Saturday, December 31, 2016

Kwanzaa: Kuumba ('Creativity')

Habari Gani? Kuumba (koo-OOM-bah)!
Day 6.  December 31

Using creativity and imagination to make your communities better than what you inherited.

I don't consider myself to be 'creative' in the normal sense.  I haven't written many poems in my life.  I don't create original artwork of any kind.  I don't create my own songs.   I imagine that I'm not unlike many of you.  I suspect that many of you join me in feeling confined in the roles we play, expected to conform to the expectations of others.

However, God gave each of us 'wings' on which to fly our personal journey.  Caged, we can do little more than flutter those heavenly wings in frustration.  We must sing to give vent to our misery, to express ourselves and to create beauty in our own world.

We all need to find outlets for our stifled selves.  In the act of creating, we enter an almost meditative state where our troubles cease to exist and our spirit heals and fortifies.

Painting, playing an instrument, or writing a poem my readily occur to us as means of creative expression, but so are blogging, gardening, cooking, or quilting -- whatever appeals to our individual natures.

Perhaps it is time for us to celebrate this sixth principle of the Nguzo Saba principle, 'Kuumba'! Perhaps it is time ... as we prepare for a new year ... to allow our creative natures to breathe a little more.  Perhaps it is time for each of us to allow the caged bird inside of ourselves to sing ... to fly.

On this day, I will do something artfully.  I will write a letter, make a pencil sketch, or just rearrange one of my rooms in a different way.

Those are my thoughts about Kuumba. Please take a moment to join this online Kwanzaa celebration with me. What do you think when Kuumba comes to mind?


Friday, December 30, 2016

Kwanzaa: Nia ('Purpose')

Habari Gani? Nia!
Day 5, December 30

To make as our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.

Can any hill stand between you and your beloved? No. Especially if it is your purpose or goal to be with that person. Of course, there are hills in life. Heck, sometimes there are mountains. But when life is good, it seems like there are no hills. Why? Because, like a baby driven to walk, we are undeterred by the obstacles between us and our goal.

African Americans have certainly had our share of disappointments and setbacks. But, we have learned that when we are really focused, nothing can hold us back. When we believe that our goal is worth and that we are worthy to achieve it, we are more than halfway there. We need only plant our feet on the road and keep moving forward.

Perhaps it is time for us to celebrate this fifth principle of the Nguzo Saba principle, 'Nia'! Perhaps it is time ... as we prepare for a new year ... to set written goals for all of the areas of our life: family, financial, health and spiritual. If not now, when? We can always do more to set and seek out specific goals in life, because we all benefit when our brothers and sisters succeed.

On this day, I will do at least one thing that will help me accomplish one of my goals.

Those are my thoughts about Nia. Please take a moment to join this online Kwanzaa celebration with me. What do you think when Nia comes to mind?


Thursday, December 29, 2016

Kwanzaa: Ujamaa ('Cooperative Economics')

Habari Gani? Ujamaa!

To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them.

Cooperative economics can help African Americans take physical control of their own destinies. Did you know that 95% of all earnings in the Black community ends up in the hands of non-Black people? Is it any wonder that when one community has $1.95 and our community has a nickel ... that one community is more respected by local government; has better police relations; has better schools; has better economic outcomes? Perhaps it is time for us to celebrate this fourth principle of the Nguzo Saba principle, 'Ujamaa'!

We can always do more to support our people, because we all benefit when our brothers and sisters succeed. If it means going a block farther to a Black-owned store, let's do it. And if the quality of the merchandise or service disappoints us, let's communicate that to the owner so we give her every chance to rectify the situation and count on us as a permanent customer.

Let's buy books and albums by African Americans, and go to movies by African American directors. Remember the simple saying, "Put your money where your mouth is." Let's show support, and not decry the lack of it.

Those are my thoughts about Ujamaa. Please take a moment to join this online Kwanzaa celebration with me. What do you think when Ujamaa comes to mind?


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Kwanzaa: Ujima ('Collective Work and Responsiblity')

Habari Gani? Ujima!

To come together to build and maintain our communities.

None of us walks alone. Especially in the Black community. We need to realize that we stand on the shoulders of others. Celebrating the Nguzo Saba principle, 'Ujima', gives us a chance to reflect on those that helped us reach our current platform. We can pay homage to our parents, grandparents, siblings, teachers, mentors, colleagues or others that came into our lives. Nubians in America should also lift up in praise those African Americans that came ... some were lost ... so that we might have the freedoms we enjoy today.
In other words villagers ... let's be proud of our accomplishments. We earned the right to be proud. However, let's also remember that our accomplishments may never have happened without the help of others struggling before us. Now, we must pay it forward. We must reach back, down or across to others to help them on their journey.

Those are my thoughts about Ujima. Please take a moment to join this online Kwanzaa celebration with me. What do you think when the Ujima comes to mind?


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Ryan Dale Uses His Johnson & Johnson Scholarship at University of Louisiana

Ryan Dale * JnJ Scholar
BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF) is proud to announce that Johnson & Johnson awarded a $2,500 college scholarship to ten (10) students. One of those students is Ryan Dale of University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He will use the scholarship funding to support his education in Informatics.

Ryan's concentration is in Systems Administration and he has a minor in Business. Ryan has been training in martial arts (mainly TaeKwonDo) since he was six years old. He started working at my martial arts school at age fifteen and have been working at multiple martial arts schools ever since. He also owns a small business that is a social venture based on spreading the power of positivity through martial arts tricking: an acrobatic form of movement including aspects from martial arts, gymnastics, dance and other disciplines.

After completing his second summer internship with GE, he signed on to start with their Digital Technology Leadership Program. Ryan looks forward to the rotational and leadership opportunities this program presents to him. He plans on taking on both technical and project management-­type assignments. After graduating from the program, he plans on finding a location to settle down in and become a project manager and eventually work my way up to a CIO position or something like it.

When asked to share his thoughts on BDPA,

Organizations like BDPA are key in a fast-paced field such as technology because they bring together bright minds from all over for one cause. In a world filled with globalization around every corner, organizations that support ideas and innovations are the glue that helps hold the industry together. Education and networking are so important throughout a person’s career and being a part of BDPA provides opportunities to grow and develop through so many outlets.
My favorite memory could perhaps be characterized as being quite recursive. This scholarship that was awarded to me with Johnson & Johnson shows me the incredible opportunities available to those who get out there and shoot for them. Not only are the opportunities important, but the companies and organizations that back those opportunities, such as Johnson & Johnson and BDPA, are so important when it comes to recruitment and retention in the technology field. I find it inspiring and I plan on giving back as well when I am settled into my career. This vote of confidence has made that much of an impact on me and I am extremely grateful for it.

BDPA is blessed to have such a young and talented student on board as BDPA student member and a winner of the Johnson & Johnson Scholarship. We look forward to supporting Ryan's career as he seeks to advance in the technology industry!

Kwanzaa: Kujichagulia ('Self-Determination')

Habari Gani? Kujichagulia!

To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves.

The second principle in the Nguzo Saba calls for us to spend less time worried about what 'THEY' are thinking and more time focused on our own decisions. We can't waste our time trying to live up to the expectations of others. We must value the importance of our own personal goals. How are we living up to our own inner compass of what is right and wrong ... our own values ... our own dreams.

I plan to spend more in 2016 focused on setting and exceeding my own financial, family, physical and spiritual goals. I intend for 2016 to be a year in which I live my dreams. No more sitting back and waiting for others ... it is time for me to take control of my situation fully and completely.

Today, I take the first step.


I hope that other villagers are considering what the concept of 'kujichagulia' or self-determination means to them.

Here is an affirmation for today that we can all use -- 'On this day, I will take five minutes and visualize that I have accomplished one of my goals.'

Monday, December 26, 2016

Grant Declination: Brewers Community Foundation (BDPA Milwaukee)

Brewers Community Foundation provides a significant number of grants each year to nonprofit organizations that provide quality programming in the areas of health, education, recreation and basic needs, with a particular focus on low income and disadvantaged youth and their families. BDPA Milwaukee wrote a $5,000 grant proposal to them seeking support for the 2017 Student Information Technology Education & Scholarship (SITES) program. We were recently informed that our proposal had been declined.

Dear Mr. Hicks,

Brewers Community Foundation has reviewed your request for financial support and regret we will be unable to contribute to your organization. Our decision was not based on any deficiency in either the information you provided us or the worthiness of the request, but rather our determination was based upon the funds available for grants this year.

We wish you success in your endeavors.

Cecelia Gore
Executive Director

Brewers Community Foundation is the official charitable arm of the Milwaukee Brewers baseball team. Brewers Community Foundation harnesses the pride, passion and commitment of Brewers fans, players and other supporters to positively impact the lives of children and families in Greater Milwaukee and Wisconsin.

We will continue to raise money for BDPA Milwaukee

Kwanzaa: Umoja ('Unity')

Habari Gani? UMOJA

To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.

You live long enough and you begin to realize that you cannot have an impact on your community, nation and race until you first have an impact on your family. It is through the good you do with your parents, siblings, spouse, children, nieces, nephews and cousins that you leave your mark on the world. The pebble that you drop in the lake called family will begin to flow out in concentric circles that will grow larger and larger over time.

Make yourself and your family stronger ... you make our community and our nation stronger. Am I doing enough to make ourselves stronger mentally, physically, financially and spiritually?

The past is gone. Our ability to changes things for the better begins today. What can I do to make myself better mentally? physically? financially? spiritually? These are questions that I will ask myself today as I meditate on the meaning of 'umoja' in my life. I will find ways each day to improve myself and my family ... even my blogging family ... so that we might be stronger as a community and as a nation. Each one, reach one.


Care to share your thoughts on the concept of Umoja, the first principle shared in the Nguzo Saba?

Friday, December 23, 2016

Top Pharmaceutical Company Eli Lilly and Company Continues Diversity Commitment to BDPA

Eli Lilly and Company, one of the world’s top pharmaceutical companies and one of Fortune’s Most Admired Companies recently renewed its Gold Level sponsorship commitment to BDPA to increase diversity by creating opportunities in the industry.
Mike Williams
National BDPA President Mike Williams said, "Eli Lilly continues to be an invaluable partner and sponsor for BDPA. They continue to distinguish themselves as champions of workforce diversity through their actions and financial commitment."
Lilly is a global health care leader that unites caring with discovery to make life better for people around the world. For more than a century, they have stayed true to a core set of values—excellence, integrity, and respect for people -- that guide them in all they do: discovering medicines that meet real needs, improving the understanding and management of disease, and giving back to communities through philanthropy and volunteerism.
Tim Coleman
One of Eli Lilly’s many principle commitments is respect for people. "We are proud to again partner with and support BDPA. The organization’s work to ensure a diverse talent pipeline for the future and to encourage young people to explore careers in science and technology aligns with our beliefs at Lilly,” stated Tim Coleman, Eli Lilly and Company Senior Director. “Education is so vital to creating the professionals who will contribute to the discovery of innovative medicines of the future," he added.
Eli Lilly and Company is headquartered in Indianapolis, IN. They have been strong sponsors and examples to others in the city. BDPA Indianapolis Chapter continues to provide opportunities to promote professional development and administer student programs to help high school students gain knowledge, skills and competitive experiences in Information Technology. The chapter has remarkable accomplishments in 2016, including: 2016 Chapter of the Year, 2nd & 3rd Place College IT Showcase Winners (4 participants), 1st & 2nd Place High School Mobile Showcase Winners, 2 Students won iPads and several students were awarded scholarships.
Terry Morris
Terry Morris, BDPA Indianapolis Chapter President stated, “As President of the Indianapolis Chapter of BDPA, I am once again proud to stay thank you and recognize Eli Lilly and Company for its sustained commitment to BDPA and its pledge to having a diverse and inclusive workforce. Eli Lilly has been the most tenured and consistent sponsor of our local chapter’s youth and professional development efforts. Their sponsorship, and more importantly, their willingness to allow their leaders to play a significant role in the leadership and execution of the chapter played a key role in the Indianapolis chapter being named the 2016 Chapter of the Year.”
For more details on the BDPA corporate sponsorship program, contact the corporate sales support team at (301) 584-3135 ext. 108 or Additionally, please visit

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Grant Recipient * BDPA Greater Columbia ($4,000)

BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF) awarded BDPA Greater Columbia with a $4,000 grant in support of its 2017 Student Information Technology Education & Scholarship (SITES) program. The funds will be used for 2017 BDPA Conference registration, lodging, airfare, incidentals for Youth Technology Students, expenses for chaperones, classroom instruction and college scholarships.

BDPA Gr. Columbia Students

BETF seeks to provide funding for National BDPA and its 46 local chapters. We encourage you to support our BDPA Greater Columbia chapter by making a secure online contribution.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Member on the Move: Jasmine Mann (Virginia Military Institute)

Jasmine Mann Wins Scholarship
We are very happy to report that one of our new college student members ... Jasmine Mann .. earned an improved college scholarship.   Jasmine was nominated by E. Sean Lanier to become a BDPA college student member sponsored by Hilton Worldwide.  Jasmine is a freshman at Virginia Military Institute who combined her strong academics she earned during summer school and first semester along with her demonstrated leadership potential to earn an upgrade to her ROTC Scholarship.  She will use her scholarship to continue her students in Electrical & Computer Engineering. 

Jasmine is  a member of ROCKS Inc., an essential leader in providing developmental guidance to members of the Army officer corps and ROTC cadets.  She is also a member of the VMI chapter of National Society of Black Engineers and the BDPA Hampton Roads chapter. 

Good luck to Jasmine!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

National BDPA Mobile Application Showcase

Mobile Application Showcase Winners & Sponsors
The National BDPA Mobile App Showcase, co-sponsored by McDonald's, State Farm Insurance and WWT, allows student application developers the opportunity to participate in a competition that allows them to an opportunity to test their talents against others and develop a working, functional mobile application, at no cost to themselves. The applications being showcased will represent three different application categories (i.e. business, personal productivity, and gaming). Each category will have stringent requirements to be met in advance to the showcase.

College and high school students have the opportunity to participate in this 2-day event in conjunction with the 2017 National BDPA Technology Conference held in Cincinnati, OH. The focus of this event includes development on Android and iOS smartphone operating systems.

Each student's projects will be judged in two major categories and four sub-categories. The competition and showcase are open to high school and college students. Their projects will be assessed by a panel of judges prior to the conference. Monetary awards sponsored by State Farm will be given to the top high school and college participants. The awards will be presented at the awards presentation during the 2017 National BDPA Technology Conference Banquet Ceremony. Each participant will be recognized with a Certificate of Participation for their effort.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Top 10 BDPA Chapters (Membership, November 2016)

The lifeblood of any nonprofit association is its membership. We have a new chapter who leads the nation in BDPA members.... BDPA Detroit.   The chapter ... led by its president, Loraine Stewart-David ... continues to amaze others by its consistent growth.  The chapter grew by over 27% in  the past year as they continue moving towards the next milestone of having 300 members this year.

We continue to operate under the leadership of National BDPA VP-Membership Management Mildred Allen.   Her team now includes Chad White (Dallas) and Judaea Lane (Memphis).  Her efforts have allowed BDPA to continue to grow.   She realizes that we need to work hard to keep membership growth and retention higher.

Loraine Stewart-David * BDPA Detroit President

BDPA believes in the management maxim -- you get what you measure.  Let us assess the numbers in order to honor those local BDPA chapters who are demonstrating success in their efforts to recruit and retain members.  Let's take a look at the ten largest chapters in BDPA-Nation:
  1. Detroit - president, Loraine Stewart-David
  2. Cincinnati - president, Shawnda Peterson
  3. Atlanta - president, Vincent Montgomery
  4. Chicago - president, Reggie Rush 
  5. Indianapolis - president, Terry Morris
  6. Philadelphia - president, Cedric Edwards
  7. Milwaukee - president, Allen Baylor
  8.  Washington DC - president, Perry Carter
  9. New York - president, Tyrone McKinney
  10. Triangle - president, Carl Hill 
The number of chapters now belonging to the 'BDPA Century Club' currently stands at four.  The benefit of having powerful leadership is obvious when we see that Detroit, Cincinnati, Atlanta and Chicago each have over 100 members. One of the common denominators for each of these chapters is that they place a high premium on the delivery of quality programs and services to their members. These chapters work hard to ensure that there is a strong return on the $100 investment that each member makes thru annual dues.

National president Mike Williams recently touted the value that organizational re-branding has made on BDPAWhat are your thoughts about the value of BDPA membership? What can your local chapter do to improve the value-proposition for you on a personal or professional level?

Monday, November 21, 2016

Long Story Short: Glenda Chappell (BDPA Baton Rouge Founder)

Glenda Chappell
Glenda Chappell is a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana and an Information Technology (IT) professional with over thirty (30) years of experience. She is currently employed by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana as an Actuarial Advisory Programmer Analyst.

Each year, the BCBS-Louisiana also honors a "Blue Angel," an employee of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana who has shown extraordinary commitment to children. This year, BCBS-Louisiana selected Glenda Chappell – who, over the last decade, have provided hands-on training, mentoring and career development to Baton Rouge youth through the local chapter of Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA) - and will make a $5,000 grant to BDPA in Chappell’s names.

Glenda is a founding member of the BDPA Baton Rouge chapter. Her experience with the organization in other parts of the country since becoming a member in 1998 convinced her that BDPA had worlds to offer the community of Baton Rouge and gave her the drive and desire to introduce the two communities. She now serves as the VP-Finance for that chapter, and organizes its training efforts. Glenda has also served on the National BDPA Board of Directors.

Glenda is also the owner and manager of GDC Consulting. Through this corporation, Glenda offers computer training at discounted rates to the Baton Rouge community, offering training on topics as the need arises in the community. It is her desire that, through this company and BDPA, she can help obtain her goal of “providing training to the community in all things IT”.

Glenda is a 1978 graduate of Southern University in Baton Rouge, La., with a degree in Secondary Business Education and a minor in Computer Science. She serves as secretary of the Scotlandville Hornets High School Alumni Association, where she graduated high school, and coordinator of the Young Adult Ministry at Camphor Memorial United Methodist Church, where she teaches Sunday school, works with the hospitality and membership committees, and sings in three choirs. She is the mother of two adult sons and grandmother to three grandsons and two granddaughters.

This blog wanted to get a more personal look into the personality of this rising BDPA leader. We asked Glenda to give brief answers to some odd questions. We hope you enjoy this new feature that we simply call, 'Long Story Short...'

  1. Favorite food you’d take with you on a desert island? Ice cream. No point in existing without ice cream.
  3. How you kill time in airports? On my laptop/tablet. If there’s work to complete, I complete it; if there’s an e-book I haven’t finished, I read; if there’s nothing else calling my attention, I play card games. Unless, of course, there’s a game on. That is going to get my attention first.
  5. Least favorite chore? Cooking. The purpose of my kitchen in my house is to hold the refrigerator that houses my ice cream and the milk for my cereal. I am from Louisiana, and do have some specialty dishes that I make (i.e., gumbo, banana pudding), but I am no cook. Those things are made at special requests or for special events only.
  7. Simple things that make you happiest? Making others happy. I long ago decided this was my sole purpose in life. I love to see others enjoy my cooking, even though I don’t do it much. I love to see the light bulb go off in the eyes of students when they finally understand a concept they’ve been having trouble grasping. I love to see the relief on a person’s face when they learn that something they needed is being provided. That is what keeps me going.

Nothing wrong with a sistah who likes ice cream!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

BDPA Announces Infosys as a Bronze Sponsor

Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA), the largest African American information technology association in the United States, proudly announced Infosys, a global leader in consulting, technology, and outsourcing solutions, as a Bronze Sponsor of their 2017 National Technology Conference and Career Fair that will be held in Cincinnati, Ohio.

"We are honored to have the support of Infosys, one of the leading global Information technology consulting companies in the world. We look forward to partnering with Infosys in the months ahead," reported Mike A. Williams, National BDPA President.

Started in 1981 by seven engineers, Infosys has a growing global presence with over 85 offices and 100 development centers across the Asia-Pacific, Americas, Europe and the Middle East.
Becky Lowe * Infosys
Becky Lowe, Infosys Human Resources Vice President stated, “Our strength comes from our diversity. Infosys is committed to sponsoring BDPA and its mission to support the next generation of the IT industry. Technology’s influence is deep and wide, and its future relies on a robust, capable and global IT industry with inclusive perspectives and philosophies.

BDPA has 40 chapters across the United States and is a catalyst for professional growth and technical development for those in IT. BDPA continues to bridge the digital divide by providing training and career growth opportunities for its members.

For more details on the BDPA corporate sponsorship program, contact the corporate sales support team at (301) 584-3135 ext. 108 or

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Cincinnati State Technical College Champions BDPA Cincinnati Programs

Cincinnati State Technical College
Cincinnati State Technical College champions BDPA Cincinnati to fulfill its mission to deliver Information Technology (IT) programs within the global technology industry for the next generation of IT leadership. BDPA is the largest African American IT Association in the country and has over 40 chapters across the United States.
Karen Lipscomb, BDPA Cincinnati Chapter VP of Member Services said, "Cincinnati State Technical College has been a staunch champion of BDPA for a number of years, contributing to the chapter financially as well as through the gift of people and equipment resources. We look forward to a continuing relationship in which, through this partnership, we develop and retain IT talent for the greater Cincinnati area."
Cincinnati State Technical College offers more than 130 associate degrees and certificates in nursing and healthcare, engineering technologies, culinary arts, business and information technologies, environmental technologies, humanities and sciences, and a wide range of specialized area.
"We at Cincinnati State are thrilled to help with the technical skill development of Cincinnati Metro area high school and college students. We continue to see students exposed to BDPA Outreach training, then progress and become highly productive members of the local community and society. We enthusiastically embrace the BDPA Motto of “Advancing Careers from The Classroom to The Boardroom," reported Frank Hill, Cincinnati State Adjunct Professor.

For more details on the BDPA corporate sponsorship program, contact the corporate sales support team at (301) 584-3135 ext. 108 or

Friday, November 11, 2016

Rod Robinson Wins 2015 BDPA Epsilon Award for Outstanding Technical Contribution

Rod Robinson * ConnXus
National BDPA annually selects and awards the BDPA Epsilon Award to recognize and celebrate key contributions and accomplishments of its members. Nominations are accepted across three categories and they are evaluated by a team of National BDPA members. One of the categories is Outstanding Technical Contribution. This honor is reserved for individuals who have pioneered new or leveraged existing technology to solve a critical industry, business or technical problem.

BDPA is pleased to announce that Rod Robinson has won the 2015 Epsilon Award for Outstanding Technical Contribution. His nomination was submitted by Information Technology manager Feoshia Davis (ConnXus). Feoshia wrote,

"ConnXus’ Founder and CEO Rod Robinson takes a holistic approach to the supplier diversity arena. By providing a full suite of solutions, this business model acts as a one-stop-shop for corporations looking to find, communicate with, engage and measure their supplier diversity initiatives.

For procurement officers, it’s difficult and expensive to find qualified diverse suppliers. For minority- and women-owned business, it is difficult to make the right corporate connections. And it’s nearly impossible for both groups to find high quality, reliable and forward-thinking technology solutions.

ConnXus is solving those problems through our SaaS-based procurement platform that provides major corporations with a fully integrated supplier-diversity technology solution. The ConnXus platform provides organizations with a turnkey solution for efficiently managing all aspects of their corporate supplier diversity processes. From targeted supplier outreach, validation and data management to spend tracking & reporting. Our scalable platform also matches buyers and qualified suppliers based on profile compatibility.

Our patent-pending software-as-a-service platform TierTracker that allows a ConnXus client to aggregate the diversity spend of identified Prime vendors for the purposes of reporting supply chain activity with diverse vendors."

BDPA is very proud to honor the works of Rod Robinson! We are glad that he won this 2015 Epsilon Award!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Bemley Scholar Isaac Gullickson Continues STEM-Based Education at University of Minnesota

Isaac Gullickson * University of Minnesota
BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF) proudly announces that a Dr. Jesse Bemley Scholarship has been awarded to Isaac Gullickson. Isaac earned the Bemley Scholarship as a result of participating in 2013 (1st place); 2014 (3rd place) and 2015 (fourth place) won by the team trained by BDPA Southern Minnesota chapter at the National High School Computer Competition (HSCC) championship.

Isaac is now a freshman at the University of Minnesota majoring in Computer Science. He is passionate about programming and web development thanks to the experiences he received in BDPA. He seeks to be a computer programmer or a full stack web developer. Isaac has a host of experiences with web development that he learned in high school. He was on a mentorship with Mayo Clinic and IBM. He also participated on his first robotics team.

We asked Isaac to share his insights about BDPA, and he wrote,

"I had a friend in 9th grade who I thought was the bee’s knees when it came to anything technical. I’d ask some vague question about recent inventions or coding and he’d answer, narrating the tale of how programming languages were developed or describing the latest tech from Google, for instance. He’d do so with a passion that was contagious. It was from him that I heard of BDPA and the weekend class that taught some of this wondrous programming that he had told me about. I took the leap and signed my Saturday mornings away. I could not have imagined the impact that my experiences in BDPA would have. BDPA defined my future goals and gave me the skills to achieve them.

Even before I had any goals, I always liked computers. Though this was mostly because of the games I played on them as a kid, the science behind how they worked intrigued me. My only goals at the time for this interest were to wait until college, where I knew I could take courses on coding. This remained my mindset and I never took advantage of the wealth of information the internet could have provided, as I didn’t have the drive to take advantage of it. BDPA changed that very quickly. Creating website applications - tangible products of my work - was immensely rewarding. I worked on projects in class on weekends, at home, in school, whenever I could. BDPA transformed my dormant interest into an active passion. My goals became to teach myself more about web development, to take it further in college, and then a career in programming. However, skills are essential to achieving any goal.

BDPA taught me many skills, including the technical skills of web development programming, to using IDEs, CPanel, and database manipulation. Equally if not more important however, are the soft skills that are transferable to any career. These include public speaking, people skills, networking. Developing these made for some of the most memorable experiences. The experiences of preparing many summers with a team of fellow BDPA students for the competition, developing our communication, programming, and teamwork skills, but more importantly, bonding and becoming friends. Some of my favorite memories are sweating over the programming problems each year at the competition, slowly figuring them out, and implementing the solution with my friends.

2013 HSCC Champions from Southern Minnesota
In 9th grade, I never thought I could have programmed in part a complete web application that created routes for a lawn care company, or a bus routing service, or any of the professional grade problems that we worked on at the national competition. I never would have believed that I would have the focus and passion to be a part of technology and programming so soon, or to realize my childhood interest. Now in college, I find myself trying to keep building on the impact BDPA has had on me, to continue developing the skills and chase the goals I found in that Saturday morning web development class with my friends."

BETF is proud to support young people like Isaac! However, we need your support. Please take a moment to make a secure online donation in support of the Dr. Jesse Bemley Scholarship Fund so we can help more young squires like Isaac!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Grant Disbursement: BDPA Baton Rouge ($930)

Baton Rouge, LA
BDPA Education and Technology Foundation approved a $930 grant for BDPA Baton Rouge chapter. Midwest Regional vice president Michael Wulf created an online fundraiser to raise money to support BDPA members impacted by the Baton Rouge floods earlier this year. His efforts were successful!

The funding raised by Michael & Elizabeth Wulf is for BDPA members in the Baton Rouge area where the funds would help defray some of the expenses occurred by people who were displaced. We successfully raised enough funds that we were able to provide BDPA Baton Rouge chapter president Kamilah Stroy with $930 to support her members.

BDPA Baton Rouge is currently seeking support for its youth computer program and they need donors!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Supports BDPA Greater Columbia Chapter

BDPA has a strong relationship with BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina as three of our past presidents from our BDPA Greater Columbia chapter were employees of the company. As such we are pleased to announce that BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina made a donation of $4,000 to support our BDPA Greater Columbia chapter.

Elizabeth Nkuo Johnson (Community Relations Manager) wrote,

Enclosed is BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina's donation in the amount of $4,000 for the BDPA Greater Columbia Youth Computer Program grant ... We extend our best wishes to you for continued success and look forward to hearing about your accomplishments during the year."

This funding will support BDPA Greater Columbia efforts to bring more young people to the annual BDPA Technology Conference!

Monday, October 31, 2016

BDPA Vice President Teresa Williams Named Top Ten Business Women of the Year

Teresa Williams
The American Business Women’s Association (ABWA) named Teresa Williams, as the 2017 American Business Woman of ABWA.  ABWA is a national program that honors 10 outstanding members for achieving excellence in career, education and community involvement. From those 10 honorees, one is selected to represent the Association, and all workingwomen, as the American Business Woman of ABWA.

Top Ten candidates are a paradigm for ABWA members who strive for excellence in their careers, their communities, and in the Association,” says René Street, ABWA Executive Director. “It was a privilege to recognize these outstanding women this year at the National Women’s Leadership Conference in Chattanooga, TN and to gain inspiration from their accomplishments.”

Teresa is a Program Manager at NASCO, Inc. Teresa has over 30 years of experience in the Technology field. She joined NASCO in 2009 as a Sr. Project Manager and has held various leadership positions. In her current role as Program Manager, Teresa reports directly to David Weeks, NASCO’s Chief Technology Officer. Teresa is responsible for the overall program/project management & financial administration for the IT Strategy, IT Architecture, IT Data Management, & Information Security teams.

Teresa received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Applied Behavioral Science from National Louis University and a Master of Science in Technology Management from Mercer University. She is a Certified Project Management Professional (PMP).

Teresa is a 25-year member of the American Business Women’s Association (ABWA) and is a member of Pyramid Chapter, Atlanta, GA. She has served the association in many local chapter leadership roles including chapter president of Hidden Hills Chapter and Chairman of the Atlanta Area Council. She served on the 2002-2004 National Board of Directors as District I Vice President and National Secretary-Treasurer. She is currently the Atlanta Area Council 2016 Woman of the Year.

To be selected as one of the 2017 Top Ten Business Women of ABWA is definitely an honor. When I joined ABWA in 1991, I was looking for opportunities to grow my professional leadership skills and to meet other like-minded women”, states Teresa.

ABWA provides women with a safe place to grow their leadership & team-building skills and provides opportunities to step out of your comfort zone. The members of ABWA champion each other which results in producing women leaders who are confident, resilient, and take the concept of women leaders “Leading In” seriously.

Teresa is currently the VP-Member Services for National BDPA. In the past, Teresa has been South Region Vice President since 2012 and she served as BDPA Atlanta chapter president in 2008-2009.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Joshua Silas Uses his Monsanto Scholarship at Tuskegee University

Joshua Silas * Tuskegee University
BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF) is proud to announce that Monsanto awarded a $2,500 college scholarship to four (4) students. One of those students is Joshua Silas of Tuskegee University.

We asked Joshua Silas to share his thoughts on BDPA.

"I participated in STEM summer programs at Tougaloo College and Lawson State Community College. Also, I attended a Summer Finance program at The University of Alabama-Birmingham. I have a passion for mathematics and sciences, especially physics. I am an analytical and critical thinker, who possesses strong leadership abilities. In addition to these qualities and skills, I am motivated and hard working. These attributes have aided me in accumulating a long list of academic honors and achievements.

I have demonstrated excellent leadership skills and is an active participant in academics, curricular activities, and the community. My curricular activities involved track, choir, scholar’s bowl and math team. I participated in service projects held by Habitat for Humanity, which is a charity that provides refurbished homes to those who cannot afford them.  The Relay for Life is a foundation that helps raise monies for cancer research and treatment in order to defeat the disease. I provided musical services for the foundation fundraiser held at Chelsea High School. The Village Creek Society is geared toward improving the environment within the 44 miles of its creek location that benefits residence, businesses, schools, and churches in its watershed.  The Fellowship House is a facility in Birmingham, AL that rehabilitates substance abusers.  In addition, I assisted fellow classmates with projects, homework assignments, and tutored students in math and science, upon request. This experience has given me the opportunity to learn from others, give back, and assists with important causes.

I desire to study electrical engineering. I first became interested in engineering when I visited E-day at Auburn University. I toured the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering and saw the robots that were created and programmed by students. In that moment, I decided I wanted to study, research and potentially design robots. In addition, I have a very keen interest in developing video game consoles. Both of my interests incorporate physics and mathematics. I selected this major because I believe it will provide me the overall knowledge to assist me in pursuing my interests.

After high school graduation, I entered the FASTREC program at Tuskegee University. FASTREC is a pre-college summer session held for eight weeks that strengthened my knowledge and study skills in math and engineering.
I plan to pursue a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and minor in computer science at Tuskegee University. The Engineering program will offer a vast amount of valuable information that will provide me an educational experience that will enhance my career opportunities. As I continue my undergraduate studies, I will participate in internships or co-op opportunities to apply my learned skills. Thus, providing me a competitive advantage in the job market. Upon completion of undergraduate, I will pursue a master's degree and doctorate in Engineering, while maintaining a job at a consumer electronics company that will provide me experience in robotics and hardware. With enhanced knowledge and skills, I plan to pursue a lucrative career that will allow me to innovate and experiment with new ideas in the electrical engineering field."

Joshua enjoyed the BDPA Mobile Application Showcase. The Showcase was a nationwide competition that displayed applications created by students on their mobile devices. He hopes to participate in this Showcase in coming years.

BDPA is blessed to have such a young and talented student a winner of the Monsanto Scholarship. We look forward to supporting Joshua's career as he seeks to advance in the technology industry!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

BDPA Honors Top Four PACEsetters

Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA) honored and recognized four of America’s top and talented individuals at the 38th Annual National Technology Conference Gala at the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia with an Individual PACEsetter Award.

Angie Jones received top recognition in Career Achievement as an experienced professional who achieved significant career accomplishments and made contributions throughout her career.  

Jacqueline Sanders-Blackman
Jacqueline Sanders-Blackman (Technology Expresso) and Ashley Newly received the Community Service recognition for significant demonstration by meaningful results, strong partnership and collaboration with entities in the communities in which they reside.

And Stephanie Lampkin (CEO, Blendoor) received the Technology Excellence award for pioneering new or leveraging existing technology to solve a critical industry, business or technical problem.

Winners received a commemorative gift, a complimentary one-year BDPA membership and featured recognition among their peers as a BDPA Individual PACEsetter Award winner.  For more details on the BDPA corporate sponsorship program, contact the corporate sales support team at (301) 584-3135 ext. 108 or

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Take Five: Tyrone McKinney (BDPA New York)

BDPA provides its members with unique opportunities to develop leadership skills in a comforting environment. One person who has taken full advantage of the career-building opportunities in BDPA is Tyrone McKinney. Tyrone is currently serving as president of BDPA New York ... one of the largest chapters in the nation!

We recently asked Tyrone to participate in our Take Five interview series.

Tyrone McKinney
  1. How did you get involved with BDPA? I was asked to do an UNIX overview in 2000.
  2. What is your favorite part of working with BDPA? Educating our community on new and emerging technologies.
  3. What future evolution or change would you like to see in BDPA? I would like to see more new media and emerging technology companies support BDPA.
  4. Why should someone pay $100 membership dues to join BDPA? Your joining a like-minded community of technology enthusiasts and professionals.
  5. Any advice for people considering a donation to the BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF)? Your donation will help to insure that more of our youngsters get involved in technology careers.

I encourage all of our readers to help Tyrone grow the programs, scholarships and services offered by BDPA New York chapter. One immediate way you can support is through a secure online donation to the chapter's HSCC scholarship program!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

2011 National BDPA High School Computer Competition (HSCC) Rankings

The 2011 National BDPA High School Computer Competition (HSCC) championships were held in Chicago. We had 19 teams competing in 2011. The 2011 HSCC Champion were from BDPA Southern Minnesota and they earned $1,500 Dr. Jesse Bemley Scholarship for attending college. They beat out the student members from BDPA Detroit and BDPA Atlanta.

The winning HSCC team from Rochester MN included: Zakaria Ahmed, Hassan Hassan, Daniel Sheppard, Herchran Singh and Adwait Walimbe.

BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF) is proud to note that we provided financial support to over half of the HSCC teams that competed this year ... including the Bemley Scholarshps provided to the top five (5) performing chapters in the national HSCC championships.

Here are the rankings for all 19 teams that competed in 2011 national HSCC championships with the scholarship winnings for each student in parenthesis:

2011 Southern Minnesota HSCC Team
  1. Southern Minnesota ($1,500 Bemley Scholarship for each student)
  2. Detroit ($1,000 each)
  3. Columbus ($500 each)
  4. Atlanta ($500 each)
  5. Twin Cities ($500 each)
  6. Washington DC
  7. St. Louis
  8. Indianapolis
  9. New Jersey
  10. Chicago
  11. Charlotte
  12. Richmond
  13. Cincinnati
  14. Los Angeles
  15. Middle Tennessee
  16. Triangle
  17. Greater Columbia
  18. Philadelphia
  19. Dallas
Our foundation seeks to increase the number of students that receive Bemley Scholarships. To do so, we need your help. Please consider making an online donation to help us interest young people in science and technology.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Norman Phillips Wins 2015 BDPA Epsilon Award for Outstanding Technical Contribution

Norman Phillips * Epsilon Award Winner
National BDPA annually selects and awards the BDPA Epsilon Award to recognize and celebrate key contributions and accomplishments of its members. Nominations are accepted across three categories and they are evaluated by a team of National BDPA members. One of the categories is Outstanding Technical Contribution. This honor is reserved for individuals who have pioneered new or leveraged existing technology to solve a critical industry, business or technical problem.

BDPA is pleased to announce that Norman Phillips has won the 2015 Epsilon Award for Outstanding Technical Contribution. His nomination was submitted by Information Technology manager Babacar Guisse (Procter & Gamble). He wrote,

Norman received the P&G Global Business Services Excellence Award for his work as the Lead Architect for Video Collaboration Services, which delivered $70M in travel savings. He is also the Technical Lead on the effort to move P&G to the cloud and a member of the Design Team for the 'Bring Your Own PC' solution. Norman has established his equity as the go-to technical expert for any Innovation and technical challenge.

BDPA is very proud to honor the works of Norman Phillips! We are glad that he won this 2015 Epsilon Award!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Kevin Rabinovich Uses His Zycron Scholarship at Clemson University

Kevin Rabinovich * Clemson University
Kevin Rabinovich has been a long-time member of the BDPA Greater Columbia chapter. Kevin is a pianist, designer, developer, and director of TEDxYouth@ColumbiaSC. He's passionate about ideas, design, and coding. He founded TEDxYouth@ColumbiaSC, Columbia's by-youth, for-youth conference in 2011, which has attracted over 500 attendees and over 30 speakers from around the world in total.

Kevin has been playing piano since 5 years old. He was in the A. C. Flora High School jazz band and accompanies school chorus concerts and musicals. He led the FalconProgramming club at his high school, teaching club members about programming and game and product design. He also directs the school-wide Hour of Code, in which students are introduced to programming through a game created by FalconProgramming. Kevin was also part of CodeDay Columbia, a 24-hour hackathon for Columbia's high school and college students.
Kevin wrote, “My most memorable BDPA moment was when my team (Greater Columbia) got second place at the national High School Computer Competition championship. It was very rewarding, because all of our team’s hard work and preparation had finally paid off, and we were happy to beat the team who had previously beat so many others by showing them the power of teamwork and collaboration.”
Participating in BDPA has allowed him to gain access to a variety of scholarships, which are very relevant to his chosen field in technology. Kevin majors in architecture at Clemson University. His career goal is to become an MLG interaction designer.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Andre Garner Earns 2016 Lilly Scholarship for University of Illinois

Andre Garner * University of Illinois
BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF) worked closely with Eli Lilly & Company to confirm Andre Garner as a winner of the 10th annual Eli Lilly & Company Scholarship for BDPA Students. There were three winners of this scholarship. Andre is an outstanding person to win this prestigious scholarship.

Andre Garner was asked to share his story with us. He wrote,

"As a freshman at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, I look forward to studying computer science at one of the nation’s top preparatory schools for aspiring technology innovators. In addition to my interest in gaming, I am particularly interested in helping to expand the reach of high technology to include more people and communities often left out of this exciting area.

In June of 2016, I graduated from Chicago’s Lindblom Math & Science Academy after four-years of academic and social rigor that helped to expand my knowledge of technology, math, science, language, culture and history among other areas. During my Lindblom experience, I was introduced to a diverse cross section of people and experiences. I competed in game design competitions and conferences. I was exposed to Asian, Pacific Island, Caribbean, Latin and Persian Gulf food, art and cultures. Most importantly, my interest was piqued about the vast world of possibilities beyond my home community and the world I had known my entire life.

With technology and gaming being of particular interest to me, I have intentionally sought to expand my knowledge of the unfamiliar and remain open to the limitless possibilities that might only be realized through the further globalization of technology and innovation.

With that in mind, I have served as a volunteer with a number of organizations, including a local church-based food pantry, an annual Thanksgiving food give-a-way organized by Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and leveraging my technology skills in helping an organization created to honor the 100th Anniversary of the cultural movement that brought the families of both my parents to Chicago from the Deep South, The Great Migration. I also spent three years as a volunteer member of the computer maintenance and repair team overseeing technology equipment throughout the campus at my high school.

In planning for college, I sought admission to schools with strong computer science and technology programs to help me toward my goal of developing cutting-edge gaming products while working with youth in underserved communities to become proficient in coding and technology applications. My most recent summer internship experience with Chicago’s Greater Englewood Community Development Corporation’s Urban Tech Squad helped further define my desire to lead and develop engaging social and academic programs for youth.

Just a few months ago, I was encouraged by family members and mentors with the Urban Tech Squad to sign-up for a student membership with the Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA). Through BDPA, I look forward to working with seasoned professionals in the technology arena to further plan both my career and my desire to develop opportunities in technology in communities throughout my home town of Chicago and other places around the world in need of illumination from the light of technology."

Andre is a remarkable young man with great skills. BDPA looks forward to following his career as he progresses through college and on into his career!