Monday, July 21, 2014

36th Annual National BDPA Technology Conference (August 5-9, 2014)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Oracle Scholarship for BDPA Students

Explore ORACLE Scholarships and New Opportunities with National BDPA

Apply on or before Tuesday
July 29, 2014

National BDPA 2014 ORACLE Scholarship Program
Overview:  BDPA scholarship program, generously supported through sponsorships, offers over $100,000 annually in cash awards for qualified students and BDPA Members.
National BDPA currently offers scholarships to those studying technology related curricula at institutions of higher learning. National BDPA also sponsors scholarships to promote professionalism and the advancement of careers for technology professionals.
Discover more through National BDPA, local BDPA Chapters, bdpatoday, and BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF) to learn about the variety of ways National BDPA and Industry partners support access to education and professional development opportunities.
Other scholarships available to BDPA members are offered via BETF. Select below to visit your link to their landing page for other scholarships:

 Who Should Apply
Students majoring in or pursuing careers in Engineering, Computer and Information Science, Computer Engineering or Mathematics.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Message from National BDPA President

Greetings BDPA Family!

It’s been a few months since my last report to you. We are halfway through the 2014 BDPA year and the leadership team has been busy at work. I wanted to stop and share with you a few highlights of what has been happening thus far. The following are a list of initiatives, requests and accomplishments that the team is very proud of. We are continuously moving forward and the organization is already showing favor based on these items.
  1. The leadership team has been asked to review and update all of the Standard Operating Procedures of the organization. This is important because most of these documents have not been updated since 2005. This means that the organization has been operating following the same procedures for almost 10 years! By updating these procedures, we can incorporate more efficient ways of providing better services to our local chapter leadership and membership.

  2. The decision has been made to reorganize the National Office. The objectives of this reorganization is to identify areas where improvements can be made to accomplish the following:
    • Better support a Volunteer Leadership Team
    • Generate data that can be used long term to maintain quality control
    • Improve efficiency of day-to-day operations
    • Improve overall customer service (internally and externally)
    • Lower costs wherever possible

  3. The CIO has been reviewing the organization’s technological needs and looking for solutions to balance workloads and increase productivity/efficiency. The following solutions have been implemented and are being rolled out for utilization:
    • Bizzabo Event Mobile Application ( – This technology will make BDPA events and networking even better than before. It offers a wide range of configurable components that will help to captivate, motivate and inspire BDPA conference attendees like never before when it is launched at the 2014 National Conference! The following are a few benefits that will be available:
      • Conference agenda will be at the participant’s fingertips throughout the conference.
      • Conference attendees will be able to network and interact with each other through the app (shared feedback) and via social media.
      • Conference attendees will have access to venue maps and location finders at all times.
      • Conference speaker profiles will be available for review 24x7.
    • Smart Sheets ( – This is a collaboration tool that will assist the leadership team with improving its management responsibilities.

  4. During this year’s national conference, in addition to the High School Computer Competition (HSCC) program that showcases the talents of our students so successfully, students will have the opportunity to compete in a Mobile App Showcase sponsored by State Farm. This year’s showcase will act as a pilot and will be conducted with a small group of students. The results will help the leadership team determine the best way to implement the program full-scale during future conferences.

  5. The leadership team is working towards building strategic partnerships with other organizations to help strengthen the BDPA programs and member services, bringing a stronger value proposition to its members. Partnerships with the following organizations are being considered:
    • BEYA
    • CODE2040
    • HBCU Career Development Marketplace
    • ITSMF
    • MainStreet Inclusion Advisors
    • NSBE
    • PEM
    • TechGirlz

  6. The leadership team is looking for ways to increase the awareness of BDPA member services, attacking the 'best kept secret' scenario that has existed for many, many years. The team is looking into ways to:
    • Increase collaboration with similar organizations (Strategic Partnerships)
    • Increase use of social media
    • Re-brand the organization (coming /soon)
    • Improve the BDPA Website

  7. The leadership team has developed and implemented a new BDPA Social Media Strategy and Policy that is currently available for chapters to implement locally. It was created to increase the organization’s social media presence and promote its messages. Analytics already show that interest in BDPA has increased.
RECRUITMENT of volunteers has been the key to success within BDPA. As a team, recruiting volunteers with the skill sets needed to keep progress going has made all the difference. Stay tuned for more information on how to recruit for success within BDPA! I am writing a series of documents that will show you how this can work on the chapter level.

We all have a responsibility to increase awareness of the BDPA Brand. The benefits are wide spread. We can vastly improve the BDPA member value proposition through improved services, stronger programs and collaborative initiatives.

Please visit the BDPA website ( and meet the National Leadership Team. Thanks for your support and it continues to be a pleasure to serve as your National President!

Craig Brown, PhD, President
National BDPA

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

36-Year History of BDPA Conference Themes

One of the beautiful things about being a past national BDPA president is that you have a treasure chest of history in your files. One of the beautiful things about having a blog is that you can create a repository for an organization's history. No other excuse is necessary!

Please enjoy this documentation of the 36-year history of BDPA Conference themes and locations:

  • 2014, Race to Innovate, Indianapolis, IN
  • 2013, Diverse Opportunities in the Age of Convergence Washington, DC
  • 2012, Transforming the IT Professional,  Baltimore, MD
  • 2011, Ignite, Inspire & Empower: The GPS of Future Technologists, Chicago, IL
  • 2010, Access for All, Philadelphia, PA
  • 2009, Challenges for Today; Strategies for Tomorrow, Raleigh, NC
  • 2008, Harnessing Emerging Technologies to Advance IT Careers, Atlanta, GA
  • 2007, Global Strategy for the IT Professional, Washington, DC
  • 2006, Picturing the Future of Information Technology, Los Angeles, CA
  • 2005, Driving Innovation, Bringing Value and Embracing Change, Detroit, MI
  • 2004, BDPA: Securing Our Future Through Technology, Dallas, TX
  • 2003, Information Technology: From the Classroom to the Boardroom, Philadelphia, PA
  • 2002, Changing the Culture of IT: From Access to Ownership, Orlando, FL
  • 2001, Empowering the Nation Through Information, Chicago, IL
  • 2000, Taking IT to the Net: From High-Tops to High-Tech, Washington, DC
  • 1999, Closing the Gap in Information Technology, Atlanta, GA
  • 1998, Unveiling the Magic of Emerging Technologies, Orlando, FL
  • 1997, Looking at Tomorrow, Today, Houston, TX
  • 1996, Building World Class Skills for Information Technology, Atlanta, GA
  • 1995, Linking Business, Education and Technology, Philadelphia, PA
  • 1994, Unleashing the Power of a Creative People, Cleveland, OH
  • 1993, Cultivating Tomorrow's Leaders in the Heart of America, Kansas City, MO
  • 1992, Shaping the Information Technology Professional: Current and Future, Detroit, MI
  • 1991, BDPA Getting to the Core of Technology, New York, NY
  • 1990, Education and Technology Bonding for Excellence, Washington, DC
  • 1989, Ideas in the Making, Los Angeles, CA
  • 1988, Growth and Success by Designs, Chicago, IL
  • 1987, A Bridge to Success, New Orleans, LA [photo to the right shows young Earl Pace, Norman Mays and others at 1987 conference]
  • 1986, Securing Your Professional Future, Atlanta, GA
  • 1985, A Decade of Professional Growth, Philadelphia, PA
  • 1984, Information Processing: A Vote for the Future, Cleveland, OH
  • 1983, Rise to the Challenge, Newark, NJ
  • 1982, Entrepreneurship: A Successful Attitude, Detroit, MI
  • 1981, Growth Through Professional Association, Philadelphia, PA
  • 1980, A New Era of Minority Involvement in Data Processing, Washington, DC
  • 1979, The Role of the Black Technical Organization, Washington, DC

My Conference Memories: I've attended 22 of these conferences. I remember being blown away by the massive gathering of African American IT professionals when I attended my first national conference in Chicago (1988). I was amazed at the passion and energy displayed at the national BDPA board of directors meeting. I met Vivian Wilson at this meeting. Vivian is one of the best people that I've ever known and I am grateful to have served as her national BDPA vice president when she was the National BDPA president.
My favorite conference was the one held in Detroit (2005). It was my final year as national president. My mom and oldest daughter both were in attendance ... and we were able to bring together many of the past national presidents for recognition at the Awards Gala. Yep ... that was my favorite BDPA conference!

How many of these conferences have you attended? What is your favorite memory from these past four decades of national BDPA conferences?

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Bemley Scholar Austin Little Continues STEM-Based Education at Morehouse College

Austin Little
BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF) proudly announces that a Dr. Jesse Bemley Scholarship has been awarded to Austin Little. Austin earned the Bemley Scholarship as a result of the silver medal won by the team trained by BDPA Detroit chapter at the 2011 National High School Computer Competition (HSCC) championships. The scholarship will be used to participate in Morehouse College’s dual degree engineering program where he will obtain degrees in mathematics and operations research. With these two undergraduate degrees, Austin hopes to matriculate into a doctoral program in operations research. From there he will explore in the areas of consulting, research, and professorship.

Austin agreed to share his remembrance of the HSCC experience:

Growing up in West Bloomfield, Michigan most of the kids in my neighborhood were asleep on Saturday mornings while I was at Wayne State University taking engineering classes. I have always had an interest in engineering and technology. My father introduced me to technology because he believed I would benefit from the knowledge. He was right in following his instinct because I participated in very selective programs that developed my critical thinking and curiosity. The challenge for me was to maintain balance, and I did this by participating in sports, the community, civic groups, and school organizations. My involvement in sports, technology programs, community service and school organizations helped shape the person I am today.

In addition to being involved in sports my entire life, I have also been involved in DAPCEP (Detroit Area Pre College Engineering Program) since kindergarten. Through this program, I have been exposed to technology such as QBasic and VEX Robotics. QBasic exposed me to the world of programming, and this is when I realized I would like to major in Operations Research.

I remember my father forcing me to attend the BDPA Detroit chapter informational session for HSCC. However after the first class period, I became extremely interested building websites and programming. Even though giving up Saturday’s to a five-hour programming class sounds rough, I left each class hungry for more knowledge so that I could try new ideas at home.

2011 HSCC Team (Detroit)
The entire HSCC experience was one like no other. The length of the classes and the entire program required tremendous sacrifice, but each hour in and outside the classroom was worth the skills I obtained. To this day I still think back to my HSCC class periods and wish I could go back. Outside of the programming and web design skills, I also learned valuable team work and time management skills. Working in a high-pressure environment provided me with experience few other programs can replicate.

Although I am no longer directly involved in computer science, I still use my programming skills and they will be instrumental in my future study interests.

BETF is proud to support young people like Austin! However, we need your support. Please take a moment to make a secure online donation in support of the Dr. Jesse Bemley Scholarship Fund so we can help more young squires like Austin!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Tech Expresso Cafe, 7/12/2014 (Dr. Craig Brown)

One of the fastest-growing media outlets for BDPA information is the Internet radio show, 'Tech Expresso Cafe'. This show is hosted by BDPA members Jacqueline Sanders and David Blackman. Our blog is pleased to promote the good works of Tech Expresso Cafe whenever possible.

National BDPA president Dr. Craig Brown was the featured guest on the July 12, 2014 webcast. Dr. Brown gave an update on the work and progress that's been made including process improvement, customer service improvement, efficiency, new tools, new partnerships, more member services, connecting people to more programs, new strategies and more scholarships! The webcast provided a great opportunity for BDPA members and sponsors to ask questions to Dr. Brown on a wide variety of topics ... and it gave him a chance to share some tips and techniques for getting a piece of the STEM and technology fortune that is out there!

New Technology Internet Radio with Tech Expresso Cafe on BlogTalkRadio

What was your 'greatest learning' from this webcast?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Deloitte Renews BDPA Bronze Level Sponsorship

Deloitte renewed its Bronze level sponsorship commitment to BDPA for at least the eighth year in a row. The investment includes participation at the 36th annual National BDPA Technology Conference on August 5-9, 2014 in Indianapolis.
"On behalf of the National BDPA leadership team and its stakeholders, it is my honor and privilege to welcome Deloitte as a Bronze Level Sponsor. We thank Deloitte for their commitment, continued support and contributions. It is with the support of sponsors like Deloitte that BDPA continues forward with our mission to impact our members lives through science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)," said Dr. Craig Brown, National BDPA president.
BDPA is the premier organization for African American professionals and students in the information technology industry. For almost 40 years, BDPA has fulfilled its mission by bridging the digital divide and providing career growth opportunities for its members. Today, BDPA is the largest African American information technology association in the U.S. and the largest national non-profit organization continually involved in training students underrepresented in STEM education across the country.

Deloitte is the brand under which dedicated professionals in independent firms throughout the world collaborate to provide audit, consulting, financial advisory, risk management, and tax services to selected clients. For more than 100 years, clients have relied on Deloitte and its predecessor organizations for solutions to their ever-changing needs. Fortune and BusinessWeek consistently rank Deloitte among the best places to work, which is good news for their talent and clients alike. When the best people tackle the most compelling challenges, everyone wins.
Kendall Norris
Kendall Norris, Deloitte PMO leader stated, "Deloitte is proud to be a long term sponsor of BDPA and supports its mission of developing professionals and students interested in the Computer Science and Information Technology fields."
To learn more about BDPA sponsorship opportunities, please contact BDPA Corporate Sales Team by email ( or phone (301) 584-3135 x108.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

This Week in BDPA (July 6-12, 2014)

BDPA offers strong programs in 46 cities around the nation. Are you taking advantage of these programs? Here is a weekly preview of upcoming events gathered from the centralized BDPA calendar:
Please let us know of other BDPA events 
that we may have missed! 
You can always find BDPA programs, services or networking activity online at places such as:
BDPA supports your efforts for career advancement in the IT industry. Our hope is that you find reasons to provide tax-deductible support to our Causes, our HSCC Scholarship Funds or Your Causes! We encourage all BDPA leaders to take advantage of the centralized BDPA Groupsite Calendar to post your upcoming events.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Bemley Scholar Pooja Chebula Matriculates to University of Southern California

Pooja Chebula
Pooja Chebula is a 3-time member of the national high school computer competition (HSCC) team trained by our BDPA Los Angeles. She earned a Dr. Jesse Bemley Scholarship for the high-level of performance with her team in the 2012 and 2013 HSCC championships. Pooja informed us of her enrollment to the University of Southern California (Class of 2018) seeking her degree in Computer Science and Business Administration.

Pooja is fascinated with creating technology to help society. She is intrigued by methods to mine and correlate data to revolutionize dimensions of information management, especially as applied to health care. She wants to help ensure that the society we build with the Internet is the sort we intend. Dreams are the sine qua non of success and by joining a creative enterprise that encourages "out of the box" thinking, Pooja seeks to discover her passions and help engineer a brighter, healthier, and sustainable tomorrow.

We asked Pooja to share remembrances of her BDPA experiences with us:

My life had been overtaken by a virus. A computer virus, that is.

Los Angeles (2011)
In January, 2011, I enrolled in an extracurricular computer programming course sponsored by BDPA. Little did I imagine that only a few months later, bitten by the computer bug and effectively enamored of coding, I would serve as the program manager for the Los Angeles High School Computer Competition (HSCC) team and lead our chapter to several regional victories. As we qualified for the national HSCC, our instructors had high expectations that, for the first time in our chapter's history, we would discover our Midas touch and bring home the golden trophy. The thought of partaking in a national competition was quite daunting in itself, but being expected to win while competing against experienced teams made the journey a stressful one.

2011 HSCC Team
As we entered Chicago's Hilton hotel for the opening session of the national conference, we certainly felt like the underdogs. The HSCC consisted of three sections: an oral, written, and programming portion. While our team flew through the first two sections, we faced grave difficulties in the programming portion. The 2011 business case called for the development of a custom Laptop purchasing application akin to At first glance, I was relieved to note that we were capable of executing nearly all of the functionality requirements. As we delved into the actual coding, however, I discovered that the case was far more complex than it had initially seemed. Cut off from the rest of the world and without access to the Internet, we were trapped: we simply did not understand the presented database schema. Unable to create the application without a clear understanding of the database relations, we essentially accepted defeat within the first few hours of the competition and solely coded preliminary pages of the site that did not involve convoluted database linkages. Naturally, we were shellacked in the competition, emerging a petty fourteenth place out of seventeen competing teams.

As project manager, I felt especially guilty as we landed in LAX and prepared to relay the news of our disappointing loss to our eagerly awaiting parents. I had failed my team: some of my teammates not only bid goodbye to one another, but they also left the programming field altogether. In striving for the prize, we had lost sight of the bigger picture, of valuing our newly acquired programming knowledge and enjoying our HSCC experience. Engulfed in the minute details of database linkages, I had led my team astray. Had I instead encouraged my team to build the entire application with dummy pages, we might have demonstrated our programming aptitude and felt content with our efforts. With one decision stemming from my poor lack of judgment, eight months of our toil had been rendered worthless.

As I ruminated over our performance in the following months, I noted that while mistakes are a part of life, we certainly had learned much from the experience. Practice does make perfect, and our team simply was not ready to compete against accomplished programmers: we were severely inhibited by our lack of programming experience. I was naturally disappointed with the news of our placement, but my rather embarrassing loss gave me the motivation to expand my programming skill set and the tenacity to adapt and implement various solutions.
2012 HSCC Team
As our newly woven team strove for contentment rather than accolades in the 2012 HSCC, success naturally followed suit such that we emerged as the third place winners and the year after secured first place in programming (second overall). If you learn from a loss, I discovered through the 2011 HSCC, you have not failed. As Richard Bach aptly concludes, "Losing, in a curious way, is winning."

National HSCC Silver Medalists (2013)

It had taken three years to truly implement the lessons from my failure, but I finally emerged victorious.

Once bitten, thrice shy, I suppose!