Fort Greene

Computer science fair draws more than 2,000 teens

Schools chancellor urges students to study technology

April 12, 2018 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The fair included 60 information booths where students could learn about the latest developments. Photos courtesy of TechNYC

A team from Brooklyn Technical High School was among the big winners at a computer science and technology fair for New York City high school students that drew the participation of more than 2,000 teenagers on Wednesday.

The Brooklyn Tech students earned the prize for the Most Creative project in the Student Showcase at the 2018 NYC Computer Science Opportunity Fair held at the Fort Washington Avenue Armory in Manhattan.

The Computer Science (CS) Fair was established to promote an interest in computer science for students who have previously not been exposed to the field, according to organizers.

Students from 60 high schools took part in the event, where they got a chance to enter projects in competitions, took part in hands-on activities and got a look at future careers in computer science.

City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza distributed the awards to the winners and talked to the students about the importance of computer science education.

“We in New York City are not only going to provide computer science for all, but we are going to make sure those that have careers here look like New York City, with more women and more people of color. We are going to lead the nation in computer science instruction right here in New York City,” Carranza said.

More than 60 information booths were set up on the man floor of the armory for private companies and colleges to talk to students.

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The fair also featured “Lightning Talks” with speakers from companies such as WayUp, E-Line Media, Major League Hacking, Weight Watchers, J.P. Morgan, Microsoft shared stories about their work in the tech field. 

In another program, called the Startup Experience, representatives from tech startups told students about what it was like to launch a company.

Julie Samuels, executive director of TechNYC, one of the event’s sponsors, said the fair had a two-fold purpose.

“Not only is the CS Fair a great resource for students, it’s also a clear sign that New York businesses, nonprofits and government officials recognize how important it is to support the next generation of tech talent. Teaching students the skills they need to succeed in high-growth industries is key to our economic future, and it’s an encouraging sign that this event attracts more students, schools and sponsors each year,” Samuels said.

In addition to the Brooklyn Tech teens, the Student Showcase included students from Tottenville High School (Staten Island), Young Women’s Leadership School of Astoria (Queens), Information Technology High School (Queens), Collegiate Institute for Math and Science (Bronx) and Urban Assembly Maker Academy (Manhattan).

Tottenville High School won Best Presentation; the team from Young Women’s Leadership School of Astoria won Best Aesthetics, Information Technology High School won Greatest Technical Challenge, the team from Collegiate Institute for Math and Science won Crowd Pleaser and the team from Urban Assembly Maker Academy won Greatest Social Impact.

“The CS Fair is a great opportunity for students from every background to get exposure to the tech companies and jobs that will shape the future,” said Fred Wilson, a founder of the Computer Science Fair. “This year’s CS Fair was the biggest we’ve ever seen, with more students and sponsors than ever before, showing how much enthusiasm there is for computer science and STEM in New York.”

Wilson served as a judge for the Student Showcase. The other judges included Tarika Barrett, vice president of Girls Who Code; Devindra Hardawar, senior editor at Engadget; Peter Hua, senior engineer at Dropbox; Phil Weinberg, deputy chancellor at the New York City Department Education; and Olga Zeltser, managing director at Morgan Stanley.

The fair was sponsored by CSNYC, Tech:NYC, and TEALS (Technology Education and Literacy in Schools), a Microsoft Philanthropies program. 

The event’s supporters also included Etsy, Microsoft and Warby Parker; CS4All partner Oath for Good; Facebook, Two Sigma and Union Square Ventures; Justworks, Quotidian Ventures and the Department of Education’s CS4All initiative.

Tech:NYC is an network of technology leaders working with lawmakers and the business community to attract and retain tech talent in New York City. More than 600 tech companies are part of TechNYC.


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