Thursday, February 26, 2015

BDPA Cincinnati Chapter Selects Its Future President - Na'Shawnda Peterson

Na'Shawnda Peterson
BDPA Cincinnati chapter, a nonprofit organization made up of racially diverse information technology professionals, announced a new member of its executive team. Na’Shawnda Peterson was named President-Elect and will become the chapter’s president in 2016-2017. Na’Shawnda is a business solutions manager at GE Aviation. She is responsible for maintaining IT infrastructure for a world-leading provider of jet and turboprop engines. Na’Shawnda attended both the College of Wooster and the University of Cincinnati.
"I am very excited to be a part of this wonderful organization and use my expertise to support its mission. I look forward to a great year and making a difference in our community," says Na’Shawnda Peterson.
In her new role, Na’Shawnda coordinates the activities of the chapter vice presidents with an emphasis on chapter operations, corporate sales and marketing. Also, she serves as the assistant vice-president of the finance business area.
We are very excited to have Na'Shawnda join the BDPA Cincinnati Chapter Board of Directors”, said BDPA chapter president Dalric Webb. “Na'Shawnda brings over 15 years of technical experience and professionalism to the team. Her engagement is a key pillar in our long-term strategy to advance the careers of technology professionals from the classroom to the boardroom.
BDPA Cincinnati chapter is the second-largest chapter in the nation. The chapter meets on the 3rd Wednesday of each month. In fact, the chapter meets next on Wednesday, March 18th to discuss ‘Innovation and Minority Entrepreneurs’ at Brown Mackie College (1011 Glendale Milford Road; Cincinnati OH 45215).

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Message from BDPA Atlanta Chapter President

The motto of BDPA is 'from the classroom to the boardroom'. BDPA Atlanta’s motto is 'Learn, Grow, and Achieve'. Our local motto supports the educational cycle that we apply to our members and anyone we encounter. It most especially applies to our kids, the young men and women who join our programs seeking to grow in technology.

This past Saturday we again firmly committed ourselves to living up to our motto and forging a legacy of growth and innovation. BDPA Atlanta hosted it High School Computer Competition kickoff at Microsoft.  Microsoft is committed to supporting efforts at community uplift. They allowed us to use their meeting rooms. They supplied computers, surface tablets, and software that served as an introduction to computer programming.

Even my daughter found it incredibly exciting and had her first introduction to the world of coding. I’m getting her started early. When the time is right she will definitely be in Black Girls Code, BDPA, and in completing the cycle by joining the Information Technology Senior Management Forum as she journeys to the boardroom ... if she doesn’t decide to be veterinarian. She loves animals.

This weekend’s event was the result of a strong team, communication, engagement and the power I believe is truly inherent in us all when we come together to accomplish great things. And understand this is a GREAT thing. I firmly believe in building a network, leveraging a network, and creating an opportunity. Connections made during Saturday’s kickoff possible. Growing those relationships made it successful. Continuing to nurture these relationships will expand our efforts and positively impact the lives of more youth.

BDPA Atlanta will continue its tradition of educating students in IT, and will broaden that mission by working with partners like Microsoft. This is exciting and necessary work. However we cannot do it alone. If you think you can help us engage our youth in technology then please, join us.

The Aspiring Critical Thinker,
D.S. Brown, president
BDPA Atlanta

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

BDPA iRadio Show: February 24, 2015 (Harold Frazier, Lewis Newton, Deena Pierott)

BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF) is very proud to be the creator of the BDPA iRadio Show. You can listen to the archive version of the show using the widget shown in the right-hand sidebar of this blog. FREE download from the iTunes Store is also available for our listeners!

Check Out Technology Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with BDPA on BlogTalkRadio

The guest on the February 24th show:

Deena Pierott
Deena Pierott - chief networking officer, Mosaic Blueprint - Deena Pierott is the president of Mosaic Blueprint. She has an extensive career in both the public and private sectors and was always the "change agent". Not until later in life did she realize that all that changing up and creating things was actually someone with an entrepreneurial spirit. Now as an entrepreneur she has several businesses running at the same time. Mosaic Blueprint is a boutique firm located in the Pacific NW specializing in recruiting and on-boarding, multicultural communications, outplacement services and career counseling. One of her major programs is the iUrban Teen Technology program focuses on "non-traditional" STEM learners ages 13 to 18. The teenagers in this program are exposed to the world of technology careers. Our target demographic are African American males and Latino males. However, the program is inclusive of all and we have almost equal parity of girls that participate as well. Learn more at This program was a nominee for the 2013 Rockefeller Innovation Award and recently selected as the White House Champion of Change for Technology Inclusion. Deena has a lot to share with the BDPA iRadio Show audience.

Harold Frazier, Jr.
Harold Frazier, Jr. - director, Vertical Computer Systems - Harold Frazier is the director of mobile software development for Vertical Computer Systems. He is an example of what BDPA means when it says that we provide programs and services from the 'classroom to the boardroom' for its membership. Harold was a member of the 1995 High School Computer Competition (HSCC) championship team that was trained by our BDPA Detroit chapter. He earned a computer science degree from the University of Michigan and has advanced to being a co-inventor of patented application called, 'Mobile Web-Based Interpreter'. He has an interesting story to share with BDPA iRadio Show of his journey in the IT industry over the past 20 years! You can follow Harold on Twitter: haroldfjr.

Lewis Newton
Lewis Newton - account manager, Digital Management Inc. - Lewis Newton participated in the National BDPA High School Computer Competition team trained by BDPA Washington DC chapter in 1990 ... 25 years ago. His team won the national championship! We seek to celebrate the winners from that 1990 HSCC championship team on the BDPA iRadio Show. Any life lessons from the experience? Any words of advice for the 2015 HSCC students?

We hope you enjoy the insights and commentary on the show from each of these guests. Please take a moment to post a comment to let us know that you care!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Grant Declination: Nissan Foundation (Los Angeles)

BDPA Los Angeles chapter (president, David Malonson) and BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF)  learned that our $2,000 grant proposal to the Nissan Foundation has been turned down. The declination letter read as follows:

Mr. Hicks,

Thank you for submitting your grant application to Nissan Neighbors on behalf of BDPA Education and Technology Foundation. We regret that Nissan will be unable to fund your program in the fiscal 2014 grant year, which ends March 31, 2015. Nissan's educational funds are fully allocated to other programs in this fiscal year.

BDPA Education and Technology Foundation provides a valuable service to the community. We wish you continued success in your endeavors.

Thank you again for your interest in Nissan Neighbors.

Nissan Neighbors

BETF will continue to seek out funding opportunities for our west coast chapter. We encourage you to help by making a secure online donation to the BDPA Los Angeles Scholarship Fund.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

HSCC Testimonial: Jonathan Hernandez (Philadelphia, 2003-2004, 2006)

Jonathan Hernandez is a three-time participant in the National BDPA High School Computer Competition (HSCC). He and his teammates were trained by BDPA Philadelphia chapter. We asked him about his experiences and he wrote:
"During my time with the BDPA's HSCC program as a teenager, I earned deep skills in web, application, and database technologies which have served me to this day. The experience from my teens endowed me with an edge over my competition right out of college, allowing me to find more innovative, competitive, and empowering offers from the biggest players across industries. These skills allowed me to broaden my degree in Political Science, into an active position where I make equitable change on a daily basis to my clients and stakeholders as a technology consultant and project manager.

Jonathan (standing, 2nd-from left)
Additionally, the BDPA has empowered me with the ability to socially engage and manage cross-functional technical roles with a high level of effectiveness, building consensus and clarity across the organization, and in the direction of any goal. I would not be so fortunate without the help of the BDPA, and its most brilliant group of supporting members. Furthermore, as an adult within my career, the BDPA's dividends continue to provide me with access to mentors and leaders, who have given me invaluable advice in the direction of my dreams.
Jonathan graduated from Temple University and he's now working for Accenture as a data center migration consultant. He believes in the power of technology and the real social impacts it can make across organizations and borders. His work at Accenture allows him to provide technical project management services to businesses to realize best value and technical support. Jonathan has come back to serve as a volunteer with BDPA ... particularly with young people seeking to learn programming and professional skills before they ever enter a college lecture hall.

You can learn more about Jonathan from his website. You can support Jonathan's passion for BDPA by making a secure online donation for the BDPA Philadelphia HSCC Scholarship Fund.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Message from the BDPA Cincinnati Chapter President

Dalric Webb
Love is in the air...

February brings to mind all the excitement and joy of being close to those you love and care about, like your BDPA family! Within your BDPA family we have share a love and passion for seeing our youth gain traction in the world of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. We get excited when our young people get the “bug” for learning and see college not as a challenge outside of their reach, but as a stepping stone to further their own aspirations for greatness. We feel a certain warmth when one of our peers or colleagues advances their career, receives that promotion, takes that new job, or completes a major milestone. The BDPA family love is undeniably in the air and it is a feeling we want to grow within our communities and circles of influence.

February brings us into week five of our computer camp at Cincinnati state! The 20 students in attendance are digging deep and staying focused as they enter their second month of Saturday instructions. We are excited to have three members of the GE Information Technology Leadership Program joining the team this year, Jarad Torrence, Bobby Richardson and Kadre Roberts bring additional technical, personal and professional skill-sets to the team and will be a part of the WINNING team we take to Washington DC this summer for the 37th Annual BDPA Technology Conference!

Our next program meeting is on February 19th and will feature our second roundtable with IT recruiters from Fifth Third Bank, L3-Communications and SmartIT. In case you missed the exceptional roundtable held last year, you do not want to miss this one. Be sure to bring several fresh copies of your resume. Opportunities present themselves at our meetings each month. The one that is right for you could be at this month’s meeting! Register today by clicking this link.

While our board of volunteers is strong and working well together, there are still volunteering opportunities that can use your support if you are still considering how you can help out. Won’t you step forward to join the team? Please take a look at the vacant positions listed on our chapter landing page. Additional, we have several volunteering opportunities within each of the board committees that might be more of a match for your particular interest in giving back. Send me an email and let’s chat about it.

2015 is off to a FANTASTIC start! Last year we grew membership by over 127%! We hope to continue that trend with the active engagement of our members. Remember, this is YOUR organization. What are you looking to get out of it? What are you putting into it to obtain those results? Are you engaged? Did you attend the last program meeting? The last social? The last computer camp session? The chapter is ACTIVE in our communities – we’d love to have you join us.

Looking forward to seeing you at one of our upcoming events,

Dalric Webb, president
BDPA Cincinnati Chapter

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Rest In Peace: Jim Cunningham (1946-2011)

BDPA Cincinnati chapter member James M. ("Jim") Cunningham lost his two-year battle with cancer on February 11, 2011. Jim represented BDPA on Ohio's Third Frontier Initiative when it was being crafted by the governor. Jim also served as a director of the BDPA Cincinnati Entrepreneur Special Interest Group and was moderator of the BDPA-Telecommunications YahooGroup.

Jim had a long career with Cincinnati Bell and served as the Information Technology department director at National College in Cincinnati. Jim's skills, knowledge and talents will be missed by BDPA and the IT industry in southwest Ohio.

Rest in peace Jim.
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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

BDPA Seeks Students for Mobile Application Showcase

BDPA is excited to announce that the 2nd annual Mobile Application Showcase sponsored by State Farm is expanding as a national student program! Last year's pilot of this program was a great success with over $19,000 in college scholarships being handed out!

BDPA needs your support to spread the word about this great program. Do you know any high school or undergrad college students with programming experience who can work independently and interested in developing native iOS and Android mobile applications. This program is completely virtual! However, BDPA will provide weekly training sessions and mentors for students during the application development portion of the showcase.
If you have questions or wish to discuss further, please reach out to National BDPA Mobile Application Showcase coordinator, Tonji Zimmerman, by email ( or by phone (301.584-3135).

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Rest In Peace: Brandon Berry (1984-2008)

BDPA lost a young legend on February 3, 2008 when Brandon T. Berry died much too soon. Brandon was born March 20, 1984 in Viscenza, Italy. He traveled all around the world. He recently graduated from Ohio State University with a Computer Science degree. He was working on a Master Degree at the time of his death.

Brandon's dream was to become an entrepreneur with computer sales and internet services business. In fact, he demonstrated his entrepreneurial skills with a business that he started in high school and continued while in college.

I served as BDPA Cincinnati chapter president in 1999-2001. I knew young Brandon throughout my 3-year team as chapter president. I first met him in 1999 while he was attending Cincinnati's Hughes High School. He served as president of the 'Future Educators of America' in high school. However, his love of information technology led him to the BDPA Cincinnati chapter computer camp that we created in 1999. His talents were self-evident during the computer camp. In fact, Brandon ended up being a member of the national High School Computer Competition (HSCC) team from Cincinnati in both 1999 and 2000.

His teammates in 1999 were Tiara Bonner, Jarelle Marshall, Kelly Robinson and Calvin Shaw, III.

His teammates chose Brandon to be their captain at the 2000 national competition held in Washington DC. The team confidently called themselves 'Team CHAOS (Cincinnati Holds All Opposition Speechless)'. Brandon and his teammates (Raven Chambers, Jarelle Marshall, Terris Poole and Stephanie Ross) in 2000 brought home the silver medal in the national competition. It remains the highest level of success for BDPA Cincinnati in over 20 years. Brandon used the Bemley Scholarship that he won in 2000 towards his educational expenses at Ohio State University.

Brandon loved C/C++ Programming and he came back in 2001 as a HSCC alumni to help coach the team that year. He served as a 'technical representative' for the Cincinnati HSCC team that traveled to the 2001 national competition held in Chicago.

Brandon Berry had an immeasurable impact on the members, supporters and sponsors of BDPA Cincinnati chapter.  He is part of our history and his impact as a role model can never be underestimated.

You can help us celebrate his life by making a donation to the Brandon Berry Memorial Scholarship Fund!
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Monday, February 2, 2015

Grant Proposal: Gannett Foundation (Milwaukee)

BDPA Education and Technology Foundation worked in collaboration with BDPA Milwaukee chapter (president, Carmen Giles) to submit a $5,000 grant proposal to the Gannett Foundation. We requested funding to support the chapter's Student Information Technology Education & Scholarship (SITES) project. The chapter seeks to train 25 students in STEM-related curriculum over the course of the year. BDPA Milwaukee chapter has already won a $5,000 grant award from the Helen Bader Foundation.

BDPA Milwaukee Leadership Team
BDPA Milwaukee was recently named 'Comeback Chapter of the Year' for its accelerated growth and commitment to students, members and corporate sponsors. Last year, BDPA Milwaukee sponsored local high school students to compete in the National BDPA High School Computer Competition. Successful funding from the Gannett Foundation will allow them to bring another team to Washington DC later this year.

We encourage all BDPA chapters to reach out to us if they need funding support for the SITES program in their area. Our process is well documented. For now, let's all simply wish 'good luck' to BDPA Milwaukee chapter!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Message from National BDPA President

Pamela Mathews
Hello everyone! Can you believe that we are already in the month of February? Time flies when you work with a controlled sense of urgency! This phrase best summarizes how your national and regional leadership performed in the month of January -- accelerating efforts around the following key activities:
  • Appointed Coram Rimes as Vice President of Finance;
  • Brand rejuvenation focused on visual optics and updating programming that will increase our member value proposition for current and prospective members, corporate partners, sponsors and students;
  •  Registration or training opened for the High School Computer Competition, Mobile Application and IT Showcase programs. I encourage all students, trainers and sponsors to engage in one of these signature programs;
  • Reviewed and confirmed organizational finances, including evaluation of 2014 Conference expenses and our plan of action to retire this debt; and
  • The 2015 Technology Conference and Career Fair planning is underway and the team is positioned to deliver our best Conference ever. The discount conference registration rate of $300 has been extended until February 28th.
As you can tell, we are not just planning or talking about the tactics that bring our strategy to life, but we are EXECUTING. 2015 is most definitely all about execution and I hope that this energy transcends the entire organization, especially as we celebrate our 40th Anniversary.

In that same spirit, February is also the month we celebrate Black History. Our legacy is one that we can all be proud of and commemorate every day, but especially over the next twenty-six days. In addition, I am encouraging everyone to participate in local Black Family Technology Awareness Week activities.

Furthermore, please remember to renew your membership, register for the Conference and get busy with your local chapter. As a reminder, your local, regional and national leadership stand ready to listen, learn and lead based on your feedback and participation. Thank you in advance for your continued support and collaboration.

In closing, I want to THANK YOU again for the opportunity to serve our great organization as President and please feel free to contact me at if you have any questions, comments or concerns.

Pamela L. Mathews, president
National BDPA