Tag: computer science

California’s Greene Scholars Program Seeks to Place Black Youth in STEM Jobs

The 6th Annual Atlanta STEM Career Fair organized by the Science, Engineering and Mathematics Link Inc. (Photo by Ojo)
The 6th Annual Atlanta STEM Career Fair organized by the Science, Engineering and Mathematics Link Inc. (Photo by Ojo)

Over the next few days, 95 academically gifted African-American children with an aptitude in math and science will attend a highly-competitive summer camp in California’s Silicon Valley. The Greene Scholars Program, established in 2001, works with 3rd to 12th graders to cultivate academic abilities in science, technology, engineering and math.

“What’s unique about the program is that we’ve a long-term initiative to help stimulate the intellectual capacity of our kids to pursue STEM (sciencetechnologyengineering and mathematics) field careers,” says program director Gloria Whitaker-Daniels. “I feel in love with the model,” says Whitaker-Daniels, who initially was a parent-volunteer whose brood all completed the program.

“We stay with kids when they enter the program till they enter college. I have not found another program that does this over this duration.”

Every Greene Scholar goes to college

Since its inception, every GSP scholar has gone on to college. “The majority takes up STEM related bachelor’s degrees but of those that don’t we are confident they can face the world with a good grasp of math and science,” she says.

Continue reading “California’s Greene Scholars Program Seeks to Place Black Youth in STEM Jobs”

Talented Teen Computer Programmer Seeks Funding for Hacker School

Martha ChumoThe Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics fields are often devoid of color. The creators of Google: white and male. The creator of Facebook: white and male. The creators of Yahoo: one white male, one Asian-American male. Women of color in STEM are often obscured, unless they’re being terminated for addressing the sexism of fellow conference attendees.

Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found blatant sexism in STEM, with less than 20 percent of college-educated women pursuing careers in computer science. Despite the odds, Martha Chumo, a 19-year-old computer programmer from Nairobi, Kenya, is determined to excel in software development. She fell into programming during a summer internship and is smitten with computer science.

“During my internship last summer I got access to a computer on a daily basis. It was pretty much the first time I had a computer all to myself. I started googling how the Internet and computers work,” she writes.

“Soon, learning code became my obsession. In June 2012, I took the little I had saved and bought a computer, installed Ubuntu and quit my internship.

I spent hours practicing at the Nairobi iHub. Online resources combined with the community helped me learn fast and in July I landed a job as a developer with a local Ruby on Rails boutique.

Programming opened an unknown world to me. I was planning on going to medical school, like most top-students in Kenya do. Now I’m taking a year off to explore software development. I’m especially excited about the world of open source software.”

The self-taught programmer has been accepted into Hacker School, a New York-based institute that teaches the tricks of the trade to up-and-coming programmers. It is a competitive program, but Chumo had the chops and earned admission.

Now she needs the funds to attend. Chumo has launched an Indiegogo campaign to fund her trip to Hacker School. She hopes to raise $4,200 to cover the costs of a visa, a round-trip airline ticket and a new laptop.

Continue reading “Talented Teen Computer Programmer Seeks Funding for Hacker School”

Cleveland Student David Boone Worked Hard To Go From Homeless To Harvard

 david.jpgDavid Boone used to sleep on this bench in Artha Woods Park when he had nowhere else to go. Next fall, the senior at Cleveland’s MC2STEM High School is headed to Harvard.

CLEVELAND, Ohio — David Boone had a system.  There wasn’t much the then-15-year-old could do about the hookers or drug deals around him when he slept in Artha Woods Park. And the spectator’s bench at the park’s baseball diamond wasn’t much of a bed.

But the aspiring engineer, now 18 and headed to Harvard University in the fall, had no regular home. Though friends, relatives and school employees often put him up, there were nights when David had no place to go, other than the park off Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

So he says he made the best of those nights on the wooden bench.

His book bag became his pillow, stuffed with textbooks first — for height, he says — and papers on top for padding.

In the morning, David would duck into his friend Eric’s house after Eric’s parents left early for work so he could shower and dress before heading to class at Cleveland’s specialized MC2STEM High School. David expects to graduate from there next month as salutatorian of the new school’s first graduating class.

“I’d do my homework in a rapid station, usually Tower City since they have heat, and I’d stay wherever I could find,” he said.

If you meet David Boone today, his gentle, confident demeanor and easygoing laugh betray no cockiness over racking up a college acceptance record that others brag about for him. He was accepted at 22 of the 23 schools he applied to — including Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Brown and Penn.

He also gives no hint of the often harsh and nomadic life he has led. The medical problems he faced as a boy, a splintered family, being homeless — it all could have left him bitter and angry.

But David says that giving up would have left him stuck in a dead-end life, so it was never an option.

“I didn’t know what the results of not giving up were going to be, but it was better than nothing and having no advantages,” he said. “I wanted to be in a position to have options to do what I want to do.”

David was born to a young mother, who divorced his father when David was a little boy. Continue reading “Cleveland Student David Boone Worked Hard To Go From Homeless To Harvard”