By: Priscilla Foster, Communications Intern firstname.lastname@example.org
This year marks Bloomfield College’s second year attending the Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA) National Conference in Washington, D.C. Three of Bloomfield’s peer coaches from the institution’s BDPA Coder’s Camp, along with seven middle school and high school students attended the national Conference Aug.18-22.
Along with peer coaches and College students Ali Onque, Jonathan Sia and Morgan Collingward, former peer coach and Bloomfield College alumnus Joshua McNeil ’14 attended the event. There they participated in many workshops and networking seminars. These workshops provided further skill training to help improve their job interview techniques. Also, the students were able to attend the event's Career Fair and meet with possible employers.
To open up the ceremony, former U.S. General Colin Powell spoke gave a presentation to students. They were also able to get advice on job interview strategies from a senior engineer and 20-year veteran at Hewlett Packard, among numerous other executives.
“I had a great time; the most surprising thing for me was to see so many different races supporting the BDPA,” said Collingward. “It was shocking to see that it wasn’t just black computer scientist there. It really inspired me to keep pushing on towards my degree.”
The five high school students competed in the event’s National Competition where they came in 5th place, earning each team member a scholarship award.
The BDPA is an association of black professionals who are in the technology field that provides a variety of technical support, help with new talents, and career services to student members.
Every Saturday, classes are held on the Bloomfield College campus in partnership with the BDPA to teach middle school and high school students web programing. Peer coaches who are also Bloomfield students come and assist with teaching the basics of web programming and how to be webmasters.
“The BDPA does a number of outreach activities in the community to support aspiring computer scientists, and does a number of things that help the community,” said Professor of Computer Science Dr. Steven Kreutzer. “It is important for not only Bloomfield College students, but also for the middle and high school students to have these types of experiences and to continue their growth and development in the field of computer science."
To learn more about Bloomfield's computer science program, visit bloomfield.edu/business.