My tech journey began in the fourth grade when my mom purchased our first computer. I was so obsessed with everything the computer could do and spent as much time as possible exploring. I began coding in HTML on MySpace and would write tags on sticky notes to keep them on my wall so that I could remember. I attended Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology in Charlotte, NC for high school, where I fell deeper in love with technology through my coursework. I was especially hooked when I learned how I could code programs that people could use and interact with. I took AP Computer Science where I learned Java which helped me transition into courses in college.
I went on to obtain a Bachelors degree in Computer Science from the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University and a Masters of Information Technology with a concentration in Human Computer Interaction in 2016. Over the years, I've held technical internships at companies like Wells Fargo, Deloitte, Fidelity Investments, Bank of America, and Apple. Additionally, I worked full-time at Apple (at their headquarters in California) as a User Experience Designer and Researcher where I helped design enterprise applications, which reached all Apple employees.
My journey as an educator began with the founding of my non-profit, INTech Camp for Girls, where our mission is to inform and inspire girls to innovate in the technology industry. INTech targets Black girls in grades 6th - 12th through summer camps and after school programs, which teaches them how to build software solutions, introduces them to women of color in tech, and allows them to explore tech careers at various companies across the US.
In 2018, I created a one-hour coding experience for the Dream Village Tour, where students in Chicago, Atlanta, and Wisconsin to gain an enriching learning experience on the Dream Village Tour Bus mobile classroom. I've also created other workshop experiences teaching non-profit basics.
I am currently a Presidential Future Faculty Fellow at Temple University where I am a PhD student studying computer science education. I am particularly interested in broadening participation in computing (BPC) amongst Black girls. My goal is to study the intersectionality of Black girls in computing to inform my work with INTech Camp for Girls in order to determine what about our program works so that others can learn and replicate our success. I am also interested in using learning analytics to help teachers understand ways to help their students learn how to code better through culturally relevant pedagogy techniques.
From Camp to Conferences: Experiences in Leveraging Tech Conferences to Inspire Black and Latinx Girls to Pursue Coding and Tech Careers - RESPECT 2020
This experience report highlights the impact of taking Black and Latinx middle and high school girls to tech conferences. INTech Camp for Girls took five girls who previously participated in our summer camps and after school program to the #blackcomputeHER Conference in Washington,DC where they were able to network with Black women intech, participate in a coding workshop designed just for them, and hear from Black Girls ROCK! Founder and DJ, BeverlyBond. Additionally, four INTech High School scholars earned an all expenses paid trip to the Facebook Achievement Summit as a result of their project submission and participation in the Facebook Engineer for the Week program. While at the summit, Team INTech participated in a one day hackathon where worked along Facebook engineers to build an app called“Air to Spare” using Scratch. Our team placed top eight in the country amongst twenty teams, as well as, won the Best PitchAward. While in Silicon Valley, they were also able to meet 13 Apple Engineers, as well as, receive a tour of the Netflix HQ and speak with two engineers and a User Experience designer about what life in tech is like. This report describes how these experiences inspired INTech girls to pursue coding and technical careers.
Link to digital proceedings: Click here
Pivoting during a pandemic: Designing a virtual summer camp to increase confidence of Black and Latina girls - SIGCSE 2021
Out of school time programs like summer camps have shown to be beneficial for exposing students to computer science, particularly in school districts where computing classes are not offered. The COVID-19 pandemic presented challenges for students who were already subject to the digital divide, as in-person camps came to a halt if they weren’t prepared to pivot. In response, we created a virtual summer camp that provides informal computer science learning opportunities that were intentionally designed to increase the confidence of Black and Latina girls in computing and to pro-mote positive perceptions of computer science education and career opportunities. Key to our approach is the recognition that representation in the camp’s community of attendees, teachers, guest speakers, and in the content can foster confidence for Black andLatina girls in computing. In this paper, we present the structural, instructional, curricular, and social design of the virtual program and present initial findings on the impact of the camp on computing confidence, intent to persist, social supports, and computing outcome expectations. Findings of a pre- and post-survey study of107 camp attendees show that participating in the camp resulted in an increase in computing confidence as well as computing outcome expectations among Black and Latina girls.