he was matched up with Vetica Inc., a small start-up founded in 2012 by a group of University of Waterloo computer science students (the company, which develops lesson planning software, was later renamed Chalk). Rampelt’s experience at the ICE Challenge led him to be hired as a co-op student, and he has been working at Chalk ever since - now over 7 years.
The BEP program offered me a great experience to see how start-ups work. For me, it confirmed my interest in computer science. I then went on to study Computer Science at the University of Waterloo. Being able to work directly with a company like Chalk provided me with the knowledge of the skill sets that start-ups are looking for. I’ve now worked at Chalk for the last 7 years. I’m proud to work in the community where I grew up, and for a company that invested in my future when I was still in high school.
Demand for the BEP’s ICE Challenge program has grown immensely as educators witness the impact of this learning experience on their students. After organizing one annual ICE Challenge for several years, the BEP organized four ICE Challenges in 2019-20 and is planning five (virtually) in 2020-21, with the support of the RBC Foundation. Recent participating organizations include Communitech, D2L, Google, Creative Capital of Canada, THEMUSEUM, UW-Schlegel Research Institute for Aging, the Waterloo Region Small Business Centre, and the Waterloo Region Tourism Marketing Corporation.