Events

Recap — #DigiGirlzRI Inspires High School Girls to Pursue Tech Careers

On Friday, March 17, hundreds of high school girls from Rhode Island gathered at the New England Institute of Technology for a day of all things tech. From media production workshops to 3D Paint tutorials from the Microsoft Store to inspiring speeches by Governor Gina Raimondo, it’s safe to say the event sparked the beginning of several computer science careers.

“Girls and women are half of the world’s population,” Raimondo said to a room packed with DigiGirlz. “They are half of the world’s brains, problem-solvers, leaders. This world cannot solve problems unless they are at the table. That’s why I started programs like CS4RI, partnering with Microsoft and other leaders to offer computer science in every Rhode Island school.”

Backed by Microsoft New England, Computer Science for Rhode Island (CS4RI) is one of the strongest statewide computer science initiatives in the country. Their goal is to have CS taught in every Rhode Island public school by December 2017.

“Digital skills are an increasingly necessary component of success in the workforce—and that applies to women as much as it does to men,” Raimondo said. “Being surrounded by so many young women with such potential at DigiGirlz filled me with optimism, pride and excitement for Rhode Island’s future.”

The fervor from the young women was palpable that day, and behind doors with signs that read “DigiGirlz: No Boys Allowed,” eyes were wide with curiosity. Microsoft Store staff had the girls bringing their imagination to life with 3D Paint, a new program that will be publicly available soon. Meghan Martinez, LTC Alyce Pagliarini and Julie Rinehart led a cybersecurity session, giving the girls valuable advice on how to stay safe online. The five other sessions involved digital media, mechanical engineering, Adobe Photoshop, Unity Program, and Multimedia Web Design.

After lunch, the girls learned about how they could #MakeWhatsNext and brand themselves online with Boston-based social media agency Metter Media. The social media session ended with a slew of giveaways, including the grand prize: a Microsoft Surface. The #DigiGirlzRI hashtag went wild all day long as the girls entered the contests by taking selfies and sharing their #MakeWhatsNext stories.

“The mission of DigiGirlz to provide middle and high school girls an opportunity to explore careers in technology is very important. As a society, we need to break the mold that STEM jobs are ‘jobs for boys’,” said Dr. Douglas H. Sherman, Senior Vice President and Provost at the New England Institute of Technology. “With the U.S. population being more than 50% female, we need more girls to study technology and to prepare themselves for the many high tech jobs that are or will become available as the baby boomers begin to retire.”

Our next DigiGirlz Day will be in Burlington, MA at our new Sales & Technology Center on Friday, April 28. View more photos from the event below!

NewCo Boston: A Day to See and Be Seen

There are some 300 colleges and universities within 90 miles of Boston, Massachusetts. Our region has the most educated population in the nation, and the state is regularly ranked as number one in innovation capacity.

Massachusetts is poised to lead the next major innovation wave–one characterized by smart, connected machines and devices. Yet, despite a critical mass of education and innovative organizations we are still, paradoxically, coming up short in one critical component: talent. We need to find new ways to get people together to experience what is happening here and to fill them with the kind of pride and enthusiasm that convinces them to keep their talents here upon graduation.

NewCo Boston, April 4-6, can help accomplish this goal. Founded by six-time media and tech entrepreneur John Battelle, NewCo sets out to identify, celebrate, and connect the engines of positive change in our society while fostering trust, storytelling, and true connection between the people driving a new kind of global capitalism. Through intimate sessions, NewCo festivals create lasting engagement and deep, critical connections.

NewCo Boston will feature 80+ innovative companies from across the region opening their doors and inviting the public in for a behind-the-scenes look at companies and conversations with the founders, CEOs and other drivers of innovation in their native habitats. With more than 750,000 possible combinations, each journey can be unique. Each day of this two-day festival concludes with hundreds of fellow NewCo attendees getting together at some of the best networking “meetups” in the region.

What makes NewCo so perfect for Massachusetts?

Tech in Massachusetts has an opportunity to welcome executives, investors, engineers, entrepreneurs, students, media, and generally curious people to come see what’s happening behinds the doors of tech. Whether looking for that new idea or new position, broadening your network and your view of what’s happening across the industry is a smart move.

NewCo is an opportunity to attract and retain more talent, and , as we showcase our amazing local companies on the global NewCo media platform, more people across the 16+ other NewCo cities – from Istanbul to Barcelona to San Francisco – will learn about the great inventors and inventions here, thereby elevating our innovation brand and drawing additional attention and talent to the region.

Finally, NewCo gives us a glimpse into the future. What is being developed today will be the products and services of tomorrow. If you’re looking to network, to find a better job, or to just get a few new ideas, it’s a day worth checking out. Learn more, and join 1,000+ others for the inaugural NewCo Boston festival, by visiting bos.newco.co.

Tom Hopcroft is President & CEO of the Mass Technology Leadership Council, organizer of NewCo Boston. He can be reached at tom@Masstlc.org. 

Tom Hopcroft is President & CEO of the Mass Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC), the region’s leading technology association and the premier network for tech executives, entrepreneurs, investors and policy-makers. A Massachusetts attorney and former adjunct professor at Northeastern University’s College of Business Administration, Mr. Hopcroft founded and led the New England Business and Technology Association which merged with the Mass Software Council in 2005 and later the Mass Network Communications Council in 2009 to form what is today the largest technology organization in the New England with member companies ranging from early stage start-up to global enterprise across the entire tech ecosystem. Hopcroft serves as Chairman of the Fiscal Affairs and Administrative Policy Committee on the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education. He is also on the boards of the MassTLC Education Foundation, MassRobotics, and the Technology Councils of North America. Mr. Hopcroft lives in Winchester, MA, with his wife and two boys.

Make Data Matter — 2017 Hubway Data Challenge

Happy Spring!

How are you celebrating the new season? Spring cleaning? Planning your garden? Getting ready to bike in the warm weather?

How about creating new projects with data?

We’re jumping into spring with Hubway to help launch their 2017 Hubway Data Challenge. First held in 2012, the Hubway Data Challenge is a call for local data enthusiasts to bring Hubway’s trip data to life. Entrants can use trip data from across the Hubway system in Boston, Cambridge, Somerville and Brookline to create unique, analytical, and creative visualizations or other projects that reveal new user patterns about commuting via Hubway.

Where do Hubway users ride? When do they ride? How far do they go? Which stations are most popular? On what days of the week are most rides taken? How do user patterns differ between members and casual riders? How does weather affect usage? These and many other questions can be answered by the ride data.

Entries will be considered for six different categories. Each category will have one winner selected.

Over $7,500 worth of prizes will be awarded. The winning entry in each category will receive this package worth over $1,200, including prizes from Microsoft, General Assembly, b.good restaurant, Cleverhood, Passim, and $250 cash!

How to Enter

Enter your name, email address, phone number, project title, description (up to 600 characters), screenshot, and a self-hosted URL of your visualization or other data-based creation into our online entry form.

And the fun doesn’t stop there — we’ve partnered with Hubway beyond the data challenge for some exciting surprises. Stay posted to our blog and our Twitter to find out more!

Entries must be completed by April 10, 2017, 11:59 PM EST. View the official rules of the 2017 Hubway Data Challenge. Entrants must be at least 18 years old.

#Recap: Boston Area Research Initiative’s 2017 Spring Conference

How is the City of Boston using data to improve its residents’ experience?

Last week, the Boston Area Research Initiative, or BARI, hosted its annual Spring Conference, centered around the theme “Data-Driven Research, Policy, & Practice: Lessons from Boston, for Boston.” Over two days, the conference explored existing work with Boston civic data, a look ahead at the future of data, and possibilities for idea-sharing.

The conference culminated in a data visualization screen-share, where graduate students showcased examples of uses for Boston crime data. These visualizations incorporated crime categorization, neighborhood crime statistics, demographics, and beyond to exemplify the range of approaches one can take to public, open data. We were honored to contribute Microsoft Surface devices to help these students show off their exceptional work.

Miss out on last week’s conference? Catch up with BARI’s pre-recorded session videos here.

Top tweets from the conference (using #BostonData):

Impact of New Media on Civic Initiatives — #CivicTechBos, April 3, 2017

Social media and new approaches to journalism have had broad impact on how civic initiatives are organized and executed. Community and political movements have new tools to attract interested parties and launch campaigns. The last federal election cycle is just one of several examples where various parties worked with and around the traditional journalism channels to get their message out using these new media options. These approaches certainly impact how governments connect with their constituencies, nonprofits engage with their communities, neighborhood movements organize, and civic/political leaders communicate.

We’re hosting a conversation to discuss how new media impacts civic initiatives as part of our Conversations on Civic Innovation series, or #CivicTechBos. Join us for a conversation reviewing the fast-changing world of journalism and social media and how it impacts civic initiatives.

Speakers include:

Schedule:

5:30-6:00 PM – Registration and networking
6:00-7:oo PM – Panel Discussion
7:00-7:30 PM – Q&A
7:30 – 8:30 PM – Post-event networking

Join us Monday, April 3, from 5:30pm-8:30pm at District Hall. RSVP here. To join us online, follow @MSNewEngland, @VentureCafe and the hashtag #CivicTechBos.

Microsoft New England Picks: Not-To-Miss Events, March 2017

March into civic tech with us! This month, we’re all about exploring new avenues, building new things, and creating new opportunities for civic engagement. Join us!

March 2

Resilient Coders Demo Day at Startup Institute

Diversity and inclusion in the innovation community are core priorities of ours at Resilient Coders that we share with our friends at Startup Institute. If you’re not familiar with Resilient Coders, we teach young and early-career Bostonians from traditionally underserved communities web development skills.

On Thursday, March 2nd, Startup Institute will be opening their doors to our current cohort of talented UI developers as they graduate from Resilient Coders Bootcamp. They will have spent the last eight weeks learning about accessibility, responsive CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, and git. They will have gone out, procured clients, designed and built websites for those clients, and invoiced them for their work. This is an opportunity for them to meet potential employers, and showcase their work.

Are you looking to hire junior-level dev talent? These coders have what it takes to be high-impact hires; you’re invited to meet them as they pitch their skills, ambition, and hustle.

March 3-4

The European Conference 2017 at Harvard University

Jean Monnet once expressed that “crises are the greatest unifier.” Today, Europe undoubtedly faces many challenges – slow economic growth, extreme right-wing politics, large refugee inflows, and a frozen conflict in the east, to name a few. However, these challenges also present opportunities – to better understand the forces pulling toward disintegration and to reimagine a Europe that can better deliver on the promise of common peace and prosperity.

The aims of the European Conference 2017 are to forge innovative, potentially disruptive solutions to Europe’s greatest challenges and propose ideas for bold leadership directly to the current and future leaders of Europe.

March 7

Learn Lab Educators and Students Workshop: Blended Learning with Office 365

Office 365 is free for students and teachers of Boston Public Schools! You may be aware of some of the great tools available in Office 365, but do you know how you can use OneDrive, Skype for Business, and OneNote Class Notebooks to help you incorporate blended learning in your classroom?  Let’s explore blended learning, its impact on teaching and learning, and see how the full suite of tools provided within Office365 will help you build a robust learning environment that fosters student success.

March 8

International Women’s Day: Equity in Tech

Join AIGA Boston and EF, for an event on International Women’s Day. We will be hosting a reception, a screening of a special premiere episode of “Fix My App,” produced by Expose UX in partnership with Ladies that UX, and panel discussion with local women leaders in the Tech and Design industries.

International Women’s Day acts as an important catalyst and vehicle for driving greater change for women and moving closer to gender parity. For IWD 2017, they are asking people to #BeBoldForChange to help forge a better working world. Join us, learn about their stories, and share your actions for change.

March 9

Data-Driven Research, Policy & Practice: Lessons from Boston, for Boston

In recent years multiple conferences, both here in Boston and elsewhere, have proclaimed the promise of “urban data,” “smart cities,” and the like, helping to stimulate this rapidly growing field. The time is now ripe for a different type of conference: one that showcases the extensive urban data science and policy work occurring within the region with a focus on cross-sector collaboration. In this spirit, “Data-Driven Research, Policy, & Practice: Lessons from Boston, for Boston,” to be hosted by the Boston Area Research Initiative (BARI), will feature a broad range of data-driven work occurring in the region, spanning the academic, public, private, and non-profit sectors.

Over a day and a half, the conference will include: sessions composed of short talks by faculty, students, policymakers, and practitioners describing their work within the Boston civic data ecosystem; a keynote on the big-picture implications of this work; and other programming to facilitate the sharing of ideas. The goal of the event is two-fold: 1) provide a platform to highlight cutting-edge work in the region; and 2) catalyze new connections and synergies across institutions and disciplines.

March 14

BostInno’s Tech Madness Bracket Reveal 2017

This March, BostInno is bringing the tech community together for some healthy competition… bracket-style. The goal of Tech Madness is to generate awareness and excitement for the city’s top tech players, from the “favorites” (late-stage tech pillars) to the “diaper dandies” (seed round startups).

March 15

Reducing Emissions by Pricing Carbon: How Microsoft and Yale are leading the charge

From college campuses to Davos, carbon pricing is a policy instrument regarded by climate scientists, economists, and political and business leaders as an important part of efforts to mitigate global climate change.

We have an exciting panel:

Microsoft’s TJ DiCaprio will explain how in its first four-and-a-half years the company’s carbon pricing program changed the company’s culture, reduced carbon emissions by 9.5 million metric tons, purchased more than 14M MWh of renewable energy, helped reduce energy consumption more than 10% across the Redmond campus, and impacted more than 7 million peoples’ lives in emerging nations. TJ is Senior Director of Environmental Sustainability at Microsoft.

Yale’s Casey Pickett will present the experience and results of the Yale 2015/2016 pilot program and what comes next, following the leadership decision to use the campus as a test bed for carbon pricing. Casey is Director of the Carbon Charge at Yale.

BU’s Kenneth Pucker will discuss effective carbon pricing and organizational behavior based on accurate measurement of climate impacts. Ken is the former COO of Timberland and Lecturer, Organizational Behavior, at the Questrom School of Business.

ProPublica’s Andrew Revkin will moderate. Andy is Senior Reporter on Climate Change at ProPublica and former environmental reporter at The New York Times, where he wrote the Dot Earth Blog.

This event is free and open to the public. Seating is limited.

March 16

Harvard Coop Author Series: Andrea Gonzales & Sophie Houser

The Harvard Coop Author Series Presents: Girl Code

Andrea Gonzales & Sophie Houser

Perfect for aspiring coders everywhere, Girl Code is the story of two teenage tech phenoms who met at Girls Who Code summer camp, teamed up to create a viral video game, and ended up becoming world famous.

March 19

Networking Event for Artists

Inviting local artists: musicians, composers, dancers, choreographers, actors, arts and performance managers, writers, tech people (sound, lighting) engineers, costume designers, visual artists and anyone who is interested in looking for new people to collaborate with, ideas for projects, financial and marketing advice, and sharing their work with others.

March 23

Generation Citizen Trivia for Changemakers

Test your trivia mettle in this exclusive best-of-Boston matchup, pitting teams from Boston’s industries against competitors in their sector to see who can clinch the grand ChangeMaker’s Cup. For a critical cause: every point you earn at Trivia for ChangeMakers will help a local classroom of Generation Citizen young people create change on a pressing community problem.

March 25

HackWITUs

HackWitus is the first student run hackathon at Wentworth Institute of Technology (WIT). This is a 24 hour hackathon that will take place on March 25th to March 26th at Wentworth’s Ira Allen Building. This event is made possible thanks to the Wentworth Computer Science Society, a chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery, along with support from many scholastic and administrative departments at WIT, Major League Hacking (MLH), and the generous sponsors that donated towards this event.

2017 Boston Baseball Hack Day

Love creating stuff on your computer and LOVE baseball? Come hack with us on March 25 at General Assembly!

The sixth annual Boston Baseball Hack Day is a fun, friendly one-day hacking competition (also known as hackathon, hackfest or codefest) for baseball fans. It will also be held in three other cities besides Boston: Philadelphia, Montreal, and Chicago.

March 25-26

Printathon 2017

Join us at Brandeis University’s annual Printathon! Organized by Deis3D, Brandeis University’s 3D Printing club, the Printathon challenges you to use creativity, design, and 3D printing skills to solve practical problems. This 24-hour event will be a team competition judged by a panel of industry leaders and technology specialists. We’ll be providing food, tech, and lots of great prizes to win!

March 28

Cafe Night at Roxbury Innovation Center

The monthly Café Nights @ RIC are energetic and dynamic events where innovators and entrepreneurs can find one another and collaborate to bring their dreams to reality.

These regular gatherings provide a space for conversations and scheduled programs to inspire a wide range of attendees from different backgrounds and industries to connect, share ideas, and grow their ventures. The Café is open to all members of the innovation community—stop by to try it out.

Making Memories — A #NERD10 Celebration

We love making memories with you. As part of our #NERD10 anniversary, celebrating the 10 years we’ve been in Cambridge, MA, we headed an Xbox giveaway where our Twitter friends shared their favorite memories at our Microsoft New England R&D Center (NERD)

Some of our favorite memories shared in our #NERD10 Giveaway:

Thank you to all who participated — and congratulations to our winner!

Our #NERD10 celebration isn’t over! Stay posted for upcoming giveaways, events, and more.

Women in Data Science Conference & Pre-Event @NERD: “Hacking Bias Ideation”

On February 2, the Microsoft New England Research & Development (NERD) Center hosted and sponsored the “Hacking Bias & Discrimination Ideation Session,” a precursor to the Harvard-MIT chapter of the Women in Data Science Conference.

This six-hour event was designed to tackle the presence of bias in data science models and algorithms through discussion and brainstorming of the following topics:

  1. Gender Bias in Word Embeddings:  http://www.wordbias.org/
  2. Identifying Gender Bias in Performance Reviews
  3. Neuroinformatics Research Group Understanding Response Bias
  4. Bias in ML algorithms applied to healthcare
  5. Bias in Law Enforcement Predictions
  6. Consumer Protections in a Digital Age
  7. Hiring and Selection Models
  8. Who Has Political Power and How Do You Measure It?

If you’d like to attend an upcoming Hacking Bias and Discrimination event, please consider:

The following day, more than 200 participants attended the Women in Data Science Conference held at NERD. Cathy Chute, Executive Director of the Harvard Institute for Applied Computational Science, and Elizabeth Sikorovsky, Executive Director of the MIT Institute for Data, Systems, and Society, delivered the opening remarks, followed by Elizabeth Bruce, Microsoft’s University Relations Lead, who presented a summary of the pre-event outcomes. Our very own Jennifer Chayes, Managing Director of Microsoft Research NE & NYC, delivered the keynote presentation, followed by talks from Microsoft Researcher Jennifer Listgarten, MIT professors, and data science industry professionals. Click Here for the conference agenda, abstracts and slides.

A recap video, via Zac Carpman:

RECAP: #CivicTechBos — Broadband Equity

What’s the importance of broadband equity?

Last night, our latest Conversation in Civic Innovation (#CivicTechBos) explored new technologies in broadband, ways to make internet accessible, and the importance behind it all.

Speakers included:

Miss out on our event? Catch up with us on Twitter Moments (below):

Celebrating #NERD10 — Microsoft New England’s Xbox Giveaway

Have you heard? It’s our anniversary! This year, we’re celebrating 10 years in our New England R&D Center (NERD) in Kendall Square, Cambridge. Over the past 10 years, we’ve been lucky enough to engage with the local community, attending (and hosting) events from Hubweek to the Kendall Square Eatup to our own #CivicTechBos nights. We’ve worked one-on-one with local startups, tech leaders, and individuals who care about New England and are helping us work forward through civic tech. And now, we want to give back. We’re celebrating in a big way by offering one lucky reader an Xbox One!

Rules:

Entering is easy — we’ll be posting a pinned tweet on February 20 (which we’ll link in the space above!) that will run until February 24. Once that is live, you can enter by logging in to your legally registered social media account on Twitter and post a publicly viewable message that includes sharing a memory of NERD from the past 10 years and the hashtag #NERD10. The entry limit is one per person per day during the Entry Period and each entry must be substantially unique and different.

Thanks for celebrating with us — and good luck!

NERD10 Xbox Giveaway Sweepstakes Official Rules (PDF)