“Black Girls Code” Aims to Break Racial and Gender Barriers in STEM

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Photo Credit, fastcoexist.com

Tallahassee, FL- Black Girls Code is a non-profit organization that  educates young girls of color in STEM-related skills. The San Francisco-based initiative, founded in 2011, works to break down racial barriers in the technology field for African-American women.

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Founder Kimberly Bryant studied electrical engineering as a young college student. As she continued her studies, she began  to feel culturally isolated, usually being the only African-American woman in her classes.The National Center for Women & Information Technology says black women comprised only 3 percent of the computer workforce. Bryant sought to educate girls to break the stereotypes that women of color have no interest in technology careers.

McKeever E. Conwell, an instructor at the non-profit organization Code Fever understands the reasoning behind the minority representation in STEM fields. “It’s not that Black or minority children aren’t smart enough, [it’s that] their school systems aren’t good enough.”

Schools in low-income areas are often given second hand materials and books from highly ranked schools that are often outdated. Kimberly Bryant’s goal is to reach into communities that lack resources to promote digital education.”The scarcity of Black women in this field has little to do with lack of interest and more to do with lack of resources and opportunities and she wants to be able to provide a space where these resources and opportunities are available.”

Sandra Horne, staff  at Black Girls Code says that although getting students motivated may be a challenge, with the proper approach and care, they can be cultivated into great leaders.

“My favorite part about working with Black Girls Code is the look on a girl’s face when she first learns something new,” Horne said. “We teach girls to value themselves first, so they can be confident in their skills. Learning to code is like holding the key to endless possibilities in technology. Coding turns people into creators, where they can make their own worlds and in turn promote a positive, sustainable change. That’s the message we aim to send with each session here at Black Girls Code.”

Last fall, a web series was launched to introduce Black Girls Code and the type of projects they complete. Through the documentary, viewers can follow the Black Girls Code team as they teach young girls to code and build websites. The lessons help students become fluent in programming languages, preparing them for the rapidly growing demand in computing careers.

Bryant also states, “There is an ever-present need for educational reform, as many students in low-income communities are being crippled by the need to pass standardized tests as opposed to being nurtured by a well-rounded curriculum.”

Many hope the web series will boost awareness of the initiative. The organization plans to continue its expansion. It hopes to make a greater impact in schools around the country.

By, Joyce Philippe

With contributions from Theatlantablackstar.com and blackgirlscode.com

Photo, fastcoesxist.com

Video, Black Girls Code

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The Beginning: My New Canon T4i

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I took the plunge and bought my first DSLR as an early Christmas gift, and I have no regrets.

The first thing I thought when I opened up the box was she’s so beautiful, she needs a name! [*name pending] It’s a Canon Rebel T4i, a great camera for beginners, price & performance-wise. I got it because I wanted absolute control. With my own camera, I won’t rack up any more late fees from the school’s media loan program (if they even HAD cameras available!). I will be able to produce my own videos and images on my clock, and I love that power. This means I also have no excuse to not be constantly creating. I had all this time to plan, and come spring semester, it’s all about execution.

I still look at my camera with starry-eyed wonder, thinking of all the amazing shots to come. I’m already looking at lenses to purchase, especially the Canon 50mm f/1.4 USM prime lens. It’s low aperture allows for crisp images and leeway in low-light environments, which is a must. I’ve taken a few runs with her so far, and they came out beautifully. I just can’t wait to get the technicalities down so I can get to the creative aspect of photography. What interests me the most is the development of a personal style. What separates one photographer from the next? I guess some things are better learned by experience.

New Years Resolutions: 2014 Edition

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Without further adieu, my resolutions for 2014. This should be fun. 

1. Read more news.

2. Take more photos.

3. Write about everything, instead of thinking “that would make a good post” & moving on.

4. Fight for your spot (jobs, internships, lunch line, etc.)

5. Expand your music catalogue.

6. Show up on time.

7. Know you you are & what you have to offer. Now show it.

8. Dress up more; if you look good, you feel good (*proven fact)

9. Budget & save that cash! Nice things cost money.

10. More home cooked meals, its healthier & easier on the pockets.

11. One up ‘Yonce. (Shoot for the stars, right?)

12. Random acts of kindness

Kerry Washington Gives “SNL” a Taste of What It’s Missing

Kerry Washington is one of Hollywood’s hottest commodities. From the silver screen to the red carpet, Washington has demonstrated her superstar quality with stunning appearances and performances. Last weekend,  the “Scandal” star hosted Saturday Night Live, wasting no time in addressing the series’ recent controversy. Continue reading

My First Edit | FSU Black Student Union Presents: Bridging The Gap- The Pep Rally Ft. @SpokenReasons

My position on FSU’s Black Student Union Executive board is co-editor of our semesterly publication, Incite Magazine. We have a magazine instead of the usual scrapbook because we wanted a new way to archive the many events that happen during the school year. I’m so excited about this video because it the first of many videos I plan on producing during my time at FSU. I can only go up from here!

As historian, I think that photos alone aren’t enough to capture the energy held by the BSU. That is when I decided to start recording footage at all of our events. This pep rally turned out to be bigger than any of us expected. Spoken Reasons was a great host, and the performers were on point from start to finish. I’m glad I have the opportunity to show people how FSU’s BSU really gets down.We’re more than just an agency, we’re a family!

The Black Student Union is THE official voice and representative on issues concerning black students.

Life In Black and White

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Last year marked the 50th year of integration at Florida State University. In the midst of the turbulent 1960s, FSU opened its doors to a group of courageous African American students.  In 2004, the university unveiled the Integration Statue, a prominent display that serves as a tribute to those who helped to create the diverse environment that FSU prides itself on.

Continue reading