Thursday, January 19, 2017

Message from BDPA Cincinnati Chapter President

Shawnda Peterson
Good morning all!

We had a good state of the union session last night. We were able to sign up three new individuals and hopefully have three move willing to join the organization. We discussed the national conference taking place in Cincinnati, Ohio during the week of July 26 - July 29. This is the first time in the 39 years the national conference has been taking place that it has been held in Cincinnati. This is a great accomplishment not only for our city but for our local chapter.
We have several interests with the media to do stories on several of the initiatives taking place inside of our organization. I hope everyone on the board will be willing if need to help speak and discuss some of the great things were are doing in the organization and how we are preparing for the conference. I hope everyone would be able to attend this year. The cost is $350/members and $450/non-members. and it is a strong possibility that your company will pay for your conference fees. I put in the request in this morning for me and I hope you do the same. Dr. Dalric Webb will be the local representative for the conference. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to him.

Debbie Sanders on January 11, 2017 stepped up to fill the board position as the VP of Finance. I would like everyone to please congratulate her on her new position when you have a chance. Thank you so much Debbie for stepping up in 2017 and we truly appreciate all your work.

We had an open forum with the group and here are some topics the members would like to see this year. If you know anyone who could possible speak on any of the topics please reach out to Aissatou Guisse.

Potential Topics included:
BDPA Cincinnati Program Meeting
  • Alexa app development 
  • AWS (Amazon Web Services)
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Cybersecurity
  • Datalake
  • DevOps - Mike Lively has volunteer to speak to the group again
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Internet of Things (including security)
  • Linux
  • Mobile application development and deployment
  • Network Security
  • Protecting websites from web scrapers
  • Recruitment Panel - This will be our February monthly meeting
  • Security

I would like a take a moment to thank all board members and members who make an effort to join the monthly meetings. I truly appreciate it. I look forward to a good 2017 and hope that we can continue some good work.

Shawnda Peterson, president
BDPA Cincinnati Chapter
(513) 549-6991
Twitter: @BDPACincinnati

Sunday, January 15, 2017

BDPA Cincinnati Computer Camp Orientation (2017)

Frank Hill (Cincinnati State) lead the BDPA Cincinnati Computer Camp Orientation on January 14, 2017. There were over 30 people in attendance for the orientation including four of our past High School Computer Competition (HSCC) students. BDPA Cincinnati plans to host the computer camp for the next 13 weeks thru April 8, 2017.

Here is the deck that Frank used at the orientation:

Frank reminded the audience,
"All, for my 18th consecutive year with BDPA, I got to interact with a new group of talented students with a bright future in front of them. I personally get a lot of energy and hope for the future when I work with young students. I additionally get joy when I see them succeed in life. BDPA can't take all of the credit for this, however, I think we are a building block. Adam Goines, one of our students last year and a freshman at University of Dayton, just got his first patent. Adam's mother who is an administrator at Cincinnati State introduced me to him two years ago. He stopped by my classroom a number of times to discuss technical projects that he was working on. Last year he joined the camp and received our training. We still have discussions on how to use micro-controllers for his projects at the University of Dayton.

For many Black students, we are the next best thing to getting a "leg-up" in a ever increasing technological society. The robot revolution will be in full force within the next five years. The great discussion about how to keep traditional manufacturing jobs in the USA is futile. I say this a lot to my students at Cincinnati State. The entire world is on a path to automation and our population is behind the curve.

I see my role for my remaining time on the earth as helping people, especially young people with the transition. I encourage all of you to make that direct connection with young lives. It makes a big difference in how they turn-out in life. I had people perform that function for me and for the past 40 years, I have had a strong desire to "pay it forward". Lastly BDPA is the organization that performs this function best. I checked!"

You can help these students by making a secure online donation in support of BDPA Cincinnati! We hope you can schedule some time to visit these students over the coming Saturdays. Just click here to let us know you'll be in attendance!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

BDPA College Student Overview

Earl Pace and David Wimberly founded BDPA in November 1975 as a local association. Within three years, the founders grew BDPA into a national organization with chapters in Philadelphia, Washington DC and Cleveland. Today, there are 46 chapters throughout the United States. One part of the BDPA legacy is our program for college students and college campuses. This is a program that enriches the opportunities for our students in a variety of post-secondary education institutions with a focus on low-and moderate-income communities.

31% of BDPA’s membership consists of college students. BDPA understands that its educational life cycle moves from the classroom to the boardroom. A major element of the educational life cycle resides with college students. Annual membership dues for college students are only $25 … a significant savings from the annual membership dues that adult professionals invest in BDPA membership.

BDPA established the college student program to teach advanced computer science and community responsibility to students from historically disadvantaged communities. There are four major components of our college student program that impact on the educational future of K-12 students:
  1. College Scholarships
  2. IT Showcase
  3. Internships and Entry-Level Jobs in IT Industry
  4. Mobile Application Showcase
Most of our 46 local BDPA chapters run programs that provide science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curriculum and experiences for young people of color in community colleges, 4-year colleges and vocational schools. These training programs include a monthly program meeting hosted by each local chapter that provides remarkable information from industry professionals as well as unique networking opportunities that are not replicated anywhere else in the community.

BDPA seeks to have more students in college studying STEM-related disciplines. BDPA created the BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF) in 1992 for the purpose of giving college scholarships to deserving high school students. Over 200 college scholarships valued at over $469,900 have been handed out by BDPA and BETF. In addition, BDPA created two programs that feature college students - IT Showcase (2003) and Mobile Application Showcase (2014). BDPA began the process to bridge the ‘digital divide’ before the term was widely known. BDPA recognizes that to close the gap of computer and technology literacy, minority youth must participate and compete in today’s digital economy. Otherwise, our youth run the risk of being obsolete in America’s workforce.

The BDPA college student program is intellectually challenging and builds self-esteem through the mastery of applied computer science. We create a foundation for academic and career success. BDPA trains our youth to use technology as a vehicle to learn skills and concepts beyond the technology itself. In essence it bridges the gap between long-term educational approach of the classroom and short-term skills experience of the workplace.

It is worth noting that all of these BDPA programs have an added advantage in our efforts to cultivate exceptional talent – we go beyond just providing programming and STEM-based skills. BDPA also trains these young people in project management, time management, public speaking, team-building and presentation skills. In summary, they learn the fundamentals of being an IT professional and personal leadership in the workplace.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Grant Declination: Michael & Susan Dell Foundation ($5,000)

BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF) worked with our BDPA Middle Tennessee chapter to submit a $5,000 grant proposal to the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. Our proposal was declined. The folks at the Dell Foundation wrote,

"Thank you for visiting the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation website and for submitting your request for funding.

Unfortunately, we cannot provide financial support for your project. Your proposal has been personally reviewed by a foundation program officer and consideration has been given for your objectives, past success and future vision. However, your project and organization is not aligned with our goals and strategies at this time.

While we wish we could help every organization in the world, we have chosen to align our work around specific geographies, missions and outcomes. We believe that to be effective given our mission and principles, we must focus our resources. Your program sounds very worthwhile; however, at this time, we must regretfully decline participation in this project.

We wish you the very best with your future endeavors."

Although we've won a $5,000 grant from the Dell Foundation in the past ... it wasn't meant to be this year. We will continue to work with BDPA Middle Tennessee chapter to find the funding that they need to send their students to the 2017 BDPA Technology Conference in Cincinnati, OH.

You can make a donation to support BDPA Middle Tennessee right now!

Monday, January 2, 2017

2015 National BDPA High School Computer Competition (HSCC) Rankings

2015 National HSCC Champions * BDPA Atlanta
The 2015 National BDPA High School Computer Competition (HSCC) championships were held in Washington DC. We had 15 teams competing in 2015. The two-day competition was fierce and we had a new champion from Atlanta! The 2014 HSCC Champion were from BDPA Atlanta and they earned HP laptops and a $2,000 Dr. Jesse Bemley Scholarship for attending college. They beat out the defending championship team from BDPA Washington DC and the team who placed won the silver medal at the 2014 competition from BDPA Greater Columbia.

The winning team from Atlanta included Cameron Reaves, Saket Shirsath and Yash Shirsath.

Here are the rankings for all 15 teams that competed in 2015 national HSCC championships with the scholarship winnings for each student in parenthesis:
  1. Atlanta ($2,000 Bemley Scholarship for each student)
  2. Washington DC ($1,500 scholarship)
  3. Greater Columbia ($1,000 scholarship)
  4. Southern Minnesota ($750 scholarship)
  5. New Jersey ($500 scholarship)
  6. St Louis
  7. Cincinnati
  8. Middle Tennessee
  9. Indianapolis
  10. Chicago
  11. Dallas
  12. Twin Cities
  13. Triangle
  14. New York
  15. Milwaukee
Our foundation seeks to increase the number of students that receive Bemley Scholarships. To do so, we need your help. Please consider making an online donation to help us interest young people in science and technology.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Introduce Yourself

Wayne Hicks, BETF Exec Director
Hotep! My vision for the BDPA Foundation blog is simple. I want you to feel that you learn about the vibrant programs and services offered by BDPA on a global basis. I want our blog to become a welcoming and interactive place for BDPA members and supporters to come together and share information with one another. Just relax for a moment in your hectic surfing through cyberspace ... relax and enjoy the vibe of our BETF-Blog.

We hope that our voice is a worthy one in the blogosphere. The BETF-Blog strives to share information that uplifts people of African descent throughout the information technology industry. There are a number of ways that you can stay connected in a timely manner. However, we realize that it is your voice that makes us better. Please comment freely on any post that you read here in the BETF-Blog.

If you have any questions, or want to promote your chapter or your technology-based blog then you can do so right here! Just leave a 'comment' to this post.

Kwanzaa: Imani ('Faith')

Habari Gani? Imani (ee-MAH-nee)!
Day 7. January 1

To believe with all our hearts in our parents, our teachers, our leaders, our people and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

When life seems to bring nothing but a string of defeats and disappointments, we've got to have faith that something good is still in store for us. With this faith, we can forge ahead and continue to put forth our best effort. Without it, we give up and accept what comes our way, good or bad. Our precious dreams begin to seem absurdities.

It is imperative that we see ourselves as worth and deserving of a good life. There may be rejections; it may take us a while; but as long as we stay in the game, there's every chance we'll score. On the sidelines, we can only watch as others do the work and the winning.

Perhaps it is time for us to celebrate this seventh principle of the Nguzo Saba principle, 'Imani'! Perhaps it is time ... as we enter for a new year ... to step out on faith.

On this day, I will spend five minutes to relax and visualize success in achieving one of my goals.

Those are my thoughts about Imani. Please take a moment to join this online Kwanzaa celebration with me. What do you think when Imani comes to mind?
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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Kwanzaa: Kuumba ('Creativity')

Habari Gani? Kuumba (koo-OOM-bah)!
Day 6.  December 31

Using creativity and imagination to make your communities better than what you inherited.

I don't consider myself to be 'creative' in the normal sense.  I haven't written many poems in my life.  I don't create original artwork of any kind.  I don't create my own songs.   I imagine that I'm not unlike many of you.  I suspect that many of you join me in feeling confined in the roles we play, expected to conform to the expectations of others.

However, God gave each of us 'wings' on which to fly our personal journey.  Caged, we can do little more than flutter those heavenly wings in frustration.  We must sing to give vent to our misery, to express ourselves and to create beauty in our own world.

We all need to find outlets for our stifled selves.  In the act of creating, we enter an almost meditative state where our troubles cease to exist and our spirit heals and fortifies.

Painting, playing an instrument, or writing a poem my readily occur to us as means of creative expression, but so are blogging, gardening, cooking, or quilting -- whatever appeals to our individual natures.

Perhaps it is time for us to celebrate this sixth principle of the Nguzo Saba principle, 'Kuumba'! Perhaps it is time ... as we prepare for a new year ... to allow our creative natures to breathe a little more.  Perhaps it is time for each of us to allow the caged bird inside of ourselves to sing ... to fly.

On this day, I will do something artfully.  I will write a letter, make a pencil sketch, or just rearrange one of my rooms in a different way.

Those are my thoughts about Kuumba. Please take a moment to join this online Kwanzaa celebration with me. What do you think when Kuumba comes to mind?


Friday, December 30, 2016

Kwanzaa: Nia ('Purpose')

Habari Gani? Nia!
Day 5, December 30

To make as our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.

Can any hill stand between you and your beloved? No. Especially if it is your purpose or goal to be with that person. Of course, there are hills in life. Heck, sometimes there are mountains. But when life is good, it seems like there are no hills. Why? Because, like a baby driven to walk, we are undeterred by the obstacles between us and our goal.

African Americans have certainly had our share of disappointments and setbacks. But, we have learned that when we are really focused, nothing can hold us back. When we believe that our goal is worth and that we are worthy to achieve it, we are more than halfway there. We need only plant our feet on the road and keep moving forward.

Perhaps it is time for us to celebrate this fifth principle of the Nguzo Saba principle, 'Nia'! Perhaps it is time ... as we prepare for a new year ... to set written goals for all of the areas of our life: family, financial, health and spiritual. If not now, when? We can always do more to set and seek out specific goals in life, because we all benefit when our brothers and sisters succeed.

On this day, I will do at least one thing that will help me accomplish one of my goals.

Those are my thoughts about Nia. Please take a moment to join this online Kwanzaa celebration with me. What do you think when Nia comes to mind?


Thursday, December 29, 2016

Kwanzaa: Ujamaa ('Cooperative Economics')

Habari Gani? Ujamaa!

To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them.

Cooperative economics can help African Americans take physical control of their own destinies. Did you know that 95% of all earnings in the Black community ends up in the hands of non-Black people? Is it any wonder that when one community has $1.95 and our community has a nickel ... that one community is more respected by local government; has better police relations; has better schools; has better economic outcomes? Perhaps it is time for us to celebrate this fourth principle of the Nguzo Saba principle, 'Ujamaa'!

We can always do more to support our people, because we all benefit when our brothers and sisters succeed. If it means going a block farther to a Black-owned store, let's do it. And if the quality of the merchandise or service disappoints us, let's communicate that to the owner so we give her every chance to rectify the situation and count on us as a permanent customer.

Let's buy books and albums by African Americans, and go to movies by African American directors. Remember the simple saying, "Put your money where your mouth is." Let's show support, and not decry the lack of it.

Those are my thoughts about Ujamaa. Please take a moment to join this online Kwanzaa celebration with me. What do you think when Ujamaa comes to mind?