Update 27 September 2013: So I did it. I actually hoste an event on the grounds of the friggin White House. Every once in a while, that fact hits me again, like now. I just finished reading reflections on the event by a third year college student, Angelika Modawal, and that review inspires me all over again. Here's an excerpt:
During the Champions of Change event, I saw my high school research paper on women in IT come alive. I participated in and observed the conversation on tech inclusion. It is extremely uplifting to be surrounded by true champions of change; those who are genuinely passionate, curious and excited about tech and as a result are extremely affluent and successful. The energy they bring to the table is contagious. It is interesting to hear tech executives and innovators give their perspective to the gender and computing research I have read based on their industry experience. At the Facebook reception, I continued to make connections with my high school and senior research paper on women in IT.\
I'm hosting an event at the White House--tomorrow! It's part of the Champions of Change series, this one focusing on "tech inclusion" which was the focus of a White House conference earlier this year. It will be streamed live at whitehouse.gov/live 2pm ET Wednesday 31 July. Yeah, I'm kind of freaking out over this, and I'd love your suggestions for questions to ask.
Here is what the White House press release says:
Tomorrow, the White House will honor 11 local heroes who are “Champions of Change for Tech Inclusion.” The event will celebrate Americans who are doing extraordinary things to expand technology opportunities for young learners—especially minorities, women and girls, and others from communities historically underserved or underrepresented in tech fields. These champions are inspiring students to become the developers, engineers, and innovators who will create solutions to some of the Nation’s toughest challenges.
The Champions of Change program was created as an opportunity for the White house to feature groups of Americans – individuals, businesses and organizations – who are doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities.
To watch this event live, visit www.whitehouse.gov/live at 2:00 pm ET on July 31st. To learn more about the White House Champions of Change program and nominate a Champion, visit www.whitehouse.gov/champions. You can also follow the conversation through Twitter using #WHChamps.
Here are the 11 being recognized, in alphabetical order, and I've made a partial Twitter list of people and organizations below that i could find. Longer bios at end of post:
- Kimberly Bryant, Founder and Executive Director of Black Girls CODE (San Francisco, CA)
- Carlos Bueno, Engineer at Facebook and author of Lauren Ipsum (San Francisco, CA)
- Jeffries Epps, Director of Information Technology for Richmond County Schools in Hamlet, NC (Raeford, NC)
- Ruthe Farmer, Director of Strategic Initiatives at the National Center for Women & IT (NCWIT) (LaFayette, CO)
- Kathryn Finney, Founder and Managing Director of digitalundivided (DID) (New York, NY)
- Theresa Freet, Organizer for Developers for Good (Brooklyn, NY)
- Rebecca Garcia, Co-Founder of CoderDojo NYC (New York, NY)
- Kevin Mitchell, Lead Volunteer for ScriptEd (New York, NY)
- Deena Pierott, Founder and Executive Director of the iUrban Teen Program (Vancouver, WA)
- Seth Reichelson, Teacher at Lake Brantley High School (Altamonte Springs, FL)
- Cheryl Swanier, Associate Professor in Fort Valley State University’s Department of Mathematics and Computer Science (Upatoi, GA)
If you have questions for the honorees, please use this form. Next goal: host a #whiskeyfriday at the White House.
The folks being honored are:
Carlos Bueno, an engineer at Facebook, where his job is making systems better by making them simpler. Carlos is the author of "Lauren Ipsum", a children's novel that teaches fundamentals of computer science and critical thinking. http://www.laurenipsum.org/
Jeffries Epps is the Director of Information Technology for Richmond County Schools in Hamlet, North Carolina. He has dedicated his 21 year career to improving K-12 education via technology. Since 2009, he has trained students in grades 5 through 12 in the use of 3D technologies. http://www.richmond.k12.nc.us/
Ruthe Farmer is the Director of Strategic Initiatives, National Center for Women & IT (NCWIT). She is the driving force behind the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing talent pipeline program and since 2009 has scaled the initiative nationwide to engage thousands of young women in technology. http://www.ncwit.org/
Rebecca Garcia is a Co-Founder of CoderDojo NYC, part of the global CoderDojo movement of free coding clubs for youth. She advocates for STEM education to bring about social and economic equality. http://coderdojo.com/
Kimberly Bryant is the Founder and Executive Director of Black Girls CODE, a non-profit organization focused on introducing girls of color (ages 7-17) to the field of technology and computer programming with a concentration on entrepreneurial concepts. http://www.blackgirlscode.com/
Deena Pierott is the Founder and Executive Director of the iUrban Teen program, a program that exposes “non-traditional” STEM learners to career opportunities while encouraging high school graduation and extended learning. http://www.iurbanteentech.org/
Seth Reichelson, computer science teacher at Lake Brantley High School, has developed a national reputation for his outstanding ability to recruit and retain a diverse set of high school computer science students. http://www.lakebrantley.com/Home.aspx
Kevin Mitchell is the lead volunteer for ScriptEd, a non-profit that offers computer programming classes free of charge at schools in low-income communities and by matching them with paid internships at technology firms. http://scripted.org/
Dr. Cheryl A. Swanier is an associate professor in Fort Valley State University’s Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. Dr. Swanier conducts research in Human Computer Interaction, works with outreach initiatives to improve computer science education at all levels and to get students interested in STEM disciplines and future technology careers. http://www.fvsu.edu/
Theresa Freet currently organizes Developers for Good, a community of technologists volunteering their skills on technology projects for nonprofit organizations, and manages the social impact projects for CodeMontage, which brings underrepresented groups into the highest ranks of software engineering through meaningful training. http://developersforgood.org/ and http://codemontage.com/
Kathryn Finney is the founder and Managing Director of digitalundivided (DID), a social enterprise that develops initiatives that increase the active participation of urban communities, especially women, in the digital space. http://www.digitalundivided.com/