Participants Respond to Saturday’s Event: BlackGirlsCODE

The aforementioned BlackGirlsCODE event has now come to pass, but before its closure, participants had a few things to say not only about their involvement in the event itself, but also in BlackGirlsCODE as a movement.

Some of the more important members of the community are the parents; these parents have urged their daughters to open up to the world of computing, especially when the girls are naturally inclined to do so. Monica Jeffery and her daughter Shameya attended the event together. Monica expressed that she “[wants Shameya] to get more in-depth and  learn how to problem solve. [She wants] her to learn how to code and wants something more technical.”  Other parents voiced similar wishes, but also said they appreciate that these workshop opportunities are available to a range of age groups. Meibell Contreras brought her 10 year old daughter Maya (both pictured below), believing that her age is prime for learning how to code.


Along with the parents, volunteers and instructors are crucial to the workshops and the BlackGirlsCODE community. Errol King, game designer, actor, business owner, and instructor at the event made a statement about why the BlackGirlsCODE movement is so important: 

 “You have something really beautiful to offer the tech space that is missing. When there is a critical mass of black females created in the tech space, I think there will be something that will come out of that that we won’t even expect and that’s why we are here–to create that catalyst.”

Volunteers also expressed their excitement about the workshops. Harlo Holmes and Michael Hackney agree how fantastic it can be to see girls of a young age grasp these programming concepts so quickly and so thoroughly and continue to remain enthusiastic about it. Holmes called it ‘heartwarming.’

The girls themselves had a lot of comments after Saturday’s workshop. Most agreed that they liked having a class with all girls, and that learning about programming in Beta was a great introduction–one that sparked an interest in pursuing further education in engineering and programming. 

 

Seidenberg to Host BlackGirlsCODE Event

BlackGirlsCODE is coming to Pace to teach girls how to develop video games using Beta! The class encourages girls of 10-17 years to participate in the workshop, which will promote student-driven learning about game development. Seidenberg grad student Peta Clarke has taken the initiative to make good use of our spaces here for this event.

Kimberly Bryant, founder of BlackGirlsCODE, started the organization to eliminate the sense of isolation that hangs over black girls in the programming world–the same sense of isolation Bryant had to deal with, herself, during her studies in the field of technology.

In the organization’s own words, “BlackGirlsCode is devoted to showing the world that black girls can code, and do so much more. By reaching out to the community through workshops and after school programs, BlackGirlsCode introduces computer coding lessons to young girls from underrepresented communities in programming languages such as Scratch or Ruby on Rails. BlackGirlsCode has set out to prove to the world that girls of every color have the skills to become the programmers of tomorrow. By promoting classes and programs we hope to grow the number of women of color working in technology and give underprivileged girls a chance to become the masters of their technological worlds,”  (source).

The event will take place this Saturday, August 17, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Click here to register. Space is limited, so register now!

We would like to see more of this! [click through to Instagram]

About.com’s Matthew Knell Gives Seidenberg His Executive Advice

About.com‘s Social Media Executive and Pace alumnus (BS/IS ’00) Matthew Knell stopped by last week to explain a thing or two about his work experiences. He has been employed at a number of positions at a number of companies, including JetBlue,  AOL, and About.com. If you recall the blog post from June, Knell was also the moderator for the AOL Social Media Salon. The students who stayed at Seidenberg last Tuesday for the free food ended up staying for the free advice Knell dished out. Not only was he highly informative about Social Media, but he covered a multitude of topics within the world of computing.

To begin with Knell’s forte, Social Media (hereby shortened to SM), a few things he was adamant about. In SM, Branding, or Website appearance, Knell stressed the importance of choosing the right font and having consistent graphics. Specifically, he said to avoid Arial and Verdana (and everyone knows that Comic Sans is the butt of all font-related jokes) and suggested trying out different fonts from Type Kit. As far as consistent graphics go, Knell used the example of the slide show banner that many websites use on their home pages; he explained that it’s visually enticing when the changing graphics have an underlying similarity to them whether it be color schemes, text placement, font, or all three.

For the students who aren’t as concerned with SM, and cared more about the programming and software related positions Knell had experienced, Knell had a few things to say. One student expressed his concern in starting a project, but having it become invalid before it is complete. He asked how Knell would deal with such a sense of failure, to which Knell’s simple reply was, “Drink.”

Everyone got a laugh out of his response before he elaborated with an anecdote. He told the group of a project he had been working on at JetBlue that had failed miserably. The airline had been trying to create it’s own reservation system, but once they were deep into the process, they realized it was necessary to use the system Sabre, which was less restrictive than an exclusive system. Knell’s advice to dealing with the failure was to learn from it and notice the signs before things go sour, and later, when a recruiter asks about it, let it be known where the faults were and they were not your own mishaps.

Everyone thanked Knell for dropping by and giving us his advice. He even looked over Seidenberg’s SM sites to give them a quick review and offered a few constructive points. We have already began implementing them into our posts! So, thank you, Matthew. It was a pleasure having you around and we hope to collaborate on similar events throughout the years.

Two STEM Camp Participants Talk About Their Experience

With this week being the third leg of 2013’s STEM Camp, we decided to ask a few students to share their thoughts about the experience so far. Below, we have answers from Jad Seligman and Deaja Clarke, both of whom are rising juniors in high schools around NYC.

Jad Seligman (left) shows off a drawing.

 

What brought you to STEM camp?

Jad: I was interested in STEM camp because I have a love for programming but I also really enjoy math and science as well.
Deaja: My Aunt told me about the camp and she said that it was about science and technology, which interested me. I was also interested in how technology was incorporated into science.

Deaja Clarke prepares to extract DNA from a banana.

What are some things you have learned from your time at STEM camp?

Jad: Since being at STEM camp, I have learned how to make a mobile app and how to make a website. I have also learned more about object-oriented programming.
Deaja: I have learned about the basics of coding, which I never knew before.

What has been your favorite part of STEM camp?

Jad: My favorite part of camp so far has been the people- the students and the mentors. The students are very smart and they exude intelligence and good spirit. The mentors are incredibly helpful as well.
Deaja: I like the people and the overall experience.

Would you consider pursuing  a major in the STEM field during college?

Jad: Absolutely! Ideally, I would like to major in computer science.
Deaja: I am interested mostly in science, but I plan to study a little bit of technology too and incorporate it into science.

What do you want to do in the future? 

Jad: I would like to have a career in cyber security.

Deaja: I want to be a doctor who incorporates technology into the medical field. I know I want to help people and using technology is very beneficial for doctors.

 

From their responses, it seems that the camp has been right down their ally; Jad and Deaja, as well as the other campers who share their enthusiasm, will indubitably walk away from this experience with a new foundation of knowledge to build upon in their higher education.

 

Summer STEM Camp 2013

What has Seidenberg HQ been up to lately?

We have been busy with STEM! A distinguished group of 20 talented New York high school students have been invited to participate in a 3 week long STEM camp experience. Much like what we did with this year’s Summer Scholars Experience, this educational camp aims to raise awareness about the importance of STEM in addition to exposing the students to the many opportunities that STEM has to offer. As the camp kicked off, our bright participants were placed in teams of 4 and asked to come up with a concept for a STEM related mobile app and website.

 A Day in the Life of a STEM Camp Participant

Each day the camp is filled with excitement and adventure. Students not only learn about coding and Photoshop but they are exposed to a wealth of knowledge from experienced guest speakers and dedicated mentors, including Pavel Kibrik, who talked about the importance of sleep, and Pace professor Samuel Baruch, who discussed his experiences at Columbia where he earned his degree in Math. Our bright campers also get a cultural thrill when visiting different top tech companies, startups, and tourist attractions around NYC. So far, our campers have attended the UNIFCEF CUNY design challenge where they had the chance to learn how students are using STEM to improve the quality of life of the less fortunate. Our campers also visited the NY Hall of Science and the Highline Park. Our bright STEM participants visited Codeacademy, Eye Beam, and Alley Tech NYC to see how awesome it is to work at startups.

 What’s in Store?

With one more week to go, the campers have to finish their STEM mobile apps and their accompanying websites. Each group will then present their work to an esteemed panel of judges. We are excited to see the success of our talented STEM campers!

#SSSE2013: If You’re Wondering When It Will Be the Right Time to Start Programming…

…that time is now. The youngsters are catching up to the Zuckerbergs and Gates’ of their elder generations and they will leave stragglers in their dust. This week, Seidenberg hosted a camp for high-acheiving students who are interested in programming. The goal of the program was to assist these high schoolers in creating their own computing projects from scratch and giving them a chance to work as a team to present their completed project, in this case a mobile app, to a panel of experts and professors in hopes to prepare them for a time when they will professionally create apps on their own. The genre of this year’s mobile apps was our favorite subject, STEM. Each group (4-5 students and 2 mentors) was required to program an app that would aid other individuals of whatever age group they chose to learn about STEM related topics. These included games, questionnaires, flash-card based apps, and new ways to allow people to actively participate in learning about STEM.


The Summer Scholars were kept busy in hackathon sessions, led by our friends Andrew Clutterbuck and Peter Tapio from Aalto University in Helsinki, Finland, and a few of our top professors, including Dr. Richard Kline and Dr. Christelle Scharff.  Dr. Kline is, as we know, heavily invested in robotics yet also an expert in teaching usability. On top of this, Dr. Scharff added her knowledge of mobile programming to the lectures provided for the scholars. However, the scholars were also given the chance to explore the ins and outs of NYC. They came from all over the USA and many had not seen the city before in their lives. The scholars visited the usual spots: the American Museum of Natural History, Times Square, Seaport, Central Park, and China Town. Along with the tourist hits, students also got exclusive visits to startup companies and larger corporations; these included Codecademy, StreetEasy, AppFigures, Microsoft, and the crowd favorite: Google. The students were able to ask questions about programming and the computing field as it’s been growing and what it will become when this new generation of programmers hits the ground running. Each company was welcoming and informational; the students left each place with a burst of inspiration that they  were able to incorporate into their projects.

The final presentations were exceptional; the students proved that they had an excellent foundation for an app as well as a foundation in computing for any other apps they may come up with in their future. Leaving the camp after only a week was a bitter end, but well worth it. Students reached out to each other on their own social media, intending to keep in touch long after the camp has passed. Other comments from the students after the session ended included, “Who’s gonna have Post Trip Depression?” from Californian scholar, Ruiqi Mao, and a from a few others, confirmation that Pace is their choice school (whoop whoop!) after going through this program.