All Star Code Founder Christina Lewis Halpern Exposes Boys of Color to STEM Opportunities

All Star Code founder Christina Lewis Halpern with All Star students (photo via allstarcode.org)

via blavity.com

“We all want and need a seat at the table, and then we want to run the table and then we want to have our own table. Coding is the ticket to that,” says Christina Lewis Halpern, the founder of All Star Code, a six-week initiative for high school boys of color to discover innovative career opportunities through a computer science based curriculum.

According to Atlanta Black Star, the New York activist is the daughter of the late Reginald F. Lewis, a Wall Street attorney who became the first African-American to build a billion-dollar company. Her father, a Harvard graduate before dying of brain cancer in 1993, operated TLC Beatrice International, a grocery, beverage and household products distributor.

The month before he passed, Lewis named Halpern, who was only 12-years-old at the time, to the board of his foundation. “My family foundation is committed to social justice and believes in the power of entrepreneurship and investing in our community,” Halpern said. Two decades into the future and Halpern, a professional business journalist, created the All Star Code program “to help the next generation of youth catch the next wave of opportunity.”

So how did she do it? “We seeded this initiative and provided an anchor grant. About 20 percent of the money invested in All Star Code last year was from the Reginald F. Lewis Foundation, or Lewis family personal funds,” Halpern explained. Other donors included Bond Collective, Cisco, Comcast, Facebook, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Chase, MLB Advanced Media and Yahoo!. These corporations in addition to operational support gave $350,000 in funding.

Because of the lack of opportunities in STEM for men and women of color, Halpern’s All Star Code is designed to change that. The nonprofit raised more than $740,000 in 2016 at the annual All Star Code fundraiser in the Hamptons. Due to the generous contributions of the donors, the organization, which started in New York City and has stretched to Pittsburgh, has expanded and continues to grow rapidly.

The number of boys that participated in the Summer initiative skyrocketed from only 20 in 2014 to 160 this year. Halpern says that their goal is to have at least 1,000 high schoolers in 2020.

To read full article, go to: Daughter Of The First African-American To Build A Billion-Dollar Company Exposes Boys Of Color To STEM Opportunities | BLAVITY

Mélisande Short-Colomb’s Ancestors Were Enslaved by Georgetown University. Now, at 63, She’s Enrolled There as a Freshman

Mélisande Short-Colomb (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)

byvia washingtonpost.com

On the first day of class at Georgetown University, the 63-year-old freshman left her dorm room in Copley Hall, carrying highlighters and a legal pad. Walking down the hallway, her gray-blond dreadlocks swinging, her heavy bracelets chiming, Mélisande Short-Colomb gave her schedule a quick look. Today she’d attend the “Problem of God,” a course on the existence and nature of God. And tomorrow would bring the class she’d been waiting for: African American Studies.

It was a subject with which Short-Colomb had recently become more acquainted. The history of her own family was the history of African Americans, and, she has learned, proof of how deeply the roots of slavery go in America’s most prominent institutions and universities. At a time when the nation is undergoing a tumultuous reckoning with the darkest chapter of its past, when protests have turned deadly in Charlottesville and college students across the country are demanding the renaming of buildings linked to slavery, Short-Colomb was quietly coming to terms with her own place in that sweep of history.

Her ancestors were among the 272 slaves Georgetown priests had sold in 1838 to help pay off the university’s debts during a financially turbulent time. Now it was nearly two centuries later, the truth of what happened was finally out in the open and here she was, a member of her family, again in Washington but under very different circumstances. The university has granted legacy status to the slaves’ descendants as part of an effort to atone for the sale of their ancestors. But only two have taken up the offer so far. One is 20 years old. The other is Mélisande Short-Colomb.

To read full article, go to: Her ancestors were Georgetown’s slaves. Now, at age 63, she’s enrolled there — as a college freshman – The Washington Post

ASU History Professor Matthew Delmont Wins Guggenheim Fellowship to Study African Americans’ Views on World War II

ASU Professor Matt Delmont (photo via twitter.com)

via jbhe.com

Matthew Delmont, a professor of history and Director of the School of Historical, Philosophical & Religious Studies at Arizona State University, has received a Guggenheim Fellowship that will allow him to conduct research on how African American viewed World War II at the time the war was being waged.

“African-Americans rallied around something called the ‘double-victory campaign,’ which meant victory over fascism abroad and victory over racism at home,” Professor Delmont said. “There was a great amount of hope that by proving their patriotism, by proving their service to the country in World War II, things would be different once they got home. In a lot of cases, that didn’t happen.” Dr. Delmont will conduct interviews but he notes that “Black newspapers will be one of the main sources. They had war correspondents embedded in Europe and Asia, and they were dodging enemy fire to bring these stories to the communities in the U.S.”

Professor Delmont is the author of several books including Why Busing Failed: Race, Media, and the National Resistance to School Desegregation (University of California Press, 2016) and The Nicest Kids in Town: American Bandstand, Rock ‘n’ Roll, and the Struggle for Civil Rights in 1950s Philadelphia (University of California Press, 2012). The tentative title for the book that he hopes will come from this research is To Live Half American: African Americans at Home and Abroad During World War II.

Originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Professor Delmont is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard University and earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in American studies at Brown University. He joined the faculty at Arizona State University in 2014 after teaching for six years at Scripps College in Claremont, California.

Source: Arizona State Historian Wins Fellowship to Study African Americans’ Views on World War II : The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education

13-Year-Old Kimora Hudson to be Youngest Freshman at University of West Georgia for Fall 2017

Kimora Hudson (photo via westga.edu)

by Jessica Murphy via westga.edu

Just like her friends, 13-year-old Kimora Hudson will be purchasing school supplies to prepare for the upcoming school year. However, it won’t be high school that she is looking forward to attending. Instead, Kimora will be the youngest student enrolled for the fall 2017 semester at the University of West Georgia.

At a young age, Kimora’s family knew how advanced she was going to be.“When she was a baby, this was always the vision,” Fawn Hudson, Kimora’s mother, explained. “Even when she was a few months old her doctor was saying she is a little advanced.”When Kimora was four, her mother began a mentor program based on human growth and development that encouraged her to think outside the box and beyond academics.

This program encourages young people to go out and follow their dreams and not wait. In 4th grade, Kimora became aware of students graduating from college before getting their high school diplomas, and she set a personal goal to become one of those people.“All throughout my life my mom was always making sure I was prepared for everything,” Kimora explained. “My parents know what I need, and they always strive for me to do my best.”

The UWG dual enrollment program is offered to 10th, 11th and 12th grade students who wish to take college level coursework for credit towards both high school and college graduation requirements. However, Kimora was lucky and was able to apply for the program whenever 9th grade students were being accepted. “It was ironic that the year she was going into 9th grade the laws changed to allow the advanced 9th graders a chance, so I said this is it,” Fawn explained. “As soon as she applied and got accepted they took away the 9th grade component. So when that happened, I knew this was meant to be.” Continue reading

“Hidden Figures” Inspires State Department Education Exchange Program for Women in STEM

(image via youtube.com)

by Hazel Cills via jezebel.com

After Fox 2000‘s space race drama “Hidden Figures” was released last year, an unprecedented amount of United States embassies were reportedly calling the State Department requesting the film. Eventually the movie was screened to nearly 80 locations overseas and because of all those screenings, a new, publicly funded exchange program will bring women from around the world working in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to the United States.

The program, called #HiddenNoMore, will bring 50 women from 50 different countries who are working in STEM fields to the United States. The chosen participants will travel to Washington in October before traveling across the country for three weeks meeting with universities, Girl Scouts, and other organizations.

Then they’ll all come together in Los Angeles for a two-day event on the 21st Century Fox lot. Across STEM industries, women, particularly women of color, are vastly underrepresented. “Hidden Figures” already shed light on the important history of black women in mathematics, but with programs like #HiddenNoMore it’s cool that the movie can now help create its future.

To read full article, go to: Hidden Figures Has Inspired a State Department Education Exchange Program 

Super Soaker Inventor Lonnie Johnson Takes Aim at Funding High School Robotics Teams

Discbots at FRC 2017 World Championships (photo via Facebook.com)

by Gabe Gutierrez via nbcnews.com

He created one of the most popular toys on the planet — but the inventor of the “Super Soaker” isn’t done making a splash. Lonnie Johnson is now focusing on new battery technology, but his most rewarding pursuit may be sharing his knowledge with a new generation of engineers.

The mild-mannered Johnson grew up in Mobile, Alabama at the height of the civil rights movement. “There was a lot of fear, a lot of anxiety, a lot of stress,” he remembered. “When I was a child the ‘White-only’ bathrooms were still very prevalent.” He turned that fear into motivation — and a career as a NASA rocket scientist.

But his “a-ha” moment came unexpectedly while he was designing a water pump. He had built testing the pump out in a bathroom when he noticed something.”I thought to myself, ‘Geez, this would make a neat water gun!'” he said. “At that point I decided to put my engineering hat on and design a high performance water gun.” That idea would change his life.

He built the first prototype for what became “The Super Soaker.” The toy, which first went on sale in the early 1990’s, eventually topped $1 billion in sales. Johnson also went on to come up with the NERF gun and other toys. “It’s interesting that the Super Soaker gets so much attention,” he said. “I really like to think of myself as a serious engineer!”

Now, he’s getting serious about giving back. His nonprofit helps fund high school robotics teams. One of them — the DISCbots from the DeKalb International Student Center — is made up of refugees from nine countries. Kalombo Mukuca fled the Central African Republic a year ago. “Even babies — they kill them,” he said. “So we don’t want to get killed.” Emanuel Tezera came to the United States from Ethiopia. “I want to fix something in this world,” he said.

Incredibly, in just its second year, the DISCbots qualified for the world-wide robotics competition in Texas. For Johnson, this idea may be his most rewarding. “If I can have a positive impact,” he said, “clearly it’s something I want to do.”

Source: Super Soaker Inventor Takes Aim at Funding High School Robotics Teams – NBC News

Outstanding 17 Year-Old High School Student Jahmir Smith Offered 33 Full-Ride Scholarships

Jahmir Smith (photo via huffingtonpost.com)

by Zahara Hall via huffpost.com

As a kid, high school junior Jahmir Smith never had a dream college. But for a number of universities, he’s their dream student. The 17-year-old North Carolina native has already been accepted into all eight Ivy League schools and has received 33 full-ride scholarship offers, according to ABC 11 Eyewitness News.

While Smith has a 4.43 GPA at Lee County High School and an impressive ACT score, as well as enough credits to graduate a year early, The News & Observer reported that he’s also constantly being contacted by college football recruiters for his athleticism, receiving hundreds of texts from Division I coaches. Smith, who started playing football in middle school, has a composite three-star rating out of five on the sports website 247sports.com.

Additionally, he was chosen as 2016’s News & Observer’s Metro Football pick after scoring 41 touchdowns and running 2,130 yards in one season. Smith told HuffPost that while he doesn’t plan on making a career out of football, he’s certainly willing to give the NFL a shot. “It’s fast money,” he said. “But I don’t want it as a career because it would take a toll on my body.”

He added that if he doesn’t make the NFL, he wants to explore the medical field, specifically anesthesiology. In whatever he pursues, Smith is aware he’ll face challenges because of his race. But that’s not stopping him in the least bit. “I know the odds are against me because of my skin tone and all, but I don’t really let it get to me,” he said. “I just stay to myself and try to help those around me. I’ve always understood since I was little that people would see me different.”

To read more, go to: Outstanding High School Junior Already Offered 33 Full-Ride Scholarships | HuffPost