Category Archives: Computing Education

Women’s History Month: Recognizing Women in STEM

This Post was written by Bridge Technical Talent
Date posted: March 10, 2017

March marks the start of Women’s History Month, a month that is dedicated to highlighting the countless accomplishments and contributions of women throughout history. As people across the country honor the women in their lives, we want to recognize the women of our time making a splash in the technology field and inspiring young women to also pursue careers in STEM:

“Coding is the language of the future, and every girl should learn it. As I’ve learned from watching girls grow and learn in our classrooms, coding is fun, collaborative, and creative.” -Reshma Saujani

In 2012 Reshma Saujani founded the national nonprofit organization, Girls Who Code. Saujani began her professional career as an attorney, but entered the political scene in 2010. She was the first Indian American woman to run for U.S. Congress and during her campaign she visited countless local schools. During her visits, Saujani began to notice an obvious gender gap in computing classes which is what inspired her to start Girls Who Code.

“In traditional societies, investors have always focused on very tangible things like oil or shipping versus internet or software products. So it’s not only about creating a tech ecosystem but also teaching the teachers and the parents and those that are influential in these people’s lives that it’s okay to take these risks. But I think it’s changing, and government organizations are really stepping forward to ignite this innovation and entrepreneurship movement.” -Adriana Gascoigne

Adriana Gascoigne has served as the Vice President of Marketing at SecondMarket and numerous tech start-ups prior to that. Gascoigne founded Girls in Tech in 2007 after she noticed she was the only woman in a company that employed about 50 people. She is passionate about helping people in developing countries have access to technology.

“Don’t let anyone tell you that engineering is only about math and science or that engineering expertise is all you have to offer the world. Your experiences and your perspectives can help inspire a company to find a different approach to a problem or encourage someone else to speak up.” -Regina Wallace-Jones

 

Regina Wallace-Jones has a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University and a Masters from UCLA in Public Policy with Emphasis in Technology Policy. She is currently the head of security operations at Facebook, which means she oversees the security operations for 1.6 billion people. Prior to working with Facebook, she partnered with the Lean In Foundation to help launch Sheryl Sandberg’s book, “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.” Wallace-Jones has been an active advocate for professional women, she’s volunteered at low-income middle schools in California to teach classes on computer science and cybersecurity, she’s a patron of the non-profit Black Girls Code, and she sits on the Advisory Board of Women Who Code.

“One reason product management is such an appealing career is you get to sit at the intersection of technology, business, and design.” -Gayle Laakmann McDowell

Gayle Laakmann McDowell has a background in software development, with a BSE/MSE in Computer Science from the University of Pennsylvania. She is the founder of CareerCup.com, a blog aimed toward helping people in tech careers, and has worked as a software engineer at Google, Microsoft, and Apple. McDowell is the author of Cracking the the Coding Interview, Cracking the PM Interview, and Cracking the Tech Career.

 

 

 

 

 

“[Workplace sexism] puts women in a position of constantly having to advocate for themselves, to police others’ behavior, and to fight to be treated with the same baseline respect that the men give each other by default. They say that female engineers have two full time jobs: being an engineer and being a women, and we only get paid for about 77% of the former.” -Ellora Israni

Ayna Agarwal and Ellora Israni are co-founders of she++, a group that focuses on inspiring college and high school women to pursue a career in technology. Israni earned her Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Stanford University and is currently a software engineer at Facebook. The she++ organization has grown from being a part of Stanford’s first conference on women in technology to an international movement. Israni has been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, and WIRED Magazine.
Who do you think should be on this list? Let us know on Twitter who you’re celebrating this month!

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Bridge and ACE Take on Hour of Code

This Post was written by Bridge Technical Talent
Date posted: December 21, 2016

The Hour of Code is a global movement that over 180 countries are taking part in. Last year we asked IT professionals to dedicate an hour of their time to teach middle school students Hour of Code. This year, Bridge has decided to use Hour of Code as an opportunity to engage with the Providence community! Last week, we joined with IT professionals from United Natural Food Incorporated (UNFI) and HCH Enterprises to work with upperclassmen from the Academy for Career Exploration (ACE) who had previously taken part in Hour of Code. We then worked with the students to help prepare them to teach the Hour of Code to the new freshman class at ACE. We were able to watch as these upperclassmen displayed great leadership skills and probably learned more about coding themselves while teaching the freshman.

This week, we are taking these same upperclassmen students with us to a couple of Providence middle schools where the ACE students will deliver the HOC, as opposed to having the IT professionals do it like previous years. By changing the format of how students learn HOC, we are hoping that the eighth graders will have an easier time making connections with the high school students as mentors and therefore learn the material better.

We also hope that the upperclassmen students will inspire the eighth graders to attend ACE as freshmen next fall. ACE is the only school in the state that requires all students to take computer programming classes, and they have three computer science oriented career pathways they offer their students.

If this exercise goes well, we will continue with other Providence middle schools in January. If you have other ideas to recruit eighth graders to attend a high school focused on computer programming please let us know in the comments below or via Twitter.

To learn more about the Hour of Code check out code.org.

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Computer Science Education Week 2016

This Post was written by Bridge Technical Talent
Date posted: December 8, 2016

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This week, December 5-11, marks the eighth annual celebration of Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek)! It’s one of our favorite weeks of the year because parents, teachers, and business leaders throughout the country – and the world – are helping students learn more about programming, computer science, and possible careers in STEM fields.

CSEdWeek occurs every year during the week of Grace Hopper’s birthday, December 9th. Hopper was a computer scientist and United States Navy Rear Admiral. She helped popularize the idea of machine-independent programming languages and coined the term debugging. Hopper also invented the first compiler for a computer programming language in 1952, “Nobody believed that,” she said, “I had a running compiler and nobody would touch it. They told me computers could only do arithmetic.”  

Today, Rhode Island has 1,453 open computing jobs, but only 94 Rhode Island high schoolers took the AP Computer Science exam in 2016. The STEM field is one of the fastest growing career paths and 71% of new STEM jobs are in computing. Computer Science Education Week is working to raise awareness about the need for computer science education in K-12 schools.

It’s easy to get involved with CSEdWeek! This year Bridge will be partnering with the Academy for Career Exploration (ACE) students to take part in Hour of Code. Follow us on Twitter and check the blog for updates on our CSEdWeek events!

The Hour of Code gives students a chance to use tutorials and games to try coding for one hour, and it’s taking schools by storm:

If you would like to participate in this year’s CSEdWeek, visit their website to learn more about Hour of Code. If you’re an educator they have steps on what you can do to bring CSEdWeek to your school. You can also view statistics about your state’s STEM education and don’t forget to search #CSEdWeek on Twitter!

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Governor Raimondo Visits ACE Coding Camp

This Post was written by Bridge Technical Talent
Date posted: September 28, 2016

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The Academy for Career Exploration (ACE), a district charter school in Providence, RI, hosted a Bootstrap Summer Coding Camp this past summer in an effort to keep students engaged with learning during the summer months.

Two Brown University, computer science students interned with Bridge to teach the four week course where students utilized concepts of both algebra and computer programming to create their own video game. The end goal of the program was to have students create a simple, three character game which had a player, a target, and a foe. Participants then worked to bring their games to life by choosing their own genre and designing the characters. They used algebraic concepts to detect collisions, handle keystrokes, and determine how the characters would move and interact.

At the conclusion of the camp, students presented their finished video games to Governor Gina Raimondo, Chief Innovation Officer Richard Culatta, and our very own Joe Devine. Game plots ranged from the classic tale of a prince rescuing a princess, to the main character on a quest to gather food, to Shrek themed. It was inspiring to see the excitement on the students’ faces as they shared the final versions of their games. Each student had taken time out of their precious summer to learn a new skill and worked hard to create a video game that they were proud to show off.

We love to highlight technical education events like these because they make an effort to keep students actively learning during the summer months. Students are constantly learning new material for the majority of the year, and suddenly summertime rolls around and the amount of learning engagement drastically drops. 28693259996_6ce423944c_k

Programs like the ACE Bootstrap Summer Camp are great ways to reduce the amount of summer learning loss among kids. When students who have taken part in educational summer camps return to school in the fall, they are less likely to have forgotten lessons learned the year before. Like Governor Raimondo said to students, “It’s really great that you’re taking the time this summer. And you know what? Because you’re here doing this this summer, I know you’re going to be successful.”

Raimondo also pointed out how coding skills are becoming more important in the job search, “In the next six years, Rhode Island businesses will create thousands of computer jobs and math jobs. Programs like ACE’s Bootstrap Summer Camp teach our kids important computer coding skills that will allow them to design their own futures.” (quote via the Providence Journal) And you know what? We couldn’t agree more.

Before the end of ACE Bootstrap Summer Camp, one student was the lucky winner of a Lenovo laptop and others were given Dunkin’ Donuts gift cards.

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Want to see how else Bridge is involved in the community? Head over to our website or read how we helped donate over 200 lbs of food to the RI Community Food Bank!

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