Friday, August 23, 2013

Bemley Scholar Nnedimma Ugochukwu Heads to University of Pittsburgh

BDPA Washington DC chapter student member Nnedimma Ugochukwu began messing with computers at a young age. In the 9th grade she took that youthful exuberance with her to BDPA where she found an outlet for her passion in computer science within the Student Information Technology Education & Scholarship (SITES) program. Over the course of the next four years Nnedimma represented her chapter in the annual BDPA High School Computer Competition (HSCC) on both a regional and national level.

Her efforts were rewarded with a remarkable performance in the 2013 National BDPA HSCC Championship when her team won 4th place (out of 46 eligible chapters) and earned college scholarship from the Dr. Jesse Bemley Scholarship Fund. She plans to use the college scholarship to defray the costs of studying Computer Science at the University of Pittsburgh.

We asked Nnedimma to share her thoughts and remembrances about BDPA:

"When I first started HSCC back in my freshman year in high school, I was excited because I always wanted to learn how to make a website. I began attempting to learn how to do so on my own before I started thanks to the social networking websites that I used. Even trying to do it on my own, it wasn’t enough because after some time, I got stuck and very confused. When I began HSCC, I learned the material with a click. Even if I did not understand what my instructor, Mr. Lou Shack, taught, I always asked questions and volunteered. If his answers did not help, I went home and looked up what we learned. Another thing about me was every time we received an assignment, I did it right away as soon as I got home. I never waited until Friday to get it done. I worked so hard on my BDPA assignments. As the months moved by, the material we learned became so much harder, but I stayed with them until the end.

2012 HSCC Team (Wash DC)
The HSCC championship was a great experience. Out of all of the conferences that I attended, the one in Baltimore (2012) was the best. The competition shows how much you know based on all the months of learning and practicing. Along with the actual competition, I got to experience the Career Expo for the first time by speaking with different companies about what they do in their field and asking what I should do to prepare myself when I finish high school. I was inspired and was able to receive contact info from many companies. BDPA Washington DC HSCC Alumni, Francisco Nunez, told me that networking is one of the keys to success. I did not know what networking was before I joined BDPA, but, now I see why it’s so important.

BDPA has put me on the path to study Computer Science with a minor in Computer Graphics while in college. I was already on the path of computers before I joined thanks to my father, but BDPA was the base to building me up the staircase to my goal. I came to the program confident and learned so much, thanks to my teachers and my fellow students.

If you’re considering joining BDPA and participating in the HSCC program, then I suggest that you make your first impression look good toward the teachers. Go to class willing to learn something new and different. If you’re not that good when you start off, ask for help. Don’t be afraid to reach out to others. The program is also a commitment so working outside of class will make you better. Staying consistent throughout the program will get you far not only in the program, but in life.

Nnedimma is one of the thousands of high school students that have been trained by BDPA volunteers in our SITES program over the past few years. We want to provide more college scholarships for these young people. We need your help!

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