Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Take Five: Kelly Hill (BDPA Los Angeles)

BDPA is proud of its efforts to advance the careers of its members from 'the classroom to the boardroom'. One of real-life examples of that effort can be seen embodied in the person of Kelly Hill. Kelly is a Clark Atlanta University graduate (Class of 2008) who currently works for Lockheed Martin.

As a youngster Kelly represented BDPA Los Angeles chapter in the national high school computer competitions held in Chicago (2001), Orlando (2002) and Philadelphia (2003). She is a positive example of the power of our student information technology education & scholarship (SITES) program. Kelly was kind enough to participate in our Take Five interview series.

  1. How did you get involved with BDPA? - I got involved in BDPA because my Aunt Brenda passed on a flyer that she received advertising free programming classes including visual basic and Although I knew nothing about those programming languages my mother encouraged me to go to the first class to see what it was all about. After that I was hooked.
  2. What is the most rewarding aspect of working with BDPA? - The most rewarding aspect of working with BDPA has been the relationships I've formed over the years. First, the long lasting relationships I formed with my teammates each year that I represented the Los Angeles chapter at the national HSCC championships. We are always in contact with one another updating each other on our career successes many of which have been made possible due to the education obtained during HSCC. Second, the networking relationships I've established every year at the annual conference. I always look forward to seeing the familiar faces from the prior year. Lastly, I enjoy chatting with the other chapters to learn some of their strategies on how they have penetrated their city so more people have exposure to BDPA. BDPA is like my second family. Its a small knit community of like-minded people.
  3. Can you share a 'favorite memory' about any of your past BDPA conference experiences? - My favorite memory of BDPA has always been in Chicago during the programming part of the HSCC Competition. We had been given the programming problem and all the teams had started to work on the solution. We were about three hours in and you can see people pacing backing and forth, ties undone, stressing and I looked around and said to myself this is amazing. There are 24 African American teams working in their groups to solve a problem. It was the collective energy in the room. You could feel the brain power floating around the room. That is when I realized BDPA was special because I didn't know of another organization where I could be in the room with 100 young African American kids programming for eight hours. That is when I began to look forward to the conference every year because I knew that like-minded students would be there and that would be the common denominator.
  4. What would future evolution or change would you like to see in BDPA's STEM-based training? - I think that the written portion of the competition needs to be renamed and revamped. I don't think that Quiz Factory accurately prepares the kids for the written portion of the competition. I also don't think that the name "written competition" portrays what the students actually have to do. The whole written piece needs to be reevaluated because the scoring seems to be a bit off also. Also, I think that during training the kids need to look at BDPA as an organization that would benefit them after high school. The misconception is they compete for three years and then they forget about BDPA. I want the students to see that BDPA can be beneficial especially once they are looking for a job and also to expand their network.
  5. Any advice for people considering a donation to BETF? - BDPA has done more than allow me to compete around the United States amongst other African Americans. BDPA has also taught me to be confident, to stand by my decisions, and how to use the strengths of each individual on a team to collectively solve a problem. The knowledge that I learned in high school set me apart from others and allowed me to have a competitive gain. I can honestly say BDPA has helped me get to where I am today. I currently work at Lockheed Martin as a Material Resources Planner. My brother, Clyde, who also competed in the national HSCC championship, is the Web Administrator for NSBE.  He currently works at Cal-State Fullerton Library as the IT help desk Lead. My teammate Jerich Beason is the IT Director for IT Security at Wackenhut Services. So I know that BDPA has influenced us and impacted our lives. So just know if you give a donation you are directly impacting our lives, helping us succeed, and helping us reach our future goals and we sincerely appreciate it!

Kelly is a remarkable young woman. I suspect that she will become a BDPA chapter president at some point in her life. For now, I'm just grateful that she continues to be a strong role model for BDPA students in Los Angeles and around the nation!

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