Thursday, December 31, 2009
Many of the post offices will postmark your application up until a certain time. Check with your local post office to see which one is open the latest and what is the latest time to get postdated for "January 15, 2010". Please note, postdated is only if the colleges/universities states it in the application guidelines or you might have to ensure that the received by the deadline date.
Since 1983, more than 4,000 teachers have been recognized for their contributions to mathematics and science education. If you know great teachers, nominate them to join this prestigious network of professionals. It would be great to see teachers that support BDPA nominated this time!
The deadline for 2010 award nominations is May 1, 2010.
What is Net Neutrality?
Net Neutrality is the idea that the Internet should always remain an unrestricted information and communication portal. That like streets and highways, the internet should be open and available for anyone to use and that it should continue to provide an equal platform for all voices.
What are the challenges to Net Neutrality?
The challenge to Net Neutrality is that several major telecom companies (such as AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Time Warner) are currently seeking to monetize the internet. Access to technologies, sites, applications, and speeds, would be limited and tiered by a fee structure with the fastest speeds and best access reserved for those companies or organizations that paid a premium rate. Akin to television, where you have public access, broadcast, basic cable, and premium cable channels, these telecom companies are seeking to divide the internet along the same basic lines. Under the structure they seek to create, these telecom companies would be able to change they way you and I access the internet; providing packages that favored their sites, products, search engines, and platforms, while at the same time slowing down or limiting access to the services, sites, and applications of their competitors.
Why should I care about Net Neutrality?
Net Neutrality is a concept that is embedded in the way we view the internet. The Internet provides everyone who owns or has access to a computer an equal opportunity to render their thoughts and opinions into the public sphere. It is the great equalizer - giving everyone the opportunity to "tell their own story". The Internet is changing the way that we see and understand the world around us; giving us immediate access to voices, video, pictures, documents, and first-hand accounts of events. The internet does not have an editor. The internet is not concerned with market share. The internet does not use talking points. The internet does not spin. The internet is simply an open platform, where anyone who has a story can tell it, and anyone else who has an interest can listen. It is the 21st century Hyde Park speaker's corner; a true digital soapbox...
On the Internet, community organizations and ordinary citizens don't have to worry about whether or not the local paper or television stations feel their issues are "newsworthy" or if they have sufficient appeal to the larger community: This a shared space, where we each can speak to our respective constituencies without having to meet the approval of some editorial board or telecom company, and without having to pay to speak. Our voices and our stories are posted on equal footing, using the same technologies, which are accessible at the same speeds, and available to the same audience, as those posted by national media organizations, government officials, or the Telecom companies themselves.
Currently, the Internet allows everyone to speak freely with no gatekeepers deciding which voices should be amplified and which others should be silenced. Money does not enhance your message, nor does the lack of money diminish it. There are no gatekeepers deciding which sites should be freely accessible, and which should have limited access. There are no gatekeepers deciding whose data and content will run fast and whose should run slowly. There are no financial limitations on speakers and content providers (ordinary people like you and I). There is no overseer to decide if you'd paid enough money to host those videos, or to post those pictures. But the plans proposed by the telecom companies would change all that. Under the guise of honoring the "free market", the Telecom companies and their supporters seek to introduce fee structures, tiered access, and content packaging. This is why we need Net Neutrality.
What do opponents say about Net Neutrality?
The "Government Takeover" Argument: Critics argue that Net Neutrality legislation represents a 'government takeover' of the Internet. They claim that the Internet is now a Free Market System and should be allowed to continue in its current state without Government interference. The obvious problem with this argument is that the Telecom companies have made it clear that they do not want to see the Internet continue in its current state. They are proposing a change to a tiered system as I have described above. Net Neutrality legislation would not "take over the Internet" and change it to a new system; it would simply safeguard the system we currently have. It would codify the principles of an open and free Internet into law and prevent Internet providers from blocking, speeding up or slowing down Web content based on its source, ownership or destination.
The "Corporate Welfare" Argument: Groups like Hands off the Internet and NetCompetition.org argue that Net Neutrality is akin to a corporate welfare scheme that would benefit the Silicon Valley crowd; forcing everyone to subsidize the expansion of bandwidth and capacity which in turn Silicon Valley would use sans the costs of development. They argue that speed and capacity are expensive so those who need it should pay for it. In other words, pay to play - let everyone have access to the net but scale their speed and capacity according to their 'need' and budget. That way the Silicon Valley crowd could have their lighting fast connection speeds because they'd be paying for them, smaller companies could purchase the speed and capacity they needed on a lesser scale, and ordinary folks could have a 'level of access' suitable for our need and budget. (Again, think television: Premium Channels, Basic Cable, Network Television, and Public Access). The problem with this argument is that it assumes that people are merely 'content consumers' and not 'content providers'. The real power of the internet is that it allows ordinary citizens to be content providers. Its one thing to offer lower bandwidth and slower speeds for downloads and surfing, but when you think in terms of content providers (people who use blogs, social networks, web sites, you tube etc) scaling their bandwidth and speed to match their bank accounts artificially prioritizes some voices over others. Those with money would speak louder; their voices heard faster, their messages accessed easier, their messages better enabled with video and streaming content. Those without money would be relegated to the cyberspace equivalent of public television; Slow uploads, poorly enabled, with lesser capacity and lessened access.
The first step is to educate yourself. You should begin by reading HR3458 - The Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2009. Please, take the time to read the whole text, because to effectively advocate for the bill, we must fully understand it. The telecom companies have already spent millions of dollars to lobby Congress and the FCC against Net Neutrality, so it's critical that we understand not only why the bill is important, but also why our opponents are wrong.
Second, you should contact your Representative to let them know that you support Net Neutrality and that you want them to vote in favor of HR3458.
And lastly, stay informed... Visit savetheinternet.com and sign the petition; add your voice to the 1.6 million people who have already come out in favor of Net Neutrality...
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Odaro Ighodaro is currently attending Ithaca College. However, back in 2003, young Odaro was a member of the national high school computer competition team from New York City. We asked him to share his thoughts as an HSCC alumni. Here is what he had to say,
"The summer of 2003, 'it was the best of times, the worst of times, the age of wisdom, the age of foolishness, the spring of hope, and the winter of despair.' It was the beginning of the National BDPA Technology Conference. Young people from around the country came to compete at the annual national HSCC conference held in Pennsylvania.Feel free to use the POST A COMMENT feature below to share encouragement with Odaro, his teammates and others from the BDPA New York chapter! And if you have a digital photo of Odaro Ighodaro ... please pass it along!
My name is Odaro Ighodaro, a student of Boys and Girls Highs School. Today, I am a senior in Boys and Girls, but tomorrow a college freshman. At the Conference, I was the "Lead Coder." It was the moment and the hour I had been waiting for. Many people appeared terrified. However, I was calm, and did my best to make the team feel the same. When we met with difficulties times, we remained a team, and looked for and found strength. This was not my first competition; nor was it my last. During my recess time, I had fun, and still was able to demonstrate my love for computers, and knowledge. I was also able to interact with people of different cultures, and lifestyles.
Have I learned a lot, and am I thankful? Seriously yes. People can do so much for you, and in life you do not always get that. The members of BDPA helped me realize the importance of being educated, being committed, and being devoted. I especially want to thank Mrs. Lane, Mr. Dakers, Mr. Mills and Ms. Hamilton and my teammates. God bless everyone, for their patience.
There are over 200 postings and thousandths of opportunities. Apply Now!!!
Please share with others. A wise man always ventures out and look at all options and gets his or her best thrill out of helping others. I challenge you to make a difference in all students/parents lives and not just only you. Pass it on does work. Regardless what you might need, in the end, "Knowledge is Power" if used properly and the best gift is to share it with others.
When deciding on getting help for the ACT/SAT, ask yourself one question: Does the group or individuals teaches methods and techniques or do I come out only getting answers for the current workshop? The answer should be methods and techniques. In order to prepare for anything you must know how to do it. It always good to invest in learning than guessing. The choice is yours.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Students from the 9th - 12th grade can apply.
YouTube is a powerful communication vehicle. BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF) wants to figure out a way to leverage YouTube to broadcast our message to current and future donors. Ura Puranda is leading our efforts in this area. This slideshow provides an overview of the YouTube project that Ura is leading for us:
We are novices in this arena. Please contact us if you have suggestions or ideas for us to consider.
Monday, December 28, 2009
BDPA exists to advance the careers of African Americans from the classroom to the boardroom. It makes me smile when I see examples of BDPA living up to its mission and vision. It makes me work twice as hard to be successful at raising funds for the BDPA Foundation Endowment Fund so that we can impact on this mission for many decades to come.
Recently, I crossed paths with a young woman who competed in the national BDPA high school computer competition in 1999-2000. In fact, she and her teammates, trained by BDPA Detroit chapter, won the 2000 national HSCC championship held in Washington DC. Her name is Veronica Taylor. She began her BDPA odessey at the age of 14 ... winning the national championship when she was 16 ... and now she is a 24-year old international superstar living and working in Paris, France.
Take a moment to enjoy her HSCC testimonial:
After receiving an email from a member of BDPA asking for a short bio of what I have been up to, I could not help but take a spin down memory lane. Looking through old photos from the computer competitions that my team won (and lost -- I will never forget Chicago!), I really began to realize the impact that the years I spent working with BDPA had on my life. My participation in the program was more for me than just a way to develop my understanding of technology – and the role that minorities can and should play.
After my BDPA High School Computer Competition days were over, I went on to study Political Theory & Constitutional Democracy at Michigan State University, with a second specialization in the French language. Though I did not intend to follow the IT track, I did manage to work throughout college in IT (mainly networking) to help pay my way through.
During my 3rd year at MSU, I decided that I wanted to immerse myself in the language, so I moved to France for a year to study French history and literature. As it often goes with Paris, I fell in love with it. So, I finished my 4th year at MSU, then moved back to Paris to teach English to inner-city (most newly-arrived African immigrants) kids for a year.
Once the teaching program ended, my new life in Paris was just getting started! So, I began to think of ways to stay and make a living. I called on my training received whilst with BDPA, and the professional experience gained throughout college. And here I am, working in the IT department (mainly in support & testing/development) at the New York Stock Exchange/Euronext Paris office.
BDPA is a valuable experience for young people for many reasons. We learned how to work hard towards an objective in a team-oriented environment. In the training leading up to all of our competitions, we learned to be resourceful, and use what skills we had available. So, this is what I’ve been up to – using many of the skills that I’ve acquired during my experience with BDPA.
PS – I will be happy to show you guys around should you decide to have the National Conference in my neighborhood someday.
Graduate, Michigan State University (Class of 2006)
BDPA HSCC Alumni (Class of 1999-2000)
Did any of you attend the 1999 BDPA conference (Chicago) or 2000 BDPA conference (Washington DC)? Are you a current or former BDPA Detroit chapter member? Do you have thoughts on how we can reach out to more students with scholarships or youth education programs?
I hope that those of you reading this testimonial will take a moment to share your thoughts via the COMMENTS link below.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
- How did you get involved in working with BDPA? - My reason for joining BDPA was very selfish. I wanted to meet someone near Los Angeles to network with when I traveled to California to support the project management software package my company was using. Ruffin Bell brought my attention to a BDPA advertisement. After reviewing an advertisement I realized there was a BDPA chapter in Los Angeles. I decided to check the organization out so that I could locate someone to network with. I actually met the BDPA member at the 1993 national conference and we have been friends for 16 years.
- What is the most rewarding aspect of working with BDPA? - The most rewarding aspects of working with BDPA has been the mentoring, support and measurable outreach provided to young people in our Quiz Bowl, High School Computer Competition (HSCC) and college chapter programs.
- Tell us about a defining moment in your life? - A personal defining BDPA moment occurred for me when I realized there was a lack of computer terminology knowledge from our students in the HSCC program. After watching my 4th grade daughter compete in a Black History Quiz Bowl at her school it dawned on me that we could create a feeder program at the middle school level. That vision resulted in the BDPA Richmond Middle School Computer Quiz Bowl competition that has now been in existence since 1998. Many of the students from this middle school program eventually migrate to our chapter's high school programs. [EDITOR'S NOTE: BDPA Richmond chapter is now mentoring elementary school students in robotics].
- Who is your hero and why? - My company relocated me to Phoenix before I was downsized. However, it was at that moment that a remarkable opportunity dropped right in my lap. In less than 4 months I was able to take over a successful business located one block from my new home. There is only one hero and that is my Savior. I give Him all the praise!
- Any advice for people considering donation to BETF? - As a long-time BDPA member, it is evident that the financial support provided by BETF to BDPA education programs has made a huge impact in terms of our impact on young people. BETF financial support provides BDPA with ability to successfully provide technology skills needed by students in preparation for college. This has been very evident from the students who reached back to help other students through the BDPA technology programs over the years.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Raytheon’s philanthropic interests are strategically focused on math and science education. They give preference to regional projects that serve the broader community in locations where they have major facilities. Organizations recognized as tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service code are eligible.
We anticipate having an answer before the end of January 2010.
Friday, December 25, 2009
One aspect of the program is the annual High School Computer Competition (HSCC). I'm pleased to introduce you to one of our HSCC alumni -- Lisa Minott. Lisa represented her chapter on the national team in 1996 and 1997. Her team won the national HSCC championship in 1997. She went on to graduate with a degree from the University of Connecticut in Management Information Systems.
Here is her testimonial:
I believe the greatest gifts you can give children are to believe in them, and to expose them to life’s infinite possibilities. I attended an informational about BDPA Hartford’s training program while only in the seventh grade, but it set me on a path that changed the course of my life. Over the next five years, I went from having a cursory knowledge of computers, to understanding core programming constructs, and developed better problem solving, and presentation skills. I built a level of confidence that blossomed from the attention and encouragement of the Hartford chapter’s mentors. Young professionals themselves at the time, they spent countless hours patiently teaching us and took a personal interest in each of our lives.
I was a member of the program for two years before I was old enough to compete and attended my first national competition in 1996. Although we finished 16th the opportunity to network with the other youth chapters, attend workshops, and be in the general atmosphere of dynamic IT professionals from my background unlocked a sense of the life’s potential. My teammates and I attended the Houston competition with a renewed sense of purpose, and a small chapter from Hartford, CT took home the championship in 1997.
Now five years into my IT career at a Fortune 500 company, I still look to my mentor’s from the BDPA program for guidance and advice, and thankfully, they are always only a phone call or email away. I met some of my closest friends through the program, and even built friendships with members of other teams, all across the country, that still thrive today. My success as a young professional has a direct path back to the discipline, determination, and support gained through my years of involvement with BDPA. The program is invaluable to me, and so I offer a humble thank you to everyone who continues to contribute to its growth.
We say it all the time ... 'classroom to the boardroom' ... and here is a real-life example. Do you think that BDPA is doing a good job? If so, we need your help to continue growing our SITES program. Please consider making a secure online donation right now. Do it on behalf of Lisa!
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Julius participated in our Take Five interview series:
- How did you get involved in working with BDPA? - I am a native of Boston and first heard of BDPA while living there, but I never had the opportunity to attend a meeting. I built a good IT employment network in Boston and after moving to Charlotte in 1999 it was very important for me to establish my employment network in this city. In 2000 I discovered that BDPA had a Charlotte chapter. I attended my first BDPA Charlotte meeting and was delighted to be in the company of African American brothers and sisters who all shared a passion for Information Technology like I did. Being new to Charlotte I made sure I attended every monthly meeting. At that time Archie Lucy was president. He followed up with me each month after I had attended to a few meetings, which made me feel very connected with the local BDPA organization. The board asked if I would like to talk to Johnson C. Smith College students about the Information Technology profession, and soon after that they asked me to become Coordinator for our High School Computer Competition program.
- What is the most rewarding aspect of working with BDPA? - Being able to help introduce high school students to the Information Technology and mentor adults in the field is the most rewarding. Since I graduated from high school, I always wanted to give back to the African American community in a huge way. The BDPA allows me to give back to my community with something I love; technology!
- Tell us about a defining moment in your life? - One defining life moment was when I received my BS in Electronic Engineering, with both of my parents both in the audience; I was the first person in my family to earn a college degree.
- Who is your hero and why? - Besides my parents, Malcolm X became my hero. After reading the Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley at the age of 21, my perspective on my life and community changed; It’s like a light switch got turned on in my thinking and I instantly knew how to be a strong Black leader for my community.
- Any advice for people considering donation to BETF? - My advice is to give what you can afford, and just don’t allow it to only be monetary-- get involved with your local BDPA Chapter or the BETF and donate Thought Leadership to make it more personal and share your experience and excitement about our cause with others.
Julius is taking over a chapter that is the 15th largest in the nation. I suspect his leadership team will have BDPA Charlotte chapter in the Top 10 before long! What say u?
This blog has been seeking to highlight BDPA newsletters from all over the nation. Is your chapter newsletter available online?
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Please let us know if know of other scholarships we should be adding to this list or to our website.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
I want to personally and humbly thank everyone for a wonderful and exciting year. As President of the BDPA New York Chapter, I have the opportunity to meet and work with a diverse group of phenomenal volunteers from a variety of industries and who all have one thing in common: A passion for giving back and building our future global technologists and for promoting diversity within Information Technology.
Thanks to your wonderful support, our organization was able to stand by our 2009 theme, "Dare 2 Share" and come together to sharpen the technical minds of our key stakeholders. Thanks to our BDPA New York Executive Board Members, our many accomplishments for 2009 include:
- Our HSCC team came in 5th place at the 2009 NBDPA Conference
- Our HSCC team placed 2nd at the Regional HSCC Competition at Bowie State University
- Our SITES youth 2nd placed 2nd in the IT Showcase at the BDPA Regional Conference
- Our students also attended the Teragrid Computer Conference in Arlington, VA
- Two BDPA student members worked at UBS corporate offices in Stamford, CT
as summer interns
- Our monthly program meetings featured excellent presentations on topics such as Web Analytics, Unix, A Very Long Love Affair, Social Networking, Trends in Web
2.0 and Cloud Computing
- Membership drives, including events such as our BDPA New York chapter Meet-n-Greet, Sing, Harlem, Sing theatre outing, and Book Signing featuring two local authors
- Submission of our 2008 Chapter of the Year book to National BDPA headquarters
- Our newsletter, Humanware, was published four times this year.
- We partnered with other nonprofit organizations to participate in events such as No Limit Career Day and Sisterhood: United we Inspire
- A wonderful Scholarship & Recognition Awards Ceremony, in June, thanks to our corporate sponsor UBS
Judaea Yarde Lane, President
BDPA New York Chapter
Monday, December 21, 2009
Rick agreed to participate in our Take Five interview series:
- How did you get involved in working with BDPA? - During the mid-90's, BDPA representatives were featured on a television series (Excellence By Choice: The Television Show for College Bound Students) that I created and produced in Washington, DC. The show exposed students and viewers to higher education and Career opportunities. I became aware of the organization after researching information about national organizations in technology. We invited and featured BDPA representatives on the thirty-minute show to expose students and viewers to careers in IT. High school students served as host & production crew of the highly acclaimed weekly tv series, assisted by industry professionals.
In 2002, some IT colleagues asked me to attend an informational meeting about an effort to re-establish a BDPA chapter in the Triangle (NC) region. They were aware that I had launched a model economic development initiative, known as City-wide Technology Enrichment Program (CTEP), a comprehensive computer literacy, academic enrichment, informational and workforce development program serving 10,000 residents (youth, adults, and senior citizens). While serving as it's Executive Director, CTEP had been nationally and internationally recognized as well as replicated around the world.
During the meeting I agreed to provide seed capital, meeting location, computer lab and additional resources to re-establish the Triangle Chapter. I was later asked by (then) National BDPA president Wayne Hicks to lead the effort to rejuvenate the Triangle Chapter after the chapter's current president was facing imminent military deployment. We only had about 5 or so members at the time. I reluctantly agreed to the task at hand given my other significant responsibilities, but appreciated the importance of BDPA's mission.
- What is the most rewarding aspect of working with BDPA? - Another avenue to serve God's will. Our chapter's creed is "Impacting our communities through IT". We’re making a significant impact in the community through our chapter monthly Professional, Technical and Personal Development Series; Collegiate Speakers Series; Project Management Professional Study Course; SITES/HSCC Saturday Technology Academy for area high school students; in addition to, the Durham Technology Expo held during Black Family Technology Awareness Week; partnership with the City-wide Technology Enrichment Program; the Dewayne Washington Foundation to help area high school graduates receive laptop computers and printers for college, as well as, providing volunteers for Science and Technology Day at local public Middle Schools.
BDPA Triangle Chapter consistently holds monthly chapter meetings, with high-quality presenters at a great facility at the First Flight Venture Center located in Research Triangle Park, NC. We’ve developed strong strategic alliances (such as Council for Entrepreneurial Development, Raleigh-Durham Chapter of the National Black MBA Association, Carolina Minority Suppliers Development Council) and relationships with corporate sponsors (such as North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company, Credit Suisse, Compuware, RBC Bank, GE Healthcare, Blue Cross & Blue Shield, IBM, Cisco Systems, AT&T and others).
We’ve proudly embodied the BDPA mantra: “From Classroom to the Boardroom”. Working with a dedicated and talented team, we’ve increased membership to (200+) and (Ranked #2) nationally; developed and maintained working relations with area organizations; showcased membership & businesses in newsletter; supported local & regional area businesses; facilitated contracts & job opportunities for members; facilitated student internship opportunities for members; and trained & exposed youth to advanced technology; and of course, we’re proud to have been host to a first-class, successful annual National BDPA Technology Conference in the organization’s history.
- Tell us about a defining moment in your life? - There has not been any one in particular. I've been very blessed throughout my life, having had an array of prominent mentors and exposures. Early in life, we were instilled with values that we'd have a big job to fill and our role was to carry the torch of those great warriors before us who'd paved the way for us. God continues to prepare, guide and use me and many others to do his work. As they say, "it's not about the destination, its about the journey".
- Who is your hero and why? - As I've said before their are many who suffered and struggled for us, shedding their blood and tears to pave the way for all of us. Those untold heroes & sheroes positively impacted our lives. It's important that we carry-on that legacy. We also must instill in our youth that they are connected to this journey and its their's too. As an extension of us, they too serve a vital role to collectively succeed for the continued enrichment of each generation to come.
People like my grandfather, grandmother, father, mother, uncles and aunts, extended family, along with numerous others come to mind as my hero/shero. They and others were most influential in my life, and certainly played an integral role in shaping my life in addition to many others. People like affirmative action pioneer Dr. Arthur Fletcher whose initiatives paved the way to changing America’s employment, education and business opportunity culture forever. The late Dr. Fletcher served as former Deputy Secretary of the U. S. Department of Labor, advisor to four United States Presidents, and one of the nation’s foremost economic development advisors as well as one the most influential Americans of the 20th Century. I can name many others who were and still remain my hero. Each and every one made a significant positive impact on our lives.
- Any advice for people considering donation to BETF? - I always felt BDPA has the potential to be the most influential African American organization in the world. The vast talent pool within the organization is incredible. BDPA members are running Corporate America, Governments, Communities and beyond. Its vital that we pool our resources to have mechanisms in place to impact the lives of our youth and communities in a most positive manner. Its imperative that we maintain our own engines to drive our own destiny, thus being not be so dependent upon others. The BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF) serves as an important channel for us to achieve this goal by providing our youth financial assistance for higher education through scholarships in addition to support for our local chapters' initiatives.
Rick proved that you can build a BDPA chapter with both quality and quantity if you stay focused on the organization mission and if you deliver measurable programs and services to your members and community.
What did you think of Rick's response?
Sunday, December 20, 2009
BDPA Southern Minnesota chapter president Nat Calvert created this slideshow.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Seasons Greetings from BDPA Chicago Chapter!
As we all prepare for the new year, we think about ways to help others have the opportunity for a better life.
In our case, we have the annual Awards Banquet to recognize the BDPA Chicago Chapter volunteers that spent the year supporting the organization to educate our youth and IT Professionals.
We also recognize our corporate sponsors for the financial and volunteer resources provided to us, even during the economic challenges faced during this year.
We would like to personally invite you to join us on January 23rd to celebrate the accomplishments and generosity of our members and supporters.
We had a wonderful event last year and plan to have the same amount of positive energy generated by our guests this year.
Please visit our website for more information and to purchase tickets for the 2010 Awards Banquet
Have a Happy Holiday!
Rhonda Boyd, president
BDPA Chicago Chapter
Friday, December 18, 2009
He was kind enough to participate in our Take Five interview series.
- How did you get involved in working with BDPA? - In 2003, I began looking for an African American organization with a focus on Information Technology. Needless to say, my journey started with Google. After being pointed in the right direction, I've been a member of BDPA ever since. It was never my intention to sit back and be a passive member. I knew the value that I brought to the table and welcomed the opportunity to give back to my community. Before assuming the role of President, I actively got involved with my local chapter by serving as the HSCC Coordinator/Instructor from 2003-2008.
- What is the most rewarding aspect of working with BDPA? - The most rewarding aspect of working with BDPA is being able to bear witness to lives made better via access to information and technology.
- Tell us about a defining moment in your life? - A definitive moment in my life was my freshman year in college at UCLA. The year was 1995 and this thing called the "Internet" was moving fast and freely (via T1 connections) on college campuses while the rest of world moved sluggishly at 28.8k speed. Most people assume that I majored in Computer Science or Engineering; however, I actually majored in Psychology. After having access to all the world's information in an instant at my fingertips, I immediately knew which direction my career would take and I haven't looked back since.
- Who is your hero and why? - I honestly don't have a lone hero or one person that I look up to. I'd have to say that my heroes are those that came before me; both sung and unsung. It is because of them that I can hold my head high, befriend almost anyone of my choosing, and have access to all the opportunities that life has to offer.
- Any advice for people considering donation to BETF? - I'd like those considering donation to BETF to view it as an "investment" in our young leaders. If you need to check the ROI of your investment, the testimonies are there for public viewing. Although I've volunteered thousands of hours during my tenure with BDPA Los Angeles, I donate.
BDPA Los Angeles chapter is aggressively marketing itself via a variety of social networks that include Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn Network.
What did you learn from John's interview? Please share some BDPA-Love with John as a response to this post!
Angela conducted an interview with former FCC chairperson Michael Powell. Please take a moment to listen to this interview:
What are your thoughts about Mr. Powell (in general) and this interview (in particular)?
Thursday, December 17, 2009
I have been a member of BDPA for over 20 years. One of my proudest BDPA accomplishments was working with others to revive BDPA Cincinnati chapter in 1999. BDPA Cincinnati chapter went on to train hundreds of students in web development, presentation skills, project management skills and computer programming over the next decade.
One of those students is a remarkable young brother, Ramala Andemariam. Ramala participated in the BDPA Student IT Education & Scholarship (SITES) program in 2003-2005. Ramala is currently a senior at the University of Cincinnati. He is very active with the Ethiopian Student Association.
Ramala shared his thoughts about BDPA when he was 16-years old. He recently updated his testimonial:
I remember when I first started BDPA. I was in 10th grade and I got some information from my web design teacher about BDPA. I've been interested in making websites for a while and I was also learning it on my own so this was a great opportunity for me to find out what this organization offered. I talked to my father about it and went to the testing with him. There I saw many others that have come to do the same. After being accepted into the first phase, I was excited to learn what they offered. Ultimately, I ended up going all the way through to being on the competition team. It was the most exciting thing I've done at that time. I love to compete and BDPA gave me the perfect setting to do just that.
Throughout my BDPA journey, there were a lot of opportunities for me to learn and experience new things. The Saturday sessions we had were the most educational for me, specially during the first year. I always looked forward to every Saturday with BDPA. Being able to learn new things, work with other people that had the same interest, and meet new people were among the many things I experienced with BDPA. Going to different cities and competing was also one of the highlights of the program. I loved those Fridays that we spent locked in the competition room coming up with ways to solve our competition problem with limited time. I loved the time we spent playing pranks on one another that Saturday night before our departure. There were many experiences that helped me grow as a person while in BDPA.
My initial interest in technology was what guided me to join BDPA. Once in BDPA, I learned a lot of things that helped me succeed in college. Being an IT major, there was a lot of knowledge that transfered directly to my daily school work from those BDPA classes. It is by far the best educational and fun experience I've had to date. I recommend it to everyone that has the chance to join. BDPA is the best family you can have outside of your current one. I regret not knowing about BDPA earlier but it will always have a special place in my life. Thank you for those that took their time out to educate me and influence me in a great way. Thank you BDPA!
Member, BDPA Cincinnati Chapter
Student, University of Cincinnati (Class of 2010)
Please take a moment to share your thoughts about this testimonial in the COMMENTS option below. Is your BDPA chapter identifying and supporting its HSCC Alumni?
Can we afford to continue ignoring impact of social media? Or is it time for us to figure out how to harness the power of social media to meet the mission of BDPA. What say u?
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Microsoft is committed to strengthening the U.S. economy and increasing global competitiveness by improving access to education and workforce-readiness skills required for twenty-first-century jobs. The initiative is being done in a phased state-by-state approach. The second component of 'Elevate America' available online immediately, is a Web site designed to help people with the basics such as creating a resume and send e-mail.
"Millions of individuals don't have the technology skills needed in today's economy. Through Elevate America, we want to help workers get the skills they need to succeed," Pamela Passman, Microsoft's VP for corporate affairs.As part of the Elevate America program, Microsoft is working with state and local governments and hopes to offer 1 million vouchers for e-learning and certification classes.
I am interested to hear from any BDPA member or chapter that is actively engaged with this program.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
- Chapter President, Julius Clark (Wells Fargo)
- Chapter President-Elect, Markus Beamer (Bank of America)
"I am happy to announce that Markus Beamer, current VP of Strategy & Planning, was elected as the 2010-2011 President-Elect for BDPA Charlotte. Markus has been a dedicated member of the BDPA Charlotte family, most notably as trainer for the High School Computer Competition (HSCC) program. Markus has demonstrated a strong passion of educating the next generation of students and walks the talk of our creed; “Advancing Careers From the Classroom to the Boardroom”. Markus is a rising leader in the IT industry who also has a tremendous passion for developing online video/strategy games in his spare time. Markus is a very talented individual and will serve the Charlotte community well."Markus Beamer wrote,
"My name is Markus Beamer. I was born in Tacoma Washington but was raised in Columbia South Carolina. I come from a family of 4 boys and 2 girls and thus am used to a very hectic environment. “Never a dull moment” is certainly the motto for our home growing up. That’s probably why 11 years ago I turned to technology for a career, “Never a dull moment” sums up its progress quite nicely.I hope that you will take a moment and share some BDPA-Love with Markus and Julius as they embark on this remarkable journey!
Of course change can come when you grow the family. Currently my family is in Charlotte North Carolina. I am the lucky husband to one fine lady and the proud father of two rambunctious boys. I am happy to say that my household carries on the tradition of “Never a dull moment”. My oldest son is crazy for electronics and all things technical. My youngest son is definitely the outdoor, rough and tumble kinda fella. They both attract their fair share of friends and our house has become the “neighborhood” house. (much to my wife’s dismay!)
I currently work at Bank of America as a Business Process Consultant. When asked, I tell friends and family that my role is to help “leadership” make the best use of technology and in truth this is what I do. However the role affords me much more than that, I am at a crucial nexus where the needs, desires and ambitions of the business meet the calculations, formulas and algorithms of technology. It’s a great place to be and I don’t think I’ll change it for some time to come.
I hope that having learned a little more about me, you will reach out and shake my hand. I am always happy to meet new folks."
Monday, December 14, 2009
The 24th annual DuPont Challenge Science Essay Competition is underway and is accepting entries now through January 31, 2010. Designed to inspire young people to excel in scientific writing, the competition invites students in 7th through 12th grade to research and write a 700- to 1,000-word essay about a scientific discovery, theory, event or technological application that has captured their interest.
Essays are judged on mechanics and conventions; ideas and content; organization; style and creativity; and voice. Winners receive savings bonds up to $5,000 and an expenses paid trip to Walt Disney World and the Kennedy Space Center.
The program also rewards the unique contributions of the teachers of the winning students with trips with winners, $500 education grants, and sponsorship to attend the 2011 NSTA National Conference on Science Education in San Francisco. Created to honor the Challenger astronauts, this competition is a great way to get students to push the limits of imagination and discovery.
- Chapter President, Carter Hill (Turner Broadcasting System)
- Chapter President-Elect, Felicia Jones (Macy's Inc.)
- Chapter VP-Finance, Thyrsa Gravely (Deloitte)
BDPA Atlanta, 4th largest chapter in the nation, has been well-served by outgoing chapter president Teresa Williams. Teresa led her chapter to a number of chapter awards and superb performance from the chapter's high school computer competition team. Teresa will remain on the chapter's board of directors in her new role as the immediate past president.
I encourage you to use the POST COMMENT option below to share some love with these BDPA leaders as they prepare for their new roles within the Atlanta chapter.
John was kind enough to respond to our Take Five questions:
- How did you get involved in working with BDPA? - Through the strong leadership of one of our long time contractors, Denise Holland. Denise was passionate and persistent in getting me involved with our local chapter and in national events.
- What is the most rewarding aspect of working with BDPA? - By far, the High School Computer Competition (HSCC). I believe some of the most valuable experiences we can give our young high school students are those which involve "success, we did it, wow, I learned something, it's a big world out there, etc." The HSCC fits this bill AND is very "grass roots" in that most of the money contributed to the chapters goes right to the students expenses for the program.
- Tell us about a defining moment in your life? - Helping lead the fight in Maryland to repeal the computer services sales tax the legislature passed in 2007. I, along with many others, worked very hard to win the repeal. This effort was one of my most rewarding professional experiences.
- Who is your hero and why? - I don't have any one hero, but rather a list of people over time, all very wise and learned individuals. Some of them include biblical characters like Moses, King Solomon, Jesus Christ, and the Apostle Paul. From a public service perspective, I consider Abraham Lincoln, FDR, and Ronald Reagan to be my list of the top three presidents, as well as Winston Churchill. From a business perspective, I most admire Jack Welsh (GE), Bill Gates (MicroSoft), Sam Walton (WalMart), Ray Kroc (McDonalds), Tom Watson Sr. (IBM), and a few others. As far as authors go, my top three are Jim Collins' "Good to Great", Machiavelli's "The Prince" and Sun Tsu's "The Art of War", written over 3,500 years ago.
- Any advice for people considering donation to BETF? - Our children are our future. We need to make a difference one child at a time.
What are your thoughts about John's answers?
Sunday, December 13, 2009
BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF) and BDPA Charlotte chapter submitted a $15,050 grant proposal to the Duke Energy Foundation. Duke Energy Foundation seeks to support programs focused on science, technology and mathematics -- and that is a remarkable fit for our Student Information Technology Education & Scholarship (SITES) program.
The Duke Energy Foundation seeks to improve the quality of life in communities they serve by sharing their time through volunteer efforts, their expertise through leadership and their financial support through grants to charitable organizations.
Grant requests are reviewed at a regional level and considered in the context of the needs of the community and in alignment with their areas of focus.
We anticipate having an answer on our grant request within the next 60 days. Wish us luck!
Saturday, December 12, 2009
BDPA Cleveland Chapter Supports IT Corps Program. This 3-part video was taken by Henry Ford at the Community Meeting hosted on 11/17/2009 by BDPA Cleveland chapter. This 3-part video features a comprehensive overview of the BDPA IT Corps by Ademola Solaru and Norman Mays.
I hope that other chapters are discussing the BDPA IT Corps. Our goal is to have BDPA students from around the nation added to the BDPA IT Corps in 2010. Are you interested in learning more?
BETF-Blog Readers, one of our goals is to provide a repository of information about our BDPA legacy. We hope that reading about our heroes and sheroes of BDPA's past you will be encouraged to help raise money to fund scholarships and youth education programs for our future legends. Please consider clicking here to make an online donation today.
Today we share information about a prolific BDPA leader who founded BDPA chapters in both Washington DC and Cleveland OH. Norman Mays served as the 2nd national BDPA president in 1981-1984. He led the annual conferences held in Philadelphia (1981, 'Growth Through Professional Association'), Detroit (1982, 'Entrepreneurship: A Successful Attitude'), Newark (1983, 'Rise to the Challenge') and Cleveland (1984, 'Information Processing: A Vote for the Future').
Norman is a native Clevelander who graduated from the "old" Glenville High School in January 1959. In August 1959, he entered the US Army where he served for 20 years, specializing in administration, military intelligence and computers. During various assignments, he attended several colleges and began the national expansion of a professional computer organization. Upon retiring from the service in 1979, he spent ten years in the corporate world. Tiring of corporate downsizings, and recognizing the need to have a "safety net", he became an entrepreneur. Norman is currently doing his thing within the financial services industry in Cleveland.
BETF-Blog Readers, Norman is a brother with immense passion for BDPA. He is writing a book on BDPA history. He envisions a televised documentary with BDPA leaders, past and present, talking about the magic of our programs and services.
Norman had a "eureka" moment at a presentation by the Ethiopian Minister of Finance at the 2007 national BDPA conference held in Washington DC when BDPA was challenged to develop an 'IT Peace Corps' ... ambassadors from an advanced nation providing services, developmental support and clarity in IT to the underdeveloped world. Norman wrote,
"We live in an increasingly connected global village, and as an IT organization, we observe many enterprises adapting to the challenges and opportunities of globalization. Without changing BDPA’s core mission, but to expand it, one such intersection of opportunity to impact BDPA in remarkable and unprecedented ways has been presented to us."Norman accepted the challenge by teaming with Dr. Ademola Solaru to create a proposal that would aggressively move BDPA into the African continent. The proposal is currently under review by the National Executive Committee. I encourage any of you with interest in the book, documentary or IT Peace Corps to reach out to Bro. Mays in the COMMENTS section below.
There are times when BDPA leaders begin to doubt the sanity of our involvement in a volunteer organization. We give our time, talent and energy and we wonder if our efforts are making a difference.
That is the reason that BETF continues to seek out and share these High School Computer Competition (HSCC) testimonials. Sometimes we simply need to reminders about the impact of BDPA programs directly from our HSCC students.
Here is one that lifted my spirits from Julia Josefina Berg. She is currently a senior at Worcester Polytechnic Institute who is very active as webmaster for the school's Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) chapter. She was a member of the HSCC team trained by BDPA Boston chapter in 2004. She shares her thoughts on the impact that the HSCC training and competition had on her life. I hope you enjoy her testimonial as much as I did:
"You have eight hours to create an online DVD rental store. You will be judged on teamwork, solution elegance, unique Graphic User Interface (GUI), and the completeness of the application. You may use your choice of Sun Microsystems Java Technology, Microsoft ASP, Open Source Software PHP, or Microsoft.NET, as your database technology. READY..SET..GO!"
The doors were closed and locked shut. Suddenly there I was...a tiny Latina from Boston in a large, strange, hotel ballroom in Dallas, Texas. The room was packed with adolescents, separated by state into small groups and assigned to computer stations. Even after six months of Information Technology (IT) training, I knew my knowledge from school courses and my creativity were about to be pushed to the
I remember looking around the table and the adrenaline rush that streamed through my body. Never had I been so proud of my peers and myself. There we were - the first team from Boston in over ten years. Yet we were not only representing Massachusetts, but also our own native countries, Chile and Pakistan. As the three finalists, we battled our way through programming boot camp and won our regional competition to gain a spot for the national contest. The long Saturday classes, the trip across the nation, the individual quiz bowl, and now the eight-hour programming contest! This was actually fun for me - what once was overwhelming was now a natural routine. Fingers typing, ideas flowing, this was what I was meant to do.
The first time I learned of Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA) I was a high school freshman and was thrilled to have IT training with other motivated teenagers. Yet I never expected my mentors and teammates to become like family. I had attended class expecting to be an outcast, the same frustrating sensation I often met in the computer classroom. Despite living in a diverse community, I constantly found myself the sole racial minority and the only girl. Here at the competition I was not the only one who had felt lonely in her endeavors. We had all come out on top, the underdog role only motivating us to work harder.
At the national conference I had the honor of meeting Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African American woman to venture into space, and a role model for women in technology worldwide. Her words have stayed with me ever since. She said, "I had to learn very early not to limit myself due to others' limited imagination."
That is what BDPA helped me to realize: where you are from and the culture you are raised in has a lasting impact in establishing your identity, but should not limit your success. Dr.Jemison taught me that you could both keep your ethnic pride, as well as make your mark in this world. BDPA was about more than striving for equality in the IT field, but aiming for the top.
And... Time! Suddenly it was all over. The eight hours of grueling mental stimulation had knocked me out like no other experience. Depleted, I removed my sore fingers and wrists from the keyboard and fell back in my chair. The scene itself was spectacular; hundreds of minority adolescents brought together for a common goal - to show the world that we were the future IT leaders.
I left that Texas ballroom with the confidence to succeed. For the last four years I have dedicated myself to fulfilling my own dreams. I started a web design company and have worked with major organizations such as the Museum of Science and Intel Computer Clubhouse, a global organization that gives minority children the opportunity to learn computer technology. I hope to guide them like BDPA guided me, by following the trails blazed by influential pioneers like Mae Jemison. Why not go for it?
Please take a moment to share your COMMENTS with Julia about her remembrances. Afterwards take a moment to think about ways that you can help BDPA create more love for technology in young people. How can you help?