Saturday, February 6, 2016

Grant Declination * Bradley Foundation (BDPA Milwaukee)

BDPA Education and Technology Foundation learned today that our $10,000 letter of inquiry submitted to the Lynne and Harry Bradley Foundation has been declined. Our LOI was submitted on behalf of the Student Information Technology Education & Scholarship program in Milwaukee.

The declination letter read as follows:

Dear Mr. Hicks:

I regret to inform you that the prospective proposal you describe does not fall within the Foundation's mandate and its current programmatic interests.

Thank you once again for your interest.

Daniel P. Schmidt
Vice President for Program

Although we are disappointed by this response we will continue to seek out funding on behalf of our BDPA Milwaukee chapter. You can help by making a secure online donation in support of the young people being trained by this chapter.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Briana Abraham Uses Her Bemley Scholarship for Computer Science Degree at George Mason University

Briana Abraham
BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF) is proud to award a Dr. Jesse Bemley Scholarship to BDPA Greater Columbia student member Briana Abraham.   This is the second scholarship provided to Briana in recent months.  Briana plans to use it to continue her studies at George Mason University. Briana seeks a computer science degree with a focus on cybersecurity. Her career goal is to become a reverse engineer. She worked the past two summers as a research intern at the University of South Carolina.

We asked her to share thoughts on her experience with BDPA.
"I joined BDPA during my junior year in high school, shortly after I became interested in Computer Science. BDPA gave me a space to hone my programming skills, while also allowing me to collaborate with peers who held similar interests, and who were passionate about software development. My time at BDPA has greatly increased my teamwork skills, presentation skills, networking skills, and of course my programming skills.

My most
2014 HSCC Team (Greater Columbia)
memorable moment in BDPA is during the 2014 National BDPA Technology Conference, when the awards were announced for the High School Computer Competition, and it was revealed that my team had placed second. That moment was filled with elation, joy and camaraderie. My teammates and I, were thrilled to see that the days spent together in preparation for the competition had paid off. We were shocked. The moment for me was particularly special, as prior to this venture, I had no experience with web development, and being able to contribute meaningfully to the team's success, was fulfilling.
This is the 30th anniversary of the High School Computer Competition.  We have given out hundreds of Bemley Scholarships over the years.   We are grateful to Best Buy Foundation and the Information Technology Senior Management Forum for providing major donations in support of the Bemley Scholarship Fund this year.   However, this is truly a scholarship fund that is supported by BDPA members and supporters.  I encourage you to make a secure online donation today!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Top 10 BDPA Chapters (Membership, January 2016)

The lifeblood of any nonprofit association is its membershipBDPA Cincinnati remains the #1 BDPA chapter in the nation for the tenth month in a row.   The chapter ... led by its new president,  Shawnda Peterson ... continues to amaze others by its consistent growth.   It will be interesting to see if the chapter can continue growing towards the next milestone of having 300 members this year.

We are very happy to see that National BDPA VP-Membership Management Mildred Allen has been asked by the current administration to stay on in her leadership role.  Her efforts have allowed BDPA to continue to grow.   She realizes that we need to work hard to keep membership growth and retention higher.

Loraine Stewart-David
BDPA Detroit had a great month in January as they grew their chapter by over 18% in that single month.  As a result  the chapter moved up in the national rankings to become the 3rd-largest in the nation.  The chapter president, Loraine Stewart-David, takes over a chapter with a powerful legacy.  Her chapter recently announced four winners (Gerald Curtis, Austin Little, Nicole Middleton and Amber Young) of the Fiat Chrysler Automobile Scholarship administered by the BDPA Education and Technology Foundation.  It is no accident that active efforts within a local BDPA chapter results in more members ... more members results in more membership dues ... which makes it easier to implement more consistent and effect programs and services. How are things going in your local chapter?

BDPA believes in the management maxim -- you get what you measure.  Let us assess the numbers in order to honor those local BDPA chapters who are demonstrating success in their efforts to recruit and retain members. Congratulations to BDPA Dallas chapter for moving into this month's Top 10 list!  Let's take a look at the ten largest chapters in BDPA-Nation:
  1. Cincinnati - president, Shawnda Peterson
  2. Chicago - president, Reggie Rush 
  3. Detroit - president, Loraine Stewart-David (up 1 slot from last month)
  4. Atlanta - president, Derrick Brown (down 1 slot)
  5. Philadelphia - president, Cedric Edwards
  6. New York - president, Tyrone McKinney
  7. Indianapolis - president, Terry Morris (up 1 slot)
  8. Washington DC - president, Perry Carter (down 1 slot)
  9. Milwaukee - president, Carmen Giles
  10.  Dallas - president, Chad White (up 2 slots)
The number of chapters now belonging to the 'BDPA Century Club' currently stands at six.  The benefit of having powerful leadership is obvious when we see that Cincinnati, Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta, New York and Philadelphia each have over 100 members. One of the common denominators for each of these chapters is that they place a high premium on the delivery of quality programs and services to their members. These chapters work hard to ensure that there is a strong return on the $100 investment that each member makes thru annual dues.

National president Mike Williams recently touted the value that organizational re-branding has made on BDPAWhat are your thoughts about the value of BDPA membership? What can your local chapter do to improve the value-proposition for you on a personal or professional level?

Friday, January 29, 2016

State Farm Expands Commitment to BDPA

State Farm, an American group of insurance and financial services companies in the United States, recently expanded its commitment as a Silver Level Sponsor to the 38th Annual BDPA Technology Conference & Career Fair, August 10-13 at the Westin Peachtree Plaza in Atlanta, GA. State Farm agreed to sponsor the BDPA Mobile Application Showcase for high school and college students by providing scholarships for the winning entries. The number of students competing in the showcase is expected to more than double this year.

State Farm currently ranked No. 41 on the Fortune 500 list of largest companies, insures more cars and homes than any other insurer and is a leading insurer of watercraft in the United States. The driving force of the Company is comprised of more than 72,000 employees and 18,000 agents. For the past 90+ years, State Farm agents have built and maintained lasting customer relationships. Its tradition of innovation and customer commitment help keep State Farm the industry leader.
Theonnie Shields
State Farm is proud to be a sponsor of the 2016 BDPA Mobile showcase. As we continue to grow our State Farm Systems Department in the Atlanta area, we feel it’s important to be a part of this conference,” said State Farm systems manager Theonnie Shields.
Founded in 1975, BDPA is the premier organization for African American professionals in the technology industry. BDPA has 47 chapters across the United States and is the largest African American Information Technology Association in the country. BDPA continues to fulfill its mission and work to bridge the digital divide by providing career growth opportunities for its members.
National BDPA is excited with the sponsorship renewal from State Farm,” says BDPA conference director Pamela Mathews. “We appreciate the scholarships to recognize our Mobile Application Showcase Winners during the upcoming national conference and your support overall. Thank you, State Farm, for your continued partnership.”
To become a BDPA partner like State Farm or to learn more about the National BDPA Technology Conference in Atlanta, as well as sponsorship opportunities, please contact BDPA Corporate Sales Team by email at or301-584-3135 x108.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Grant Declination: American Airlines (BDPA New York)

BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF) and BDPA New York chapter learned that American Airlines Community Relations office declined our $7,500 grant proposal. The declination letter read as follows:
Dear Mr. Hicks,

Thank you for your recent application requesting support for BDPA Education and Technology Foundation. Each year, American receives thousands of donation requests from worthy organizations and individuals. Due to the volume of requests, coupled by limited resources, we regret that we will be unable to provide a contribution as requested. Funding requests each year far exceed our philanthropic budget and many worthy causes are declined.

While we won't be able to support BDPA Education and Technology Foundation through our corporate giving programs, you may be eligible to receive a "Flights for 50" reward through our employee volunteer program, Do Crew. Flights for 50 rewards were created to support causes and organizations that are important to our employees. When American Airlines employees volunteer 50 hours, in a calendar year, with eligible nonprofit organizations, the benefit organizations will be eligible to apply for in-kind travel. Should BDPA Education and Technology Foundation have an American Airlines employee actively volunteering, please ask them about the Do Crew program and how they may designate your organization for an award.

American applauds your dedication to the community. Although we are not able to offer a donation through our Corporate Giving Program, please accept our best wishes for much success.

American Airlines Community Relations

We are disappointed by this result, however, BETF will continue to aggressively seek out funding to support the 2016 Student Information Technology Education & Scholarship (SITES) program in New York.   Are there any employees of American Airlines willing to work with us on the 'Flights for 50' program?

Finally, we do ask our readers to consider making a secure online donation in support of BDPA New York right now!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Message from National BDPA President

Mike Williams
Good morning BDPA members. As my first official post as your National President, I just wanted to tell you how excited I am about BDPA and what's to come in 2016 and beyond.

Over the weekend the National Board of Directors engaged in some very productive discussions about our strategy, our finances, brand rejuvenation, and our upcoming conference in Atlanta. We also welcomed our new regional leaders and board members (Ashton Clark, Hayward West, Curtis Jenkins and William Smith) and Andreana Dunbar as our new secretary.

As we discussed our conference, we all agreed that our conference theme should be about connecting. During our conferences we connect generations of professionals, professionals with employers, vendors with companies, and people with each other. Lastly, in this digital world we live in, everything is connected in one way or the other. So, we thought it was fitting that the theme of our conference for 2016 be 'BDPA CONNECT'.

We also talked about leading from the top. What that means is that at the national level we want to support and enable chapters at the local level by providing tools they can use for member orientation, sponsorship pitches, and general information about BDPA that can then be re-purposed and used at your discretion. Soon we will be forwarding a presentation and brochures that every chapter can use to enable you to achieve your chapter objectives.

We have a lot ahead in 2016. Our collective goal at every level should be "to do better and be better" than we were last year. That is not to say that last year was not a successful one; in fact, it was very successful by all accounts, however, we must continue to raise the bar and our own expectations of ourselves. My challenge for myself and to all of you is that we raise the bar and our expectations. Let's hold ourselves and each other accountable in 2016.

Fear is something you can overcome, doubt is just giving up before you even tried. Change can cause fear but fear never prevents you from stepping forward. Let's step forward.

We are already the champions, we just need to go pick up our trophy. Let's go!

Mike Williams, president
National BDPA

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Bemley Scholar: Pandora Brown (Central State University)

Pandora Brown
Pandora Brown represented BDPA Columbus chapter as a member of the national High School Computer Competition (HSCC) team at the 2011 and 2012 championships. Her team surprised everyone by taking the bronze medal at the 2011 HSCC championship held in Chicago. She won a Dr. Jesse Bemley Scholarship for her BDPA performance that will be used during her sophomore year at Central State University where Pandora is majoring in criminal justice.

We asked Pandora to share her thoughts on her BDPA experience. She wrote,
"Joining BDPA had to be one of the best decisions I have ever made. When I joined I met new people, I got to travel, and I was also able to earn scholarship money. I would recommend BDPA to all students interested in stem. I feel as if it is a really good opportunity for students to network with Black business owners. Also I feel as if it creates a bigger window of opportunity for those who may need it."
Pandora plans to serve as an officer in the United States Air Force after graduation. She is a remarkable role model for other young women in the BDPA Student Information Technology Education & Scholarship (SITES) program. We want to increase the amount of money in our Bemley Scholarship Fund and we encourage our readers to take a moment to help us by making a secure online donation right away!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Fiat Chrysler Automotive Scholar: Austin Little (Morehouse College)

Austin Little
The Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) Scholarship for BDPA Students is intended to provide financial assistance to a graduating high school senior or college pursuing a degree in Information Technology (IT) or an IT related discipline. FCA agreed to work with BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF) to award four $2,500 scholarships in 2016. One of the scholarships is going to Austin Little, a junior at Morehouse College, majoring in Applied Physics and Electrical Engineering.

Throughout his college career, Austin has conducted research at Cornell University on efficient materials for Magneto-Restrictive Random Access Memory. In addition, he worked with Georgia Institute of Technology in computational fluid dynamics using numerical analysis techniques.

This scholarship is limited to BDPA students. Austin Little participated in the 2011 and 2012 National BDPA High School Computer Competition (HSCC) championship representing the city of Detroit. His team took home the silver medal in 2012.

2012 HSCC Team (Austin on the far right)
We asked Austin about his thoughts on his BDPA experience.
He wrote, "There is no single memory that serves as my testimony to BDPA. This organization has helped me grow as a future IT professional as well as establish lifelong personal relationships with people interested in the IT industry that look just like me."
Austin will stay in Atlanta this summer at the Georgia Institute of Technology developing a machine learning algorithm to automatically alert a wheelchair bound person when she needs to readjust seating positions. Upon graduation Austin wants to work in the field of Big Data Analytics.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

James Fields Will Use Bemley Scholarship to Attend Oklahoma Christian University

James Fields
James Fields was a member of the High School Computer Competition (HSCC) team trained by BDPA St. Louis chapter during his four years of high school. His chapter took home the silver medal at the 2012 HSCC championship. He earned a $1,000 Dr. Jesse Bemley Scholarship for his silver medal win. He will use that scholarship in support of his education at Oklahoma Christian University.
James wrote, "Going through high school, I knew design was always an interest for me. I took several graphic design and illustration classes, but there was something that I knew I was missing. I also longed for technical experience. I took several computer classes, starting with basic web page creation and entering the realm of programming, going all the way to AP and programming classes. Nearing the end of high school, I was employed for a time in a programming position, as well as several other nontechnical jobs. At Oklahoma Christian, I am currently studying animation, blending my technical experience and design aptitude. After college, I hope to get a job at a game company doing animation or character design."
We asked James to share his memories of the BDPA experience. He wrote,
BDPA St. Louis students & trainers at 2012 BDPA Conference
"The BDPA High School Computer Competition was a huge help to me both as a person and as a student of the technical sciences. I joined BDPA on recommendation by a close family friend. I did not have a lot of technical experience when I entered the program, but I left with a wealth of skills that are extremely relevant to the career I intend to end up pursuing. When I started BDPA, all I had was a desire to learn, no actual skills. When I left, I had learned not only technical skills that I would need, such as programming in a variety of languages conducive to web development, but also important interpersonal skills I would need. I can remember distinctly one year during a competition when I had an idea for our project that ultimately needed to be scrapped. I learned then that not all of my ideas will be a good fit for the project that I’m working on. BDPA taught me that sometimes, I need to sacrifice what I want for the good of the overall. BDPA gave me the ability to network in a professional environment, and helped me with my group problem solving skills, so that in the future, I will have a much easier time not just creating things, but being able to create things with other people, and how to deal with everyone in a group’s ideas and input and sort it all out."
We have asked James to consider applying for the 1st annual Wanda Everett BDPA Scholarship. Now, we will ask you to help us grow the Dr. Jesse Bemley Scholarship Fund for future 'James Fields' out there! Heck, it's my birthday wish!