Taking it out of the school

Inspired by the likes of Jon Simantov and David Lerner as well as the greater Stuy CS family, a few of us have been working on CSTUY, Computer Science and Technology for Urban Youth. Yeah, we backed into the acronym. Let's bring Stuy CS out of Stuy so we can work on inspiring a wider range of students.

Well, last Wednesday we had our inaugural event. Hosted by NY TechStars (thanks Moisey), we invited 75 youngsters to an evening of talks. The idea was to have five different speakers each deliver words of wisdom and inspiration on a different but related topic.

First up, John Lee of School Yourself.

John talked about big data. Starting with a question "Who plays Chase on House?" John showed that by looking at huge data sets we can, relatively easily, come up with the answer. John showed that problems such as question answering are really accessible to youngsters. They might just be beginning, but they're not far away from being able to do some really cool things.

Next up Moisey Uretsky. Moisey talked about his journey from graduating high school through his college days, to starting companies, successes, failures and the adventure along the way. Moisey was frank and engaging and really gave the kids a lot to think about.

Spike Gronim was next.

Also talking about big data but Spike talked more about the dangers of misinterpreting data and how different representations can yield very different results. Spike also spent time giving career advice.

Tim Novikoff gave a different perspective. Tim spoke about how his explorations in IOS development lead in a roundabout way to his doctoral studies and very interesting research.

Hitting cleanup was Gerry Seidman of Tactonic Technologies.

Gerry gave a whirlwind talk about many of the things he's worked on. As he said "I don't have time to talk about anything, so I'll talk about everything." Highlights included the latest touch technology he's working on as well as vacation man++.

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Gerry also dispensed words of wisdom to the audience.

While each talk was different, there were common themes:

  • Do something you're passionate about.
  • Build stuff and do stuff.
  • Journey can begin in unexpected ways.

It was a great first event. We're very excited about CSTUY and are looking to roll out more programs including more talks, classes, mentoring, internships and more. We're also planning professional development opportunities for computer science teachers.

We'll be putting some of the attendees' takes on the event up on the CSTUY blog over the next few days.

To hear about our latest, on twitter, sign up for our mail list and keep an eye on the CSTUY blog.

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