If you ask Alli Kemp, architects aren’t the only visionaries capable of designing their own buildings; kids can build today’s world too.

Kemp is only an eighth-grader, yet she can already envision herself bridging the gap between architectural design and engineering. For the past two weeks, this student from Vinton-Shellsburg has been constructing her own blueprint of a house and kitchen both virtually and on paper through Grant Wood Area Education Agency’s summer enrichment program, College for Kids.

This summer will be Kemp’s third year attending College for Kids – a program that offers faster-paced, topic-specific courses for gifted and talented middle school students. According to Kemp, College for Kids helped her dive more deeply into her career interests of becoming an architectural engineer through her different design courses.

“I took the Virtual 3D Creations class last year and I really enjoyed it,” Kemp says. “So I decided to take it again this year with the new teacher, and I’m learning a lot more.”

Virtual 3D Creations at College for Kids is a course focused on design, animation, and engineering. In this course, students like Kemp are able to construct three dimensional creations using different computer applications including Blender, Sketch-up, and Tinkercad.

“I’m also in Architectural Design and I feel like it sort of connects with Virtual 3D Creations because when I draw out my blueprints for my architectural class, I can make into a 3D house in my virtual class,” Kemp says.

College for Kids’ Architectural Design course teaches students how to create architectural drawings of buildings. This summer, Kemp and her peers are designing their own kitchens and will propose their designs to potential clients.

Kemp is among 14 other students from Vinton Shellsburg attending the College for Kids program, which has an overall enrollment of 1,000 students this summer. Students from Vinton-Shellsburg are currently enrolled in a variety of classes ranging from Watercolor Painting, Biotechnology, Astronomy, and more.

Grant Wood AEA’s College for Kids is held at Coe College in Cedar Rapids and focuses on providing students the opportunity to further explore a hobby or a topic of interest that is not typically available in their middle school general education. Through the College for Kids experience, students like Kemp not only explore their academic interests in a wide range of classes, they create lifelong memories with peers from other schools and communities as well.

“I really enjoy the classes at College for Kids and I’ve met a lot of new friends every single year,” Kemp says. “I like it because I get to learn new things and meet new people since we don’t have all these things at our school.”