Wednesday, May 20, 2009

HSCC Testimonial: Lauren Pemberton (Southern Minnesota)

Sometimes people doubt us when we say that BDPA is open to anyone regardless of race, color or national origin. Perhaps the doubt will go away as you read the following testimonial from Lauren Pemberton. Lauren is one of the few students in our history to compete at the national level in four separate years. In addition, she is one of four students in BDPA history to be a 3-time national HSCC champion! She joins HSCC alumni Kunle Roberts and Mackale Joyner at Rice University.

Here are her thoughts on her SITES experiences:

My name is Lauren Pemberton, and I am currently attending Rice University. I was involved with HSCC from 2005 to 2008, and it greatly influenced my plans for the future. I am planning on majoring in computer science and seeing what job opportunities the degree opens up for me. I hope to find a job that includes traveling, meeting inspired and intelligent people, and working on innovative projects.

From the moment I attended my first class with BDPA, I was addicted to learning all I could about programming, computers, design, and anything else my teachers mentioned. I felt that if I did not go, I was missing something valuable and interesting, so I continued to attend every Saturday. It was certainly a unique experience to have such a creative, stimulating, and accepting environment available every weekend.

Being a new member of BDPA and new to the concept of programming itself, I was surprised and honored when chosen as a member of the five-person team for the 2005 conference in Detroit. I was assigned the job of presentation coordinator and familiarized with the competition details. After a summer filled with concentrated preparation, I was elated when we won 1st place in the High School Computer Competition. These emotions carried me into the next year as I was determined to be even more involved than before.

The coursework invigorated me once again and I learned entirely new concepts in my second year with BDPA. I accomplished my goal to be more involved when I became project manager for our team in 2006. We traveled to Los Angeles with a new team, and we won 2nd place after a fun and exciting conference. This victory was even more meaningful because I had played a bigger role in the process, and our team had learned many new things that year. I knew that if we continued to study hard and focus on teamwork, we would be an even greater competitor the following year.

In 2007, I was once again project manager, and we traveled to the nation’s capital hoping to represent our chapter well. Our hard work resulted in our team winning 1st place in Washington, D.C. This was one of the proudest moments of my life. Our team had sought to improve and demonstrate our skills in programming and teamwork, and we were successful.

The following year, we continued our winning streak by achieving 1st place in Atlanta, Georgia. My previous participation in the competition did not dampen my emotions, as I was just as anxious, delighted and grateful to win the grand prize. It was a fantastic way to end my high school career with BDPA, and I will never forget my four amazing years of participation in the HSCC.

I am not considered a minority in my “normal” life, but I am fortunate enough to have been able to exist in such a situation with the HSCC because it has changed my outlook on life forever. I was welcomed into BDPA and their programming class by supportive teachers and motivated students like myself. When I joined this class, I was under the notion that I was not a minority, but now I know what I am … I am a teenager who knows how to program in PHP and has a passion for learning. I know that I would never have become the knowledgeable and strong person I am today if I had not joined this outstanding program.

We look forward to following the progress of this Bemley Scholar! She is one of the reasons that the BDPA Foundation seeks donations from you as often as we do. Your donations allow us to increase the scholarship funding. Anyhow, what are your thoughts about Lauren's testimonial?

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