White House Honors 11 Tech Leaders for Helping Women, Minorities, the Poor

July 31, 2013

9:00 am

Today, the White House is holding an event to honor 11 tech leaders as “Champions of Change for Tech Inclusion.”

This group, which ranges from founders to nonprofit workers to teachers, shares a commitment to expanding opportunities in technology for young people, particularly minorities, women, and underserved communities.

The event is part of the White House Tech Inclusion Initiative, a variety of efforts that encourage a diverse group of young people to pursue careers in STEM. President Obama’s goal is to produce 1 million additional STEM graduates over the next decade. This will be done in collaboration with the private sector, which launched five new programs in January at the White House Tech Inclusion Summit.

Here are the 11 honorees:

  • Kimberly Bryant, founder and executive director of Black Girls CODE: Black Girls CODE is a nonprofit that helps girls ages 7-17 learn computer programming and entrepreneurship. Bryant previously worked at companies like Genentech, Merck, and Pfizer.
  • Carlos Bueno, engineer at Facebook and author of Lauren Ipsum: Lauren Ipsum is a children’s book used worldwide that teaches computer science and critical thinking. When a copy is sold, another copy is donated to a teacher or librarian.
  • Rebecca Garcia, cofounder of CoderDojo NYC: CoderDojo provides free coding clubs for young people. Previously, Garcia was a developer at Do Something and CTO of Greatist.
  • Theresa Freet, organizer for Developers for Good: Developers for Good is a community of developers who volunteer their skills for nonprofits. Freet also works with CodeMontage to train underrepresented groups in software engineering.
  • Kevin Mitchell, lead volunteer for ScriptEd: ScriptEd offers free programming classes in low-income communities and helps match students with paid internships.
  • Kathryn Finney, founder and managing director of digitalundivided: digitalundivided helps urban residents and women participate more in the digital realm. Finney is also an editor-at-large for BlogHer.
  • Ruthe Farmer, director of strategic initiatives at the National Center for Women & IT: The National Center for Women & IT helps prepare women young and old for careers in technology. Previously, she launched various tech-focused initiatives for the Girl Scouts of the USA.
  • Deena Pierott, founder and executive director of the iUrban Teen program: The iUrban Teen program educates African America, Latino, and other minority students about career opportunities in STEM.
  • Cheryl Swanier, associate professor in Fort Valley State University’s Department of Mathematics and Computer Science: Swanier researches human computer interaction, specifically around educational simulations and educational gaming technology. She also works with various programs that help get students interested in STEM.
  • Jeffries Epps, director of information technology for Richmond County Schools in Hamlet, NC: Since 2009, Epps has been training middle and high school students in 3D design and printing and is working to create a 3D printing curriculum. He has worked in education for 21 years.
  • Seth Reichelson, teacher at Lake Brantley High School: Reichelson is famous nationwide for being able to assemble talented groups of computer science students who have won every state competition in Florida.

The event will be livestreamed today from 2-4 pm ET.

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact kira@tech.co.