The U.S. Spent $2.2 Million on a Cybersecurity System That Wasn’t Implemented — and Might Have Stopped a Major Hack

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NEW YORK—As America struggles to assess the damage from the devastating SolarWinds cyberattack discovered in December, ProPublica has learned of a promising defense that could shore up the vulnerability the hackers exploited: a system the federal government funded but has never required its vendors to use.

The massive breach, which U.S. intelligence agencies say was “likely Russian in origin,” penetrated the computer systems of critical federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Treasury Department, the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Justice, as well as a number of Fortune 500 corporations. The hackers remained undetected, free to forage, for months.

The hackers infiltrated the systems by inserting malware into routine software updates that SolarWinds sent to customers to install on its products, which are used to monitor internal computer networks. Software updates customarily add new features, remove bugs and boost security. But in this instance, the hackers commandeered the process by slipping in malicious code, creating secret portals (called “back doors”) that granted them access to an untold bounty of government and company secrets.

The incursion became the latest — and, it appears, by far the worst — in a string of hacks targeting the software supply chain. Cybersecurity experts have voiced concern for years that existing defenses, which focus on attacks against individual end users, fail to spot malware planted in downloads from trusted software suppliers. Such attacks are especially worrisome because of their ability to rapidly distribute malicious computer code to tens of thousands of unwitting customers.

This problem spurred development of a new approach, backed by $2.2 million in federal grants and available for free, aimed at providing end-to-end protection for the entire software supply pipeline. Named in-toto (Latin for “as a whole”), it is the work of a team of academics led by Justin Cappos, an associate computer science and engineering professor at New York University. Cappos, 43, has made securing the software supply chain his life’s work. In 2013, Popular Science named him as one of its “Brilliant Ten” scientists under 40.

Cappos and his colleagues believe that the in-toto system, if widely deployed, could have blocked or minimized the damage from the SolarWinds attack. But that didn’t happen: The federal government has taken no steps to require its software vendors, such as SolarWinds, to adopt it. Indeed, no government agency has even inquired about it, according to Cappos.

“In security, you almost never go from making something possible to impossible,” Cappos told ProPublica, during two video interviews from Shanghai, where he is teaching. “You go from making it easy to making it hard. We would have made it much harder for the [SolarWinds] attackers, and most likely would have stopped the attack.” Although the SolarWinds breach was a “really sneaky” approach, Cappos said, “in-toto definitely can protect against this. It’s very possible to catch it.”

In-toto’s system has supporters among experts in the government and corporations. When ProPublica asked Robert Beverly, who oversees in-toto’s federal grant as a program director at the National Science Foundation, whether using in-toto could have saved the government from the hack, he replied, “Absolutely. There seems to be some strong evidence that had some of the, or all of the, in-toto technologies been in place, this would have been mitigated to some extent.” Beverly, whose NSF responsibilities include “cybersecurity innovation for cyberinfrastructure” and who is on leave from his post as a computer science professor at the Naval Postgraduate School, added that it’s impossible to know for sure what impact in-toto would have had, and that the system remains at an early stage of adoption. “Unfortunately,” said Beverly, “it often takes some of these kinds of events to convince people to use these kinds of technologies.”

Some companies have embraced in-toto, and others, like Microsoft, have expressed interest. “I am a big fan of in-toto,” Kay Williams, head of Microsoft’s initiatives in open source and supply-chain security, said in an email to ProPublica. A second Microsoft program manager, Ralph Squillace, praised in-toto in a recent NYU press release for applying “precisely to the problems of supply chain confidence the community expects distributed applications to have in the real world.” (After Williams’ initial response, Microsoft declined to comment further.)

One senator blasted the government’s failure to use a system it paid for. “The U.S. government invested millions of dollars in developing technology that can protect against this threat, and while several large technology companies have already adopted it, they are the exception,” said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. “The government can speed up industry adoption of this best practice by requiring every government contractor to implement the best available technology to protect their supply chains.”

The in-toto system requires software vendors to map out their process for assembling computer code that will be sent to customers, and it records what’s done at each step along the way. It then verifies electronically that no hacker has inserted something in between steps. Immediately before installation, a pre-installed tool automatically runs a final check to make sure that what the customer received matches the final product the software vendor generated for delivery, confirming that it wasn’t tampered with in transit.

Cappos and a team of colleagues have worked to develop the in-toto approach for years. It’s been up and running since 2018. The project received a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation that year, aimed at promoting “widespread practical use” of in-toto. (Later in 2018, President Donald Trump signed the Federal Acquisition Supply Chain Security Act, aimed at protecting government secrets from software supply-chain threats.)

In-toto could block and reveal countless cyberattacks that currently go undetected, according to Cappos, whose team includes Santiago Torres-Arias, an assistant electrical and computer engineering professor at Purdue University, and Reza Curtmola, co-director of the New Jersey Institute of Technology’s Cybersecurity Research Center. In an August 2019 paper and presentation to the USENIX computer conference, titled “in-toto: Providing farm-to-table guarantees for bits and bytes,” Cappos’ team reported studying 30 major supply-chain breaches dating back to 2010. In-toto, they concluded, would have prevented between 83% and 100% of those attacks.

“It’s available to everyone for free, paid for by the government, and should be used by everyone,” said Cappos. “People may still be able to break in and try to hack around it. But this is a necessary first step and will catch a ton of these things.” The slow pace of adoption is “really disappointing,” Cappos added. “In the long game, we’ll win. I just don’t know that we want to go through the pain that it’ll take for everyone to wise up.”

One of in-toto’s earliest adopters, starting in 2018, was Datadog, a SolarWinds competitor that provides monitoring software for internet cloud applications. Now a publicly traded company with 2020 revenues of nearly $600 million, its customers include Nasdaq, Whole Foods and Samsung. Datadog uses in-toto to protect the security of its software updates. In an NYU press release, Datadog staff security engineer Trishank Kuppusamy, who worked on the program’s design and implementation, said that what distinguishes in-toto is that it “has been designed against a very strong threat model that includes nation-state attackers.” (Datadog did not reply to ProPublica’s requests for comment.)

The General Services Administration, which provides access to software for federal government agencies, still lists SolarWinds products available for purchase. But it said in a statement that “compromised versions” of SolarWinds programs identified by DHS are no longer available.

SolarWinds itself declined to weigh in on whether its hack could have been prevented. “We are not going to speculate on in-toto and its capabilities,” a spokesman said in an emailed statement. “We are focused on protecting our customers, hardening our security and collaborating with the industry to understand the attack and prevent similar attacks in the future.”

Previously little known to the general public, SolarWinds is a public company based in Austin, Texas, with projected 2020 revenues of just over $1 billion. It boasts of providing software to 320,000 customers in 199 countries, including 499 of the Fortune 500 companies. In a recent SEC filing, the company said its flagship Orion products, the vehicle for the cyberattack, provide about 45% of its revenues. A SolarWinds slogan: “We make IT look easy.”

After the hack was discovered, SolarWinds’ stock plunged, and it is now facing shareholder lawsuits. The company has shifted aggressively into damage-control mode, hiring CrowdStrike, a top cybersecurity firm; elite Washington lobbyists; a crisis-communications advisor; and the newly formed consulting team of Christopher Krebs, the former director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (who was famously fired for contradicting Trump’s claims of mass voting fraud) and Alex Stamos, former security chief at Facebook.

News of what’s now known as the SolarWinds attack first came on Dec. 8. That’s when FireEye, perhaps the nation’s preeminent hack-hunter, announced that it had itself fallen victim to a “highly sophisticated state-sponsored adversary” that had broken into its servers and stolen its “Red Team tools,” which FireEye uses to try to hack into the computer networks of its clients as a test of their cyber-defenses. FireEye soon discovered the attackers had gained access through corrupted updates to the SolarWinds Orion network-monitoring software that it used.

On the evening of Dec. 13, CISA issued an emergency directive, identifying SolarWinds as ground zero for the hack and alerting federal agencies using Orion products to disconnect them immediately. Over the following weeks, investigators discovered that SolarWinds had been targeted back in early September 2019, when hackers started testing their ability to inject code into its software updates. After remaining undetected for months, they inserted malware in new updates between February and June 2020. SolarWinds estimated these infected updates affected “fewer than 18,000 of its customers.”

Precisely what the hackers saw, and stole, has yet to be determined and is under investigation. But the full impact of the breach is becoming clearer, as we now know it touches several tech companies, including Microsoft. The software giant has also labored to limit the damage by helping seize an internet domain in the U.S. that the hackers used to siphon data from some SolarWinds customers.

Stamos told the Financial Times, in an interview after being hired to help SolarWinds, that he believed the attackers had embedded hidden code that would continue to give them access to companies and government agencies for years. He compared the situation to Belgian and French farmers going out into their fields where two world wars were fought and discovering an “iron harvest” of unexploded ordnance each spring.

Dmitri Alperovitch, who co-founded CrowdStrike (the cybersecurity firm SolarWinds has hired to investigate the hack) before leaving last year to start a nonprofit policy group, said he thinks that, in theory, the in-toto system could work. But he warned that software is so complex, with many products and companies in the supply chain, that no one defense is a panacea. Still, he agrees that in-toto could provide protection, and said “it’s always a good thing to have more protection for supply chains.”

Russian intelligence services have clearly identified supply-chain attacks “as a much better way to get in,” offering “a much bigger set of targets,” Alperovitch said. “This is an indictment of the entire cybersecurity industry, as well as the intelligence community, that they were able to orchestrate such a broad, sweeping attack right under our noses.”

BDPA achieves new milestone with 45-year Anniversary and Virtual Youth Tech Camp

ST. LOUIS, MO (BDPA St. Louis)BDPA2020 is a wrap! This weekend, National BDPA’s High School Computer Competition (HSCC) finalists out of the Midwest Regional bracket from BDPA’s St. Louis Chapter successfully re-captured their national coding and app development championship title. The awards were virtually announced live Saturday, August 22, 2020 by the association’s Board Members and Student Information Technology Education and Scholarship (SITES) Program Directors.

bdpatoday | June 2019

Winning two titles in the last three years, BDPA St. Louis achieved this feat with support, coaching, and passionate mentorship during COVID-19. This year’s challenges also included remote access for many communities to attend a “virtual” BDPACON20 during the Association’s annual Coding Combine and BDPA2020’s Youth Technology Camp (YTC).

Throughout the year, local chapters conduct SITES training programs for youth in their respective communities. SITES programs include, but are not limited to, HSCC, Mobile App Showcase, IT Showcase, YTC, and Tablets for Teens. Next school year (SY20-21), local SITES programs expand to include participating middle and high school Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) units. These programs are designed to expose young adults to computing and technical concepts while sharing with them expertise to develop mobile and web applications. Some chapters will participate in regional competitions throughout the country to further prepare their students. Each BDPA chapter is able to send teams of 3 to 5 students to the association’s annual regional and national technology conferences to compete against teams from other chapters all over the country.

National BDPA’s High School Computer Competition (HSCC) program was launched in 1986 by Dr. Jesse L. Bemley, of Washington, D.C. What started as a two-team event between the Chapter cities of Washington, D.C. and Atlanta, Ga. has grown to over 20 teams of various high school students from chapters throughout the nation. HSCC is designed to immediately introduce our youth to emerging fields of Information Technology and Cyber while encouraging them to seek higher levels of education, and groom many of them to become our next generation of IT professionals.

More coding and cyber teams for 2021 are forming in direct support of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) with additional tech-inclusion programs for JROTC, Sea Cadets, and Civil Air Patrol cadets. Local sponsors and regional impact investments are welcomed.

Email JROTC@bdpa.dc for additional details. bt

A Miracle out of Mayhem: 51,000 parents and children in Detroit get laptops and free Internet access

DETROIT, MI (NAACP Detroit) – Today it was announced that 51,000 Detroit school children and their parents will have access to laptops and the internet. A few weeks ago, this was only a thought in the minds of a few very dedicated people. Now children all around this city, regardless of economic, social or racial status will become more knowledgeable, more prepared, and more confident in their future.

Partners in this effort are the Detroit Branch NAACP, DTE Energy, DPSCD, Quicken Loans, The Skillman Foundation, City of Detroit, General Motors, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Every now and then, one gets the opportunity to do something much bigger which will last much longer than even they themselves. This is the historic moment. It is a kairos moment (when God has placed a special opportunity) to bless Detroit to come together to create order out of chaos. It has been said, “it is only during a storm that a tree knows how strong it is” Matshona Dhliwayo. Today, we are discovering how strong we can be as a people when we come together as a village. It is hard to believe that what started off as an idea, a suggestion, even a challenge has now evolved into a reality. This truly is the stuff of which dreams are made.

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51,000 Detroit school children and their parents will have access to laptops and the internet. A few weeks ago, this was only a thought in the minds of a few very dedicated people. Now children all around this city, regardless of economic, social or racial status will become more knowledgeable, more prepared, and more confident in their future. Education and information will be brought live and in living color directly into their homes. Detroit will become a national model of what can be done in various communities if the people have a mind to get it done.

It is appropriate and inspiring that the model begin in the city of Detroit. We continue to be a city of firsts. From the auto industry to the music industry, whether its labor or religion, we take a back seat to no one in creativity and innovation. As a community advocate and a person of faith, I do believe in miracles. The ability to raise nearly $20 million dollars in such a short time to have an impact for such a long time is indeed miraculous. This is one sure way of defeating COVID-19. The disease may have taken our bodies, but it can never take the spirit out of Detroit. I want to thank every company, every business, every foundation, the Mayor, and each person that has made this initiative possible.

hscc_conf09-HSCCstudents-2I say to the other companies, firms and foundations that are viewing this progress, now is the time for you to log in with us. Let’s make history together. It is historic because it has never been done before. The children of our city need you. If ever you wondered what you should do, just hook up to the Connected Futures and see all the good that you can do. May God bless you and the children, educators, parents, IT professionals and other staff that will lead us into the future.

– Statement by Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony, President, Detroit Branch NAACP
Cover photo: Detroit Branch NAACP
Coding Competition photos: ©National BDPA and BDPA Detroit

BDPA Chapters may directly receive new tablets, laptops, Raspberry Pi PC kits, software, mobile hotspots, and cash donations locally or via BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF.org) to reduce digital divide challenges.

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D.C. Mayor Delivers a $4.6 Million Technology Investment with 16,400 Devices to Students

#BDPA2020 | bdpa2020.com

WASHINGTON – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and DC Public Schools (DCPS) began delivering more than 16,400 technology devices to students across all eight wards as a part of the Empowered Learner’s Initiative. The initiative is a comprehensive three-year commitment by Mayor Bowser to close the digital divide and empower DCPS students through access to state-of-the-art technology.

“Last year, our community made clear that they wanted us to invest more in technology in our schools – and we answered that call with a $4.6 million investment in new devices for our young learners,” said Mayor Bowser. “But this investment isn’t just about buying devices – it’s about ensuring our students and teachers have the programs and resources they need to help us close the digital divide in Washington, DC.”

Last year, Mayor Bowser made an initial $4.6 million investment in technology to provide every student in grades 3, 6, and 9 with a device to use at school, and students in all other grades will have a 3:1 student-to-device ratio in the classroom. After ensuring schools had the necessary technology infrastructure and providing professional development to educators, classrooms are receiving the Microsoft Surface Go to enhance teaching and learning.

dc-tablets-farabee2020“DCPS is excited to begin delivering on our commitment to close the digital divide and empower students across the district in innovative ways,” said DC Public Schools Chancellor Lewis D. Ferebee (above left, with students). “This year, students in grades 3, 6, and 9 will receive Microsoft Surface Go’s that will enhance their learning experience and advance college and career success. I thank Mayor Bowser for her investment in the Empowered Learner’s initiative and look forward to providing even more students with access to state-of-the-art technology over the next three years.”

After students and educators tested the Microsoft Surface Go, it was selected for its agility, durability, and long-battery life. The Surface Go has a world-facing camera for video and photography, and an inking stylus for drawing and writing.

Since the beginning of the school year, teachers, technology specialists, and operations staff engaged in professional development focused on this new technology. Students are receiving digital citizenship lessons, published by Common Sense Media, to make safe and responsible decisions online.

“We want to ensure the new technology provides the best experience for students and have been testing and optimizing to make that a reality,” said DC Chief Technology Officer Lindsey Parker. “Nearly 50 technicians are trained and ready to support students and teachers the moment the devices enter the classroom and students log-in.”

Tablets For TeensThe devices will stay in the classroom so teachers can continue to use the technology to enhance their instruction. Families can expect to see their third grade students using the devices to apply the math skills they learn to control Sphero robots; high school students enrolled in credit recovery can have full access to digital resources and assessment that will help them master the course content; and teachers can provide personalized strategies to meet every student’s individual needs through both in-person and digital instruction.

Next fiscal year, Mayor Bowser plans to make another multimillion dollar investment in technology to provide a device for every student in grades 4, 7, and 10. To learn more about the devices, families can visit the District’s Empowered Learners Initiative website.

Source and photo: Office of the Mayor
Cover photo courtesy: Debbie Truong

* Resources for DCPS parents, teachers, and students are linked here.


** Related articles on BDPA-DC’s Tablets For Teens or National BDPA’s Mobile App Showcase programs are linked here.


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Select here for exciting careers in TECH and CYBER ...

2019 Community Technology Awards

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WASHINGTON — National BDPA’s Greater Washington, D.C. Chapter (BDPAdc.org) is hosting an evening of professional networking and Holiday Soirée with Tech Industry executives on Thursday, November 21, 2019, at Samsung Electronics Executive Briefing Center, 700 PENN S.E., Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.

2019 High School Computer Competition Champions
2019 National High School Computer Competition (HSCC) Champions from Washington, D.C.

This year’s annual Tech & Media Reception, Community Technology Awards,  and Holiday Soirée is co-hosted by Samsung Electronics. In closing out this exciting decade, the association is honoring the region’s High School Computer Competition (HSCC) national coding championship team (above), celebrating the 55th Anniversary of The Washington Informer, and celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the H.O.P.E. Project DMV.

2019 Community and Technology Award Winners

2019 Lifetime Achievement Awards

2019 Industry Sponsor of the Year

2019 Community Service Award

2019 Member of the Year

  • Terry Wilson-Brox, KPMG
    Tech ‘Team Mom‘ for 2019 National HSCC Coding Champions
    Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and Certified Information Security Auditor (CISA).

2019 Entrepreneur of the Year

  • Ron Hamm , President, HCG
    Government Relations (GovRel) contributor to bdpatoday

2019 President’s Technical Career Awards

  • Anu Fomengia
  • Dernard Hawkins
  • Lynette Hinton
  • Sedley Randolph
  • Phyllis Ussery
  • Brittany Walker

Earl A, Pace, Jr. | Co-Founder, BDPASince 1975, BDPA’s mission sets continue to pay it forward into its fifth (5G) decade to bridge application development, cybersecurity, information technology (IT), and telecommunications competency gaps between Industry, Academia, governments and traditionally underserved communities.

Local BDPA Chapter goals across the National Capital Region (NCR) are set forth to provide access to technology and career training programs. Events with regional sponsors and mission partners include educational outreach programs for professionals, junior developers (Jr. Devs), young adults, and youth technology programs across the Greater Washington, D.C. metropolitan area (DMV) in direct support of economic development, technology inclusion, and workforce development initiatives.

Reservations for this year’s reception and BDPA Professional Membership drives for 2020 remain open until Monday, November 18, 2019. Discover more by visiting the trade association’s landing pages, publications, and archives → https://bdpadc.org

Select here to RSVP before Monday, November 18th


Amazon’s Future Engineer Program funds High School Computer Science Courses

Jeff Bezos visits Dunbar High School in Washington,D.C. Amazon launches Future Engineer Program

SEATTLE, WA—Amazon today announced it reached a new milestone—through its Amazon Future Engineer program, it is funding computer science courses in more than 2,000 high schools supporting students from underserved and underrepresented communities across the country. Benefiting more than 100,000 high school students, from Nenana, Alaska to Washington, D.C., Amazon is funding full-year Intro and AP computer science courses, primarily for public Title I schools that have never offered AP computer science courses before. Amazon Future Engineer is a four-part, childhood-to-career program that works to inspire and educate 10 million children and young adults each year from underserved and underrepresented communities to try computer science.

“We applaud the teachers who took the initiative to bring these courses to their deserving students, and we are humbled to be a part of the important work they do in their classrooms across the country every single day,” said Jeff Wilke, CEO Worldwide Consumer, Amazon. “This is an important milestone for our Amazon Future Engineer program and its quest to make sure more students, especially those from underserved and underrepresented communities, have the access to and the opportunity to dive deep into an exciting computer science education.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that by 2020 there will be 1.4 million computer-science-related jobs available and only 400,000 computer science graduates with the skills to apply for those jobs. Computer science is the fastest-growing profession within the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) field, but only 8% of STEM graduates earn a computer science degree, with a tiny minority from underprivileged backgrounds. Students from underprivileged backgrounds are 8 to 10 times more likely to pursue college degrees in computer science if they have taken AP computer science in high school.

amazon-bezos-kindleAmazon Future Engineer provides access to computer science courses in more than 2,000 schools through its curriculum providers – Edhesive and Code.org. Since the beginning of the 2019/2020 school year, the vast majority of the high schools accepted in the Amazon Future Engineer program are public schools that have received or are eligible for Title I funding.

“Having Amazon Future Engineer fund courses for our students in rural Oregon means we are able to give our students exposure to technology rich skills that directly impact their future career choice,” said Kyle Sipe, Instructional Coach and Robotics Mentor, Umatilla High School. “Because of this program, we can alter the knowledge base of our students and assist them to select a career that better suits our local job market’s needs. Amazon Future Engineer has given our kids the amazing opportunity to get relevant and applicable technology content.”

“We have future scientists, engineers, and inventors in our classrooms throughout the District, and I am proud that we have resources like Amazon’s Future Engineer program to provide them with the learning opportunities they need to achieve their goals,” said District of Columbia Public Schools Chancellor Lewis D. Ferebee. “We are excited to welcome the Amazon team to Dunbar High School to see our students in action, and their passion and excitement for computer science is what drives us to continue to expand our STEM programming through National Academy Foundation (NAF) Academies, courses, extracurricular activities, and more.”

“As demand for computer science skills impacts a wide range of industries from manufacturing to customer service, the demand for a diverse labor force equipped with technical capabilities also rises,” said Congresswoman Haley Stevens (MI). “It’s why we applaud all efforts from the public and private sector to increase access to a robust computer science education and to nurture the growth of our nation’s economy. I am looking forward to seeing all that the next generation of students in Michigan’s 11th district will achieve, as the Amazon Future Engineer program launches at high schools there and across the country.”

The Amazon Future Engineer high schools will receive funding from Amazon to offer Intro & AP computer science courses. Amazon’s funding also provides preparatory lessons, tutorials, professional development for teachers, fully sequenced and paced digital curriculum for students, and live online support every day of the week for both teachers and students. All educators and students participating in this program have access to a no-cost membership with AWS Educate, Amazon’s global initiative to provide students comprehensive resources for building skills in cloud technology. Students will receive content to learn about cloud computing and access to the AWS cloud for their coding projects.

Launched in November 2018, Amazon Future Engineer is a four-part childhood-to-career program intended to inspire, educate, and prepare children and young adults from underrepresented and underserved communities to pursue careers in the fast-growing field of computer science. Each year, Amazon Future Engineer aims to inspire millions of kids to explore computer science; provides over 100,000 young people in over 2,000 high schools access to Intro or AP Computer Science courses; awards 100 students with four-year $10,000 scholarships, as well as offers guaranteed and paid Amazon internships to gain work experience. Amazon Future Engineer is part of Amazon’s $50 million investment in computer science/STEM education. In addition, Amazon Future Engineer has donated more than $10 million to organizations that promote computer science/STEM education across the country.

Cover photo: Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, visits an Amazon-funded computer science class at Dunbar High School in Washington D.C.
— Source and photos: Amazon and NBC Washington

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Tickets are available now from your Host BDPA Chapter. Select here to RSVP before November 15th.

BDPA Huntsville Helps Students Get Wired Up!

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HUNTSVILLE, AL — National BDPA’s Huntsville Chapter was given the opportunity to train students about STEM at Mae Jemison High School. BDPA Members Bernard Nealy, Brandon Fields, Pat King and Jason Bradshaw were the instructors for this training session.

The training session included high school seniors from Mae Jemison, one high school senior and two elementary students from Birmingham who were guests of the instructors. During the session the students had the opportunity experience electrical engineering by connecting a Raspberry Pi microcomputer to a CAMJam Kit breadboard by wiring the two devices together. While also installing resistors, and red, green, & yellow lights to the breadboard.

Once the students completed wiring the two devices together they connected the Raspberry Pi to a monitor, keyboard, and mouse. After it was safely connected the students then were able to connect power to the Pi and proceed to use Python programming to complete the project. Once they completed the code which dictates how the Pi provides power to the breadboard, to each light, and when to halt from sending electrical current, then their results would either be red, yellow, or the green lights to power on.

Participating students really enjoyed the training and asked when the next training sessions would be held. These students are our inspiration to do what we do.

Source and photo creditbdpahsv.org

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Commemorate Baltimore’s Innovation Week, Hispanic Heritage month, and Cybersecurity Awareness Month next weekend in Baltimore with Regional SHPE, NSBE, and BDPA Chapters!

October 12-13, 2019  |  University of Baltimore |  Media Sponsor: bdpatoday

Minority Innovation Weekend | October 12-13, 2019 in Baltimore

BDPA-DC Captures National Coding Title

ATLANTA, GA—The High School Computer Competition (HSCC) team from National BDPA’s Greater Washington, D.C. Chapter (BDPADC.org) captured this year’s national coding and app development title during BDPACon19, the Association’s annual coding combine, 41st National Technology Conference, and Tech Career Expo, hosted by National BDPA in Atlanta, Georgia.

This year, 12 teams advanced from their respective regions to compete nationally for scholarships and internships with National and local BDPA mission-partners and sponsors. For 2019, the top three teams (clockwise, L-R) are BDPA of Greater Washington, D.C. (District of Columbia), BDPA St. Louis (Missouri), and BDPA Southern Minnesota (Rochester, MN.) Click to enlarge photos.

Throughout the year, local BDPA chapters conduct Student Information Technology Education and Scholarship (SITES) training programs for youth in their communities. These programs are designed to expose students to computing concepts, information technology, and provide them additional expertise to develop web or mobile applications. Some chapters participate in regional competitions throughout the country to further prepare their students.

Regional HSCCIn May, Bowie State University co-hosted this year’s Regional Innovation Summit and HSCC with BDPA-DC and Patriots Technology Training Center. Participating BDPA chapters are able to send one team of 3 to 5 students to the annual national technology conference (BDPACon) and coding combine to compete against teams from other BDPA Chapters from other regions.

The National BDPA’s High School Computer Competition (HSCC) was founded in 1986 by Dr. Jesse Bemley, of Washington, D.C. What started as a two-team event between Washington, D.C. and Atlanta, GA has grown to over 20 teams of various high school students from chapters throughout the nation. It was designed to introduce youth to fields of Information Technology (IT), encourage them to seek technical certifications with higher levels of education, and groom many of them to become our next generation of IT professionals.

Corporate sponsors and mission-partners from the National Capital Region that helped paved the way toward this year’s national championship include AG Grace, Inc.; Assured Information Security, Inc. (AIS); Air Force Civilian Service (AFCS); Best Buy; Blacks In Cyber; Bowie State University; Connected2Tech, LLC.; D.C. Courts System; D.C. SBDC; Defender Academy; Eccalon, LLC; Enlightened, Inc.; Federal Government Experts, LLC; GDIT; H.O.P.E. Project DMV; Howard University; Inclusive Innovation Incubator (IN3); Joint Educational Facilities, Inc. (JEF); KPMG; The Microsoft Store;  Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council (MMTC); Morton Media; National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); Oracle; Patriots Technology Training Centers; Premier Enterprise Solutions, Inc.; R&K Cyber Solutions; Samsung USA; SiriusXM Radio, Inc.; U.S. Air Force; U.S. Army; U.S. Coast Guard; Vergo Productions; Washington Association of Black Journalists (WABJ); WOOD Consulting Services, Inc. and select Department of Defense (DOD) agencies.

The Team has scheduled a special open house and press conference on Saturday, August 10, 2019, from 9:00 am to 12 noon at their Gallery Place training facility in Washington, D.C. Invitations may be requested via email:  media@bdpadc.org or info@bdpadc.org.

For additional information, visit BDPAdc.org and BDPA2019.com.

— Photo credits: National BDPA and bdpatoday

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BDPA South Region: Moving On Up!

NASHVILLE, TN — MOVING ON UP!
National BDPA South Region Member SpotlightMr. Lancelot DaSilva
by Judy Y. Lane

lancelot-deloitte_bdpa-midtnIn the summer of 2005, Lancelot was a member of Inroads and was able to secure an internship with Deloitte. The position introduced him to the world of IT and the rest was technical history. He interned with Deloitte for five consecutive summers while pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering.

Upon graduation Lancelot was offered a full-time job at Deloitte, where he currently is a Lead Business Solution Analyst. During his tenure as an intern, he was introduced to National BDPA. In 2012, he became BDPA Middle Tennessee’s High School Computer Competition (HSCC) & S.I.T.E.S coordinator.

Throughout the year, local BDPA chapters conduct Student Information Technology Education and Scholarship (SITES) training programs for youth in their communities. These programs are designed to expose our youth to the concepts of software development, high performance computing, rapid prototyping, and provide them full-stack web development expertise while enjoying the camaraderie of National BDPA’s professional and technical networks.

Lancelot firmly believes “children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future”. Lancelot represents the future of IT and is the type of talent one will meet in person by attending this month’s annual BDPA South Regional Conference – June 21st-June 22nd, 2019 in Nashville, TN.  Select here for additional registration and partnering details.

—  Source and photos: BDPA Middle Tennessee
Cover photo: Deloitte’s CIO and ERG Members during BDPACon18
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Regional STEM Summit attracts PMs and Junior Developers from Industry

WASHINGTON — High school and middle school students from across the National Capital Region attended the 23rd annual Youth Summit on Technology produced by Patriots Technology Training Center (PTTC) at Bowie State University. Parents, teachers, and sponsors from NSBE, NSBE Jr., and regional BDPA Chapters joined hundreds of students attending cybersecurity workshops, technology panels, and STEM exhibits during this year’s STEM summit.

“Empowering Students Through Technology” has been PTTC’s mission for over 20 years by increasing the number of students, primarily 5th through 12th grades, entering into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) post-secondary fields of study and career paths.

Patriots Flight Simulation competitions

Their award winning program includes an annual Youth Summit on Technology, Summer Camps, and the Patriots STEM Carnival.  PTTC also engages in Amusement Park Design, Biology/Chemistry/Math, Biomedical, Cyber Security, Flight Simulation (above), Lego Robotics, Science Bowl,  Solar System, and Video Designing competitions for participating. PTTC students have attended Regional and National Society of Black Engineers conferences and regional BDPA Innovation Summits.

Program managers and developers from the Defense Department, public, and private sector organizations participated in this year’s STEM workshops, tech industry panels, or served as judges during BDPA’s regional coding competitions.

National BDPA’s Northeast Region co-hosted its annual regional High School Coding Competition (HSCC) with BDPA of Greater Washington, D.C.’s (BDPA-DC) annual Innovation Summit at Bowie State University.  During this year’s Advance Program Briefing to Industry (APBi) and fireside chat, Navy Commander Erica Dobbs, DISA; Joy Huggins, Defender Academy; Eileen Gadsden, E-Region Enterprises; and Raymond Bell, Jr. of HOPE Project DMV shared their diverse backgrounds with members. Their recent success stories revealed how well their respective organizations uniquely continue to successfully navigate complex digital transformations with legacy technology, aging policies, and cultural challenges while assimilating traditionally underrepresented communities into tomorrow’s tech workforce.

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National BDPA’s HSCC program, launched by Dr. Jesse L. Bemley in 1986, will feature this year’s regional finalists from participating chapter cities during national scholarship rounds  in Atlanta, GA during #BDPACon19, August 1-3, 2019. BDPA-DC’s 2019 regional HSCC teams were co-sponsored by AIS and bdpatoday. Select here to co-sponsor local teams and order new swag for this year’s journey to Atlanta!

— BDPA photos ©2019 bdpatoday

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