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IMG-20150524-WA0004Written by Je’Nae Saunders, Senior, Benedict College

It has already been a month here at my internship at Duke Energy (the largest utility holding company in the US). I am currently a finance intern working in asset accounting. So far, it has been a really great learning experience for me. Usually when people think about accounting they think about papers, pens and numbers. However, I have gotten the chance to work with several different computer programs that I never knew existed. Going into my senior year, where I will start my minor in applied computing, I hope that I will be able to use some of the things that I’ve learned at Duke Energy, and use it to help me in some of my classes. I am positive that the knowledge that I have gained will definitely help me in my career.

To a bright future!

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On June 16-18, we hosted students from the Carolina Alliance for Technology.  As our President Lonnie Emard said, these kids are future IT stars.  The camp, which took place in our Portal, focused on different aspects of robotics.  The intimate setting, only about 10 students, allowed for the students to work as a whole, or break off into small groups.

On the first day, campers broke-down robots and built them back up.  On day two, the students learned about programming small, spherical robots, aptly named Spheros.  The robots were rolling all over the office!  The final day of camp enabled students to practice programming servos, the small motors allowing robots to move.  The motors, together with 3D-printed gears and a variety of craft supplies, were used by the students to build their own robots.  For being made out of materials like cardboard, styrofoam and pipe-cleaners, these robots sure were impressive.

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We were able to watch students Anthony Martin, Justin Wright and Tyler Mack work as a team to build their robot.  Inspired by the garbage-eating robot in a book they were given, their robot had moving cardboard arms and working multi-colored lights.  Impressive stuff for an hour of teamwork!

We were also on hand this past weekend at the Cyber Security Workshop hosted by Allen University.  The group of students, made up of nearly 30 young men and women, were treated to the knowledge of cyber security professionals.  Thank you to Allen University for hosting us at this event.

Now it’s all eyes looking ahead to our next summer camps, 3D printing and robotics.  Check back to our August update to find out what we learned at those camps!

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Spark CS JuneThe Spark Conference 2015 attracted hundreds of developers and more than 80 high school and middle school students to Uptown Charlotte’s UNC-Charlotte Center City Campus on June 6th. The Conference offered a student track of sessions.

Dan Thyer, co-founder of Logical Advantage, led one of the sessions in the IT-oLogy student track. Dan led the students in a simple circuit and hands-on soldering activity in a simple and fun way. Once completed, each student took home a blinking rocket badge that displayed a custom message.  Other sessions included ‘Creating Games,’ ‘Expanding Your Mindcraft Mind,’ and ‘Raspberry Pi.’

Mark your calendars for the July 18 and August 15 Middle School and High School Cyber Saturdays.


Gidget Girls Camp

Last month, we highlighted young high school women across the state who were recognized by the National Center of Women in IT (NCWIT) during the North Carolina Aspirations in Computing Awards celebration. Talazia Moore, a former Aspirations winner, and Phllip O’Berry, Technology School alum, received their second NCWIT Aspire IT grant, which they use to fund a middle school technology camp for girls – Gidget Girls.

Under the direction of Dr. Sharon Jones, Talazia develops, plans and leads the technology camp for middle school girls. For the second year, IT-oLogy supports Gidget Girls by reviewing the plans, engaging technology practitioners to speak and judge.

Talazia, now a NCSU student, shares her experience in this blog..

“Gidget Girls summer camp is a weeklong computing camp to spread the awareness of females in the computing field, as well as spark an interest in young females. During the camp, middle school girls worked with different programs, such as Snap (BYOB) and HTML, in addition to CS Unplugged. Through these programs, the girls were able to gain basic/ fundamental programming skills. Each day, the middle school girls were introduced to a different learning concept, such loops and variables, building their knowledge of computing. In addition, the girls were able to interact with each other and share their interest in computer science throughout the duration of the summer camp.

The camp is not only to teach young females about computing, but also to introduce them to different computing careers. To do so, the girls participated in Career Discovery day where guest speakers, such as women from Tech Talent South, Technekes, and Jabian, came and discussed their role in the work place, in addition to hosting a Q&A session. At the end of the camp, each girl created an original project on the social topic of cyber bullying, and gave a presentation in front of their peers and a group of panelist who judged the projects and awarded the winners with monetary prizes.

For me, this camp provides an opportunity to give back to the community, and spread awareness of the lack of women in the computing field. Many of the girls are from impoverished environments, and rarely have the opportunity to build any computing skills; this is troubling because this is a technical world. I have enjoyed teaching and sharing my knowledge with the girls, and wish to continue Gidget Girls, opening it up to accept more young females.”

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I’ve already reached the pinnacle. I don’t aspire to be the mayor of Charlotte or the governor of North Carolina. So why do I care about SIM or SIMposium? Why did I lobby to bring the SIM signature event to Charlotte? And why did I volunteer to chair this event?

These are great questions.

What I’ve discovered throughout my journey is that it isn’t about getting ‘connected’ with this executive or that one. It’s about making meaningful connections, period. If I can help a young mid-level manager in their career, it’s a good day. If I can convince someone that STEM is a critical issue for our industry – I’m on top of the world. I enjoy making meaningful connections and I enjoy watching the seeds I’ve planted grow.

So why SIMposium, the SIM National Conference?

SIMposium is a unique experience where senior IT practitioners can share ideas and experiences in a forum set up exclusively for them. It allows leaders to engage and reflect on the actions that can make them most effective and can boost their leadership profile.
Who should attend?

• CXOs who want to strengthen their C-Suite relationships
• IT directors and managers aspiring to implement new techniques
• IT Procurement professionals
• Consultants, who want a better understanding of the current challenges
• Vendors
• All who would like to take advantage of this unique opportunity to build and strengthen their professional networks

I am very excited to extend this special invitation to all IT-ology members for SIMposium 2015 in Charlotte! We are currently offering all IT-ology members the same rate as SIM members. The current rate for SIM members (and IT-ology members) is $795. To take advantage of this special offer, register here, select the SIMposium 2015 Registration – Non-Member IT Practitioner then enter SIM15ITOLOGY in the coupon code field.

You never know when the next door with open. Will you be ready?
If you’re looking for a technical conference, look somewhere else. But if you’re looking to make a difference:

• In your company…
• In the careers of your employees…
• In this profession…
• In the community…
• In your own life…

Join me in Charlotte November 2 -3, you won’t be sorry.

One more thing… We’ve negotiated a great rate at the Sheraton in downtown Charlotte — $129/night! Don’t forgot to book your room – use the link on the website or call them and tell them you will be attending this great event.

Sincerely,

Jeff
Jeff Stovall
City of Charlotte, CIO

The women and men of WISE Charlotte gathered for the monthly WISE Wednesday networking event on June 17 at Village Tavern. WISE Wednesday events are strictly networking providing all with the opportunity to engage with leaders, influencers and innovators, providing relationship building and peer connection opportunities.

You are invited to join us for the July 15  and August 19 WISE Wednesdays. For more information, contact Kay Read at kay.read@it-ology.org.

Tucker Ervin was only 16 when he arrived at IT-oLogy for an internship. Tucker’s talents and ambition were quickly utilized and he became an integral part of the IT-oLogy team. Tucker has recently graduated and will be attending the University of Alabama in the fall, majoring in electrical engineering with a computer science option.

IT-oLogy has recognized his accomplishments and contributions by establishing the Tucker Ervin scholarship. The purpose will be to enable IT-oLogy to help other students on a case by case basis whether that is funding for camp or a scholarship for college.
We will have a link on our website as these funds are available.

Congratulations, Tucker!

IT-oLogy and Furman University’s Institute for the Management of Information Technology (IMIT) is offering a three and ½ day intensive program for rising IT leaders who are managing technology teams and making higher level IT decisions. The program is open to all companies in the Lowcountry and provides a very low cost collaborative option for leadership education. IMIT will be delivered at a convenient location to be determined based on participation. The tentative dates are August 10- 14.

The format of the institute includes 10 integrated modules for IT decision makers and the outline for this highly regarded professional development is outlined below:

Day One: Decision-Making Framework, IT-OSD Model, IT Value Challenge, Strategic Positioning
Day Two: IT as a Business: Defining Client Value, Balancing Efficiency and Effectiveness, Cost Control, Organizational Structure
Day Three: Economics for IT, Client-Centric Strategies, Innovation, Hedgehog Concept
Day Four (Half Day): Guiding Principles, Vision and Culture, Importance of Leadership

For more information, please contact our IT-oLogy Executive Director for Charleston, Dave Johnson, at
dave.johnson@it-ology.org or (843) 696-2304.

As summer arrives and everyone hopefully enjoys a break to travel, spend time with family, or just have fun in the sun, I realize that this article may not reach as many readers as usual. It does, however, present a chance to challenge your creative thinking during part of your down time.
The following ruminations cover a variety of topics that are relevant to our purpose and some that impact all of us, just because of the higher calling in our social setting that puts each day of activity and the choices we make in the proper perspective.

In the past, I sort of made up a word to help summarize a message or group of messages. That word is communification and my “Webster-like” meaning was to communicate with an intention to unify. Many recent events, and especially the tragedy in Charleston, SC, bring forth a response that exemplifies the purest examples of communicating with an intention to unify. Leaders from all walks of life and individuals with tremendous wisdom have written and spoken some life changing words as a result of these crises and tumultuous events and positive change is visibly occurring.

As with most non-profit organizations, the mission is typically born out of some type of painful situation or socio economic circumstance. It seems clear to me that some of the best ideas and unified efforts have come as a result of a crisis of some sort. The crisis that we identified six years ago and continue to focus on is the lack of adequate supply of information technology talent in this country. While many programs have been developed and successfully implemented to address the problem, the following represent a myriad of current activity that I hope is of interest to you and may trigger you or your company’s engagement.

A Career Fair will be held in Charlotte on August 14. We expect 250-300 college students from around the southeast in Charlotte for the STARS Computing Corps conference. IT-oLogy is coordinating the Career Fair as part of our ongoing national relationship with STARS.

These STARS students are all enrolled in Computing and IT programs and have been receiving stipends for their lead roles in delivering K-12 outreach and skill building programs in their communities. These students will be looking for internships and full time entry level positions and using the IT-Gateway (available through the IT-oLogy website) to post their profiles and resumes. All HR personnel and IT leaders should read the accompanying article in this issue and follow the steps to get a booth for this career fair.

IT-oLogy just received word that the Coursepower project has received funding from the General Assembly in South Carolina to continue the expansion of the Applied Computing minor to additional higher education institutions around the state. Currently the minor or certificate program is at nine schools with planned expansion for six more. This program alone is now reaching 4000 more students than just two years ago and this is impacting every potential job category and industry.

Realizing that the talent pipeline starts early, IT-oLogy has been engaged as a collective voice of business/industry working with K-12 schools and the departments of education across multiple states. Evidence of success can be seen through the numbers of schools with actual computing curriculum, numbers of teachers receiving professional development, numbers of students choosing IT career paths increasing. These numbers in concert with thousands of young people becoming more aware of tech skills through Cyber Saturday and other supplemental programs delivered after school and on weekends is yielding more students enrolling in IT and computing programs, those getting certified as work ready and those who are taking innovative and entrepreneurial tech ideas to the next level.

To scale these programs takes coordination, and coordination requires communification (see earlier), which takes time. Time and effort requires funding. This is where private and public partners come together collaboratively to invest in the programs that are changing our future.

Right now, IT-oLogy has two programs that are eligible to receive public funding if we receive private investment to serve as match. If you are interested in expanding the reach and impact of Cyber Saturday or expanding the reach and capacity of Coursepower, please consider personal or company investments of any size and see the impact of your financial contribution double immediately.

Finally, I’ll close with a quick survey.

Q1: Do you think that all citizens need to be digitally literate and know how to use technology to function in life and work?

Q2: Do you see evidence that nearly all jobs in every industry are requiring technical IT related skills?

Q3: Is there truly a gap between open jobs in IT and the number of people available with the skills to fill them?

Q4: If the answer to any or all of the questions above is YES, then WHAT should we be doing about it? OK…..what is coming to mind immediately?

TEXT THE FIRST THINGS THAT ARE COMING TO YOUR MIND TO (803) 586-9082

Maybe this will help.

Were you thinking individually about what it means to you or your kids?

Were you thinking locally, state wide or nationally?

Were you thinking schools or businesses?

Were you thinking about programs that need to be delivered?

Were you thinking of things you already see happening in your school, your company, your job, with your friends, with your community.

Consider texting now and be a part of IT-oLogy.

IT-oLogy and Furman University’s Institute for the Management of Information Technology (IMIT) is offering a three and ½ day intensive program for rising IT leaders who are managing technology teams and making higher level IT decisions. The program is open to all companies in the Lowcountry and provides a very low cost collaborative option for leadership education.  IMIT will be delivered at a convenient location to be determined based on participation.  The tentative dates are August 10- 14.

The format of the institute includes 10 integrated modules for IT decision makers and the outline for this highly regarded professional development is outlined below:

Day One: Decision-Making Framework, IT-OSD Model, IT Value Challenge, Strategic Positioning

Day Two: IT as a Business: Defining Client Value, Balancing Efficiency and Effectiveness, Cost Control, Organizational Structure

Day Three: Economics for IT, Client-Centric Strategies, Innovation, Hedgehog Concept

Day Four (Half Day): Guiding Principles, Vision and Culture, Importance of Leadership

 

For more information, please contact our IT-oLogy Executive Director for Charleston, Dave Johnson, at dave.johnson@it-ology.org or (843) 696-2304.