An All-“HU” Team wins BisonHacks 2018

shaunelle_thomasWASHINGTON, D.C. — On March 30th and 31st, I experienced firsthand that Diversity and Inclusion are indeed one of the best ways to produce some of the most creative and innovative ideas!

We are happy to say that we are the winners of BisonHacks 2018! Sara Rufael, Howard University; Shondace Thomas, Howard University; Elizabeth-Yvonne SandersHampton University; and I formed a group at BisonHacks by fate! Because of our diverse majors, universities, experience, background, and different points of views we had to agree and compromise on many things!

bisonhacks2018bWe agreed on two innovative ideas; however, we realized that the ideas were not feasible based on the hackathon’s time constraints! In synopsis, I loved how this experience tested my mental agility, teamwork skills, and my adaptability. Also, I learned that engineers should definitely collaborate with individuals from other majors! Thank you Simeon Kakpovi for being our mentor! Thanks a million, Zuri Hunter and BisonHacks team for hosting this event so that students can collaborate and present innovative ideas with realistic business models!

Also thank you to Mapbox, Howard University, Howard University School of Business, Johnson & Johnson, Major League Hacking, Optoro, Spotify, Google, and all of our sponsors who made this event a reality (Swag was great!)

— Story and photos:  Shaunelle A. L. Thomas

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Howard University and Google Launch ‘Howard West’

WASHINGTON—Howard University announced in partnership with Google the launch of Howard West, a three-month, summer Computer Science residency for rising juniors and seniors in the University’s Computer Science program. The residency includes a dedicated workspace on Google’s Mountain View campus and a generous stipend to cover housing and other expenses in Silicon Valley.


BDPA-DC Members and BDPA Student Members at Howard University share success stories with faculty and corporate board members during this month’s quarterly Department Advisory Board Meeting for the Department of Information Systems & Supply Chain Management.  — Photo credit: BDPA-DC 2017 © bdpatoday


The announcement serves as the realization of Howard University President Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick’s vision of expanding Howard’s presence to the West Coast. It is also a major step forward for Google’s efforts to recruit and retain diverse technical talent.

“Howard West will produce hundreds of industry-ready Black computer science graduates, future leaders with the power to transform the global technology space into a stronger, more accurate reflection of the world around us,” said Frederick. “We envisioned this program with bold outcomes in mind – to advance a strategy that leverages Howard’s high quality faculty and Google’s expertise, while also rallying the tech industry and other thought leaders around the importance of diversity in business and the communities they serve.”

Howard and Google’s longstanding partnership with the Google in Residence (GIR) program was the foundation for Howard West. Since GIR embeds Google engineers as faculty at Howard and other Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Howard West was a natural and logical next step. The program connects the geographical, academic and cultural divide between declaring a major in Computer Science and landing a job in tech.

“During my time at Howard, I worked side-by-side with future lawyers, doctors, writers, entertainers, architects and business leaders. The spirit of total possibility put me on my path to Harvard Business School and ultimately Google,” said Bonita Stewart, Google’s Vice President of Global Partnerships. “Howard West will continue Howard’s tradition of providing unprecedented access to opportunity, only now with a presence in the heart of Silicon Valley.”


Regional teams formed for Howard University’s third annual weekend hack-a-thon.  Students from DC area colleges, universities, community colleges, and local vocational tech schools participated in #HUHacks, which opened March 24, 2017 at the University’s Business School. — Photo credit: BDPA-DC 2017 © bdpatoday 

Google credits Howard for the vision and groundwork to make the program happen, explaining that for many, the University’s name represents the prestige and importance of the entire body of HBCUs. HBCUs proportionally generate the largest number of Black Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) college graduates in the United States and have significantly improved Google’s intern diversity hiring.

Although the amount of new hires this program will generate is undetermined, within five years, 740 students will have matriculated. Howard West will serve the entire tech ecosystem – not just Google. For the University, this is another opportunity to provide innovative, world-class learning experiences to its students, preparing them for work and leadership in the community.  Students will obtain 12 credits toward graduation as instruction through an immersion curriculum as part of the program.

#HUHacks’ sizzle reel captured a few sights and sounds from the weekend’s events.

Cover photo: (L-R) Bonita Stewart, VP of Global Partnerships at Google, and Dr. Wayne Frederick, president of Howard University.
Source: Howard University
Cover Photo: Justin Sullivan/Google,  Insets: BDPA-DC
Crystal Brown, Howard University and Ty Sheppard, Google; contributed to this article
Video: Popular Technology TV (PTTV).


National BDPA Celebrates 30-Year High School Computer Competition (HSCC) Milestone

ATLANTA—The National High School Computer Competition (HSCC), powered by BDPA, was founded in 1986 by Dr. Jesse L. Bemley (inset), a National BDPA Life Member from jesse-conf08-GalaWashington, D.C. What started as a two-team event between Washington, D.C. (BDPA-DC) and Atlanta, GA (BDPA Atlanta) HSCC Teams has grown to over 20 teams of various high school students from chapters throughout the nation. It was all designed to introduce students to the field of data processing (now, Information Technology) to encourage them to seek higher levels of education, and groom many of them to become our next generation of IT leaders and professionals.

BDPA, formerly known as Black Data Processing Associates, was founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1975 to promote professional growth and technical development in underserved communities for those in or entering information and communications technology (ICT) oriented fields of interest and related industries.

See this month’s cover story in the August 2016 edition of bdpatoday.

Tech EQuity Week (TEQWeek) Launches Inaugural Gathering of High-Profile Tech Organizations

photo courtesy Qeyno Labs

OAKLAND, CATech EQuity Week (@TEQWEEK) is the nation’s inaugural gathering featuring more than 30 high profile tech companies, startups, and non-profits making social impact and working collaboratively to showcase and celebrate the future of tech equity.

btFEB16-covPowered by Qeyno Labs in partnership with the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, the TechEquity Collaborative and the Alliance for Community Development, Tech EQuity Week aims to develop opportunities for engagement between social impact organizations and tech companies with the local community to deepen and advance a more equitable tech ecosystem.  @TEQWEEK is accessible to everyone and anyone with an interest in the future of tech company diversity, digital technology inclusion, gender parity, and STE[A]M education access.

Cover Story: Qeyno Labs, @TEQWeek, and #MBKHack are featured in the February 2016 special edition of bdpatoday.

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