Using virtual reality, Durham non-profit takes local students on college tours during COVID-19 pandemic

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- When COVID-19 shut down travel, it made it difficult for high school students to tour college campuses. One Durham organization stepped up to help soon to be college students make a Carolina Comeback.

"Any student with a smartphone will be able to put their smartphone in here and navigate along with us and a live student at the school of their choice and pretty much act like they're in the space," said Quinci King.

King heads up Audacity Labs. It's a start-up incubator and co-working space for teens with an emphasis on helping underprivileged youth.

"I always found that youth are my area because there were so many things I wanted to do as a kid that I didn't know the right resources or pathways for these things. I know those disparities exist even greater for many other kids. I think it's best to level that playing field in a world that's not so nice to everyone," said King.

So when COVID-19 hit, naturally, it shut down travel but ignited the entrepreneur in Quincy.

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"In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and long-standing economic barriers that high school students have long faced around college tours. We wanted to make them more accessible through these," said King.

The virtual reality kits use Google Excursions. You insert your phone and from there you're able to walk and pretty soon will be able to talk with a real student from the respective school. So far, King has 40 on hand.

"All of our students will receive these kits. If we're able to record these, we'd love to stream them live that kids across the country to be able to witness these tours," said King.

Audacity Labs is now taking applications to join their cohort when you join you get one of these kits.
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