BlueFletch and Community Outreach

The democratization of technology means that technology is becoming accessible to the masses. According to the Pew Research Center, roughly 77% of all Americans own a smart phone. Each of these smart phones can easily out compute NASA’s Apollo Guidance Computer, the machine that put humans on the moon. Apollo 11’s on board computer had only 3.8KB of RAM. For comparison, an iPhone 7 Plus sports 3GB of RAM. That’s 3 trillion bytes versus 3000 bytes. The difference is vast.

More powerful technologies are available to more members of the public. Access to technology is becoming more widespread. But what about education and exposure to technology in schools? Some students can learn about computer science and get involved with technology in high school. For some students, their exposure to technology is limited. In 2013, there were 11 states that had 0 black participants. That same year, 3 states had no female students take the exam. There is still a disparity between the availability of computing resources. Here are some organizations that are attempting to bridge the gap:

Black and College Bound & GitHub Scholars

GitHubPictured: BlueFletch and Black and College Bound in the office

Coordinators
Deana Ervin, Phd, MBA
Angela Holcomb, LCSW

About the organization and BlueFletch’s Involvement

Black and College Bound is focused on providing preparation, guidance, and support to students of color throughout the college admission process. Black and College Bound provides a cavalcade of resources to help students secure their futures at higher learning institutions. These resources range from standardized test prep; financial aid and literacy; college fairs and tours; and finally, academic preparedness.

This past summer, Black and College Bound partnered with GitHub to form the GitHub Scholars Program. Students had opportunities to learn technology and interpersonal skills. All of the students formed teams and synthesized these skills to order to create business plans for social impact projects.

BlueFletch was excited to host these students in our office. We are enthusiastic about sharing our love for technology. Representation in tech matters. For a group of students of color, seeing people that look like them in tech re-affirms the notion that a career in tech is not only accessible but attainable.

GitHub Scholars

Pictured: Girl Scouts of East Atlanta alongside Angels N Tech at the Lenox Square Microsoft Store

Angels N Tech

Coordinators
Angela Chambliss, MS, PMP
Tarenia Carthan, BS

About the organization and BlueFletch’s Involvement

Angels N Tech is an organization dedicated to stimulating interest in STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Arts and Mathematics) amongst girls and young women. Angels N Tech strives to promote these fields through a series of hand-ons events. Thus far, Angels N Tech has hosted workshops and hackathons in the Atlanta area.

Angels N Tech recently partnered with the Girl Scouts of East Atlanta to hold the More than Cookies HackAThon. The troop was separated into two groups that tackled social issues involving mental health and implicit stereotyping. The hackathon was hosted by Microsoft at the Lenox Square location. The day was split into two pars. In part one, the teams focused on using the design thinking methodology to ideate and plan their ideas. In part two, the teams implemented their solutions.

Again, representation matters! The troop was able to work alongside their mentors. These women represented professionals in various fields like public health, psychology, engineering, computer science, and data science. The scouts felt passionate and empowered to solve problems that were important to them with the aid of technology. It is refreshing to represent as a developer at BlueFletch and tell these girls: “I am a black woman in technology. You can be too”.

Education for underrepresented groups in STEM and STEAM is far from perfect. Organizations and initiatives like the aforementioned help target groups that are typically left out of the tech conversation. That is true power of technology democratization: making opportunities available for all with the aid of technology.

About Norma Easter

Norma Easter graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a degree in Computational Media. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Computer Science with a concentration on machine learning. At BlueFletch, she works developer and focuses primarily on mobile development.