STEM Education

Microsoft Store and B~STEM Host One-Day Only Events

Girls learn STEM atAccording to, only 6.7 percent of women are graduating with STEM degrees. With this we have a responsibility today to educate and inspire females of all ages to advance our world by pursuing careers in traditionally male dominated industries.

B~STEM Project and Microsoft Store understand this responsibility. B~STEM Project is an organization focused on helping young girls and women to engage, learn and grow within business and STEM-related disciplines across industries. From June 23 – 30, B~STEM will host We Hack Too, an eight-day virtual hackathon. Select Microsoft Store locations are excited to host kick-off events on Friday, June 23, and set everyone up for a week of fun with a Business Development and Design Incubator.

The events will give high school and college women opportunities to collaborate with professional mentors to design products and develop business strategies, while 8 to 12-year-olds will be invited to attend coding and gaming workshops.

These free events will take place in the following store near you:

Each store event will have its own unique theme spanning STEM-related topics including clean energy, gaming, entertainment and digital media, biotechnology and tech startups. To learn more about the topic of the event at your local Microsoft Store and to register for the event, please visit

Not located in a city with an event? Microsoft Store offers a range of free programs, year-round that empower youth by providing direct access to technology and hands-on learning. If you haven’t been to a Microsoft Store program yet, take a look at the video below that captures Microsoft Store YouthSpark camp energy and testimonials from real student and parent participants.

To see a full list of available in-store events and programs at your local Microsoft Store visit,

The Future [Of Computer Science] Is Female — A DigiGirlz Story

When 17-year-old Ameena Sajjad walked into Microsoft New England for DigiGirlz Day 2016, she was all set to be a dentist. She had already received a 75% paid tuition scholarship at a major college in Boston to do so, in fact.

When she walked out, she wanted to major in computer science. Now, she’s in a 2-year computer science program at Bunker Hill Community College, and is currently interning at Microsoft New England. She wants to pursue a career in software development.

So what happened at DigiGirlz that took her from wanting to be a dentist to working at Microsoft in one year?

“I came to know about wonderful innovations that were developed at the Microsoft Garage, the speakers at the event gave information about advances in technology, 3D printing, and more,” Ameena told MSNE. “They also highlighted the lack of interest among women in the field of computer science and how women can contribute to the field. I was fascinated by the entire office setup at Microsoft, the work culture, and the teamwork among the groups who organized the event.”

The stats about women in computer science are very real. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, women currently hold less than 25 percent of STEM jobs. And, globally, only 16 percent of female students graduate from STEM subjects, according to the World Economic Forum. We at Microsoft believe that this has to change.

DigiGirlz is one of our free #YouthSpark programs for middle and high school girls that allows them to immerse themselves in the world of technology for one day, in hopes that we can inspire the next generations of female Computer Scientists. They hear first-hand from women with careers in technology, connect with Microsoft employees, and participate in hands-on computer and technology workshops during the day-long event.

This year, Ameena is leading her own workshop at DigiGirlz in Burlington, where she’ll show them the BBC micro:bit, a tool she helped develop at her internship. She’ll show the DigiGirlz how to use the micro:bit to code all sorts of cool creations, from robots to musical instruments.

“I want to make them more curious and give them more technology — show them what it’s like,” Ameena said.

She’ll never forget that drive home from DigiGirlz, and how nervous she felt to tell her parents she wanted to turn down a huge scholarship to be a computer science major.

“Eventually after coming home [from DigiGirlz], I gathered all the courage I had and told my parents that I wanted to change majors to computer science. My parents were quiet at first, but then started to discuss possible options,” she explained. “This is my second semester and I am going strong with each day that passes. I am loving my C++ and Java classes. I don’t know if it is my luck or just a coincidence that I was selected for an internship position at Microsoft New England.”

“I will always be thankful to DigiGirlz, who arranged the Microsoft visit and gave me the option to explore a computer science major.”

We’re excited to welcome more middle and high school girls to DigiGirlz at Microsoft New England this year. Our first day is in Rhode Island at the campus of the New England Institute of Technology on Friday, March 17, and our second session is in Burlington, MA at our new Sales & Technology Center on Friday, April 28.

There will also be free DigiGirlz events at all of our retail store locations throughout New England. Find a free event near you.

Head here to learn more about Microsoft YouthSpark’s DigiGirlz programs.

Looking Back at Computer Science Education Week 2016


Last week, we joined a revolution as Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek) launched worldwide, inspiring students to incorporate CS education into their daily lives. We celebrated by sharing stories like David Delmar’s Resilient Coders, uplifting others through the power of education, and by participating in Hour of Code events throughout the New England area.

Meanwhile, our community engaged on the same level, hosting Hour of Code events at Boston Public Schools and beyond. We’re thrilled to see our neighbors committed to the future of education, honoring the importance of computer science for all.

A look at local celebrations of CSEdWeek:

Find out more about #hourofcode here:

Coding Outside the Classroom — Resilient Coders’ David Delmar on Making Change


Resilient Coders founder David Delmar (right) with alumni Brian at the MassTLC Awards.

There’s a big difference between talking about making a difference and actually making a change.

Resilient Coders (RC)— a nonprofit based out of the CIC in Boston that teaches underserved, at-risk, and super smart young people to code — is a program that is actually making change. The program takes kids from diverse backgrounds, teaches them to code, and gives them opportunities to work in tech — opportunities that they may not have otherwise.

RC hand-picks students from their coding boot camps to enter Resilient Labs, where they are paired with organizations that need services, like websites. We’re talking taking kids from correctional facilities, urban neighborhoods, and low-income families, and training them to build websites from scratch for local schools, organizations, and mom & pop shops. Resilient Labs projects have led to internships and jobs for kids who may not have the resources available to them to break into the tech industry. RC is working to make tech more equitable by making tech jobs accessible to all.

“I have this belief that tech has a responsibility to go hand in hand with social progress,” David Delmar, founder of Resilient Codes, told MSNE. “We have lost touch with that ethos, that sense of responsibility.”

“I personally am allergic to talk. I’m so over it.”

Delmar got the idea to start his program at a giant tech conference in Texas, circa 2008. He looked around at the tens of thousands of people there and counted 14 African Americans. Brilliant technicians sat around talking about sophisticated solutions to trivial problems, like how to make an app that condensed tabs on your computer — he couldn’t believe how disconnected these people were from the problems that really needed solving. They were talking behind closed doors, not getting out to the places that actually need help.

“When I counted maybe 14 people of color out of 10s of thousands. That’s a real problem. That’s an actual problem. I started trying to code my way out of it,” Delmar said. “But It’s not a software problem. It is a people problem. It is a roll up your sleeves and get in there problem.”

Resilient Coders is full of stories of kids who came from difficult backgrounds, and through the program, were able to turn their lives around and reach inspiring heights in the tech space. One of those kids is Brian.

Brian immigrated to the US with his mother and sister from Mexico. The turning point in his life that led him to Resilient Coders was during his freshman year at Northeastern, when his family was suddenly evicted by a developer in East Boston. Though he was doing really well in school, the incident led Brian to drop out of college.

“I realized that a piece of paper had more power than everything. A piece of paper can take you out of your own home,” Brian explained in an interview with Be Visible. “I also realized that the only way to feel empowered was to find a way, a career path that was stable. I wasn’t finding that in college… I felt like it was going to take too long for me to actually have a sustainable career if I followed the traditional route. And I just wasn’t fulfilled.”

Then he found Resilient Coders and learned to code through their after school boot camps. Brian quickly moved from being temporarily uprooted to redesigning the website for the Boston Public Market, and is now a front-end apprentice with Fresh Tilled Soil, one of the most prestigious design agencies in Boston. Brian is also a mentor for Resilient Coders, and helps other kids learn HTML, CSS, Javascript, and UX Design — embodying their mission of doing — actively teaching coding to underrepresented communities.


Brian and David hugging at the MassTLC Awards 2016 after David won the Distinguished Leadership Award.

The day after the election, Brian came in to Resilient Coders, and was totally ashen-faced. He approached Delmar and said, “Del, I feel like my mother has worked so hard to set me and my sisters up in this country, and this country that I love has just told me that I’m not welcome here.”

He and Brian’s conversation led them to start a program called #CommitResilience, which is an invitation for people to do something about hate crimes by promoting inclusion and peace. On the Commit Resilience website, you can share commitments you’re making to make your world more accessible to members of disenfranchised communities.

“If you’re mad, good. Be mad. But do something with it. Be productively mad,” Delmar said to Brian and to MSNE. “If you want to protest, go ahead, do so. But you can also protest with the very nature of your own success.”

“Be exactly the type of person who people out there think you cannot be. Be someone who contributes meaningfully to society. Who works to give others access to the American Dream, even to the people who don’t believe that you have access to it yourself.”

To the tech community, Delmar has the same message. “I have companies come up to me all the time asking how they can help and I say: stop talking and take action. Hire these kids.”

“I really need you to rethink what it will take to address the diversity crisis, and to be open to the possibility that you and your company might not be doing anything about it right now. Even if you think you are,” Delmar wrote in an opinion piece for The Boston Globe. “I need you to think differently about a problem we’ve consistently failed to solve.”

Read The White House’s recent blog featuring Brian here. Watch the below video by MassTLC, featuring both David and Brian. And head to to hire some of the brightest programmers around. 

Drive Digital Literacy This Computer Science Education Week With The Hour of Code


Every December, something special happens for students around the world. Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek), held annually in December in recognition of the birthday of computing pioneer Grace Hopper (December 9, 1906), is a grassroots campaign dedicated to inspiring K-12 students to take interest in computer science. The campaign, originally conceived by the Computing in the Core coalition, is now spearheaded by alongside 350 partners and 100,000 educators worldwide.

MA Computer Science Stats

Stats via

This year, CSEdWeek runs from December 5, 2016 through December 11, 2016, and we’re ready to once again be on board. With over 500,000 open computing jobs nationwide — despite the fact that only 42,969 computer science students graduated into the workforce in 2016 — we’re ready to engage the next generation of coders and drive innovation throughout the world. In fact, just this year, the state of Massachusetts, worked alongside STEM education group MassCAN to develop voluntary Digital Literacy and Computer Science Standards for MA high schools. But that’s just the first step. Computer science is a foundational skill and it’s up to us to ensure that every 21st century child gets the chance to learn how technology works.

So how do we get this done?

The centerpiece of CSEdWeek lies within a program devised by named the Hour of Code. An Hour of Code is a basic coding tutorial that new coders of all ages — and over 45 languages — can use to begin their journey in computer science. In over 180 countries, 305,078,080 students have performed an Hour of Code since its inception. It’s time to add to this total.

This CSEdWeek, we’re inviting you to take the coding challenge: give a child the gift of computer science and join them in an Hour of Code.

Local Hour of Code programming this CSEdWeek at the Microsoft Store:

Youthspark Camp: Hour of Code

Join us for this free, 90-minute workshop to take part in the global Hour of Code movement during Computer Science Education Week. Go behind the scenes to learn how to code, program, and play in your own gaming world. You’ll use fun, interactive coding to learn how creativity and problem solving come together to make something all your own. Workshop designed for ages 8 and older.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016 | 5:00 PM

Wednesday, December 7, 2016 | 5:00 PM

Thursday, December 8, 2016 | 5:00 PM

Students at AMSA Charter School Delve Into Complex Cybersecurity Issues

Local governments in New England are committed to teaching computer science to student of all ages. Recently, Governor Raimondo of Rhode Island shared that computer science would be taught in all K-12 classes, raising the bar for technology education and challenging other states across the county to provide students with the skills they need to be successful in tomorrow’s economy.

“Our kids deserve the best opportunities in the 21st century tech-driven economy, so we need to do everything we can to help them get ahead by developing the skills that matter,” Raimondo said. “Part of turning our economy around and creating jobs is making sure every student, at every level, has access to the new basic skill: computer science. Thanks to the partners we have assembled for this initiative, I know we can achieve this goal.”

Why can’t I get on Twitter today?

The Advanced Math and Science Academy (“AMSA”) Charter School in Marlborough, Massachusetts exemplifies the value of learning computer science from a young age. In a session, earlier this month, I had the opportunity to lead a discussion with Juniors and Seniors regarding current topics in Cyber Security. First we discussed the internet outage led by systematic attacks using unsecured Internet of Things (“IoT”) devices on DNS services. Everything from coffee pots to light bulbs are being designed for use in a networked environment, and many times connect directly to the internet with no security software or firewall. Conversations quickly turned to policy questions of if the government of the country where the IoT devices are manufactured should mandate security features or if it is the responsibility of the consumer protection laws in the country where the IoT Devices are ultimately sold.

Cyber warfare: what constitutes a war?

Joelle Jenny, Director of Security Policy and Conflict Prevention for the EU and a Fellow at the Harvard University Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, assisted in laying the framework for an in-depth discussion cyber warfare and how sovereign nations protect their interests, both in terms of defense and deterrence. Over the past year, Iran and Saudi Arabia have been documented as waging several computer-based attacks. Given the number of regional attacks, spending on cyber security in the Middle East alone is anticipated to be over $9 billion by 2019. Through a series of cyberattacks, the power grid of the Ukraine was knocked offline leaving 700,000 people without access to electricity. Per a NATO report, US-Israeli forces used a computer based attack to dismantle Iran’s nuclear program, shutting down centrifuges.

These high school students, with several years of computer science training already under their belts, began to discuss topics that are complex for most graduate students.

“What constitutes a cyber-attack by a sovereign power? Can a cyberattack be an act of war? What policies can be created to prevent such an attack? Which international governing bodies provide guidance on these issues?”

“AMSA has been a pioneer with Computer Science in the core curriculum,” said Padmaja Bandaru, a computer science educator at AMSA Charter School. “This brought accolades and recognition to AMSA in the community. Having Computer Science every year provides more flexibility and opportunities to try new programming tools and languages. The students are inquisitive by nature and are enthusiastic to learn more about real world situations and learn from listening to those experiences.”

Training in computer science not only prepares students for careers in STEM fields, but also for professions in technology policy, an area growing vastly more complex with the pace of technological advancement. Through the commitment of high schools, such as AMSA Charter School, we will see New England retain a competitive edge by the advancement of young people that are prepared for technological challenges not yet defined.

Michael ImpinkMichael Impink is a Senior Manager at Microsoft Corporation and is a Fellow at the Harvard University Weatherhead Center of International Affairs focusing on technology issues and business strategy in emerging markets.

Local Teachers, STEM Advocates Weigh in on New CS Standards In MA Schools


The state of Massachusetts, along with STEM education group MassCAN, an alliance of organizations advocating for computer science in schools, has recently developed voluntary Digital Literacy and Computer Science Standards for MA high schools. Microsoft was proud to participate on the diverse review panel that was assembled to head the project, which involved reviewing existing CS standards and the current Technology Literacy Standards.

We spoke with local, MA high school CS teachers and STEM education advocates about why these new digital literacy standards are important for our kids:

Why are digital literacy standards important? What impact will they have on MA?

“I think these standards show that digital literacy and Computer Science are important parts of the K-12 education. It will take time for schools to ramp up, but a lot is already being done to provide interested teachers with professional development. I would like to see this expand over the years to the point that every student in Massachusetts gets a chance to learn some basic computer programming.”

— Hans Batra, Needham High School (@hansbatra)

“Young people are not pursuing STEM fields as often as they did in the past. Less than 25 percent of students are choosing STEM majors in college, and of that, 38 percent do not graduate with a STEM degree. Meanwhile, demand for STEM workers has grown three times faster than non-STEM employment over the past 10 years. For Massachusetts to be globally competitive and to expand its economy, we must have digital literacy standards to prepare young people for the ever changing work force.”

— Donna Cupelo (@techcup) + Stephanie Lee (@bacilee) – Verizon New England

“It also shows that Massachusetts finds value in the topics of computer science and digital literacy. As a teacher, this is very important to me, because I have faced issues as a computer science teacher in MA, such as no licensure currently existing to teach CS in MA. Now that the standards are outlined, licensure tests can be created and masters programs specifically around teaching HS CS will be developed.”

— Meg Bednarcik, Computer Science teacher at Burlington High School (@msbednarcik)

“The standards are a historic step forward. They are important because they validate computer science as a foundational skill, and provide a consistent framework for all schools, so all students can have the same educational experiences, regardless of  zip code, race or gender.  They are a step toward giving all students the code they need to unlock the door to future opportunity.”

— Shereen Tyrrell, Mass TLC (@masstlcef)

How does STEM education improve our communities?

Engineers, innovators, and other STEM professionals are building the world we want to live in. They are tackling issues and coming up with solutions that are transforming how we live and work – making our communities smarter, more productive and successful. Without STEM, we will not innovate and build our economy. We will not be able to compete globally.”

— Donna Cupelo (@techcup) + Stephanie Lee (@bacilee) – Verizon New England

“Science, technology, engineering, and math are the tools we are using to solve problems, create products and improve our quality of life.  STEM education is the the key, preparing today’s students to solve tomorrow’s problems.  STEM education teaches kids to think, problem-solve, work in groups and risk failure – all skills they need in life as much as they need in work.”

— Shereen Tyrrell, Mass TLC (@masstlcef)

How has computer science education impacted MA so far?

Our education system is being transformed already. Many schools have or are moving toward “1:1” — the standards are just setting a baseline of what we should be teaching, although many schools are already teaching these standards, if not more. These standards should be a wake up call for the schools that have been slow in teaching these skills to their students.”

— Hans Batra, Needham High School (@hansbatra)

“We have one of the largest tech and innovation communities in the world here in Massachusetts. Computer science education is preparing more people for jobs in this growing industry. Also tech crosses over ever sector – education, government, healthcare, finance – to name a few. We also know STEM jobs pay more than twice the state’s average salary. It’s a field that can lift people out of poverty and into the middle class and beyond.”

— Donna Cupelo (@techcup) + Stephanie Lee (@bacilee) – Verizon New England

How will digital literacy transform our education system?

“We must provide students with more opportunities to explore coding and app development as well as design thinking, collaboration and entrepreneurship. To do this, we need standards and educators who are prepared to teach in a digital world. We also need to provide more support to educators so they can hone their skills and understanding in digital literacy across the curriculum. Organizations such as the Verizon Foundation are focused on improving digital literacy and student achievement in STEM.”

— Donna Cupelo (@techcup) + Stephanie Lee (@bacilee) – Verizon New England

What is the best way youth and parents can support computer science education?

“The best way is for students and parents to advocate for more CS classes or lessons in their school system. If your school already has these courses, make sure you take them — the higher the demand is, the more courses will be offered. I feel that a basic course in computer science should be a high school graduation requirement for every student in Mass., and that we should be moving in that direction.”

— Hans Batra, Needham High School (@hansbatra)

Tune In to the Roadtrip of a Lifetime — #CodeTrip


Where can computer science take us?

That’s the catalyst driving the folks behind Roadtrip Nation’s Code Trip, a road trip throughout the continental US empowering folks through code.

Last summer, computer science students Natalie, Robin, and Zoed went on a journey from LA to Boston to diversify the tech industry. The three come from backgrounds underrepresented in tech, and made it their mission to prove that you don’t have to fit the mold to make it in tech.

Now, you can watch the trip of a lifetime unfold online, as Code Trip culminates in a weekly webseries from September 1 through September 22.

Follow the journey of a lifetime on Twitter at @RoadtripNation and #CodeTrip.

Congratulations to the Girls Who Code Class of 2016!


“We’re in the midst of redefining the way we live, and tech is a big driver of that. You need to be a part of that.”

That’s what Terrell Cox, Partner GPM for Intune Device Experiences and General Manager for Microsoft New England Research and Development Center, told 40 bright young girls last week. Together with Twitter Boston, we were honored to celebrate yet another graduating class of Girls Who Code’s Summer Immersion Program. Every year at Microsoft New England, we join tech companies around the world in hosting girls aged 15-17 for two months, sponsored by Microsoft Philanthropies. Over the course of the program, Girls Who Code students learn multiple coding languages, are exposed to professionals in the field, and encouraged to #MakeWhatsNext.

This summer, we were happy to offer our students many field trips, such as days to Museum of Fine Arts #TechStyle Exhibit with Private Presentation by Curator, Museum of Science Exhibits & Planetarium Show, Microsoft Envisioning Center, and a Miss Representation movie screening with Microsoft panel discussion.

Last night was a celebration of what all of these events over the past seven weeks brought to the table. Each guest speaker — including student keynotes Marlika Marceau (Microsoft) and Shreya Chowdhary (Twitter) — explained why the opportunities each girl accessed this summer are steps to changing the world, and showed why programs like Girls Who Code are so important to encourage women in tech.

Microsoft keynote speaker Terrell Cox explained that the most effective solutions come from diverse, equal teams, expressing her hopes that the girls want more than “just a taste” of coding. She left us all with parting advice: “Learn more. Seek out new challenges. Be that engineer. Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

And Twitter Boston’s guest speaker, Rich Paret, Senior Director, Software Engineering, continued Cox’s call to action. After calling for a group retrospective, asking the girls if they had fun, made things, collaborated, solved a problem, and overcame a challenge, he instructed the girls to “Make stuff. Tell people about it. Share your experiences. Repeat forever.”

The students then took the stage themselves, proving exactly why Paret and Cox are so confident that these girls will change the world. Twelve different groups presented their summer projects, which consisted of websites and apps geared toward a variety of social problems, from campus sexual assault to gender stereotypes to water conservation and even preventing “spoilers” in pop culture. It’s clear that these girls know what needs are important, and their drive to solve these problems reminds us why STEM education is a priority.

After their pitches, we celebrated our Girls Who Code with certificates of achievement, wrapping up the night with one last surprise as Microsoft program manager Anissa Battaglino and Twitter program manager Tali Sason announced to all a donation of the Surface devices they have been using these past weeks to each student and each of the three teachers to help to continue their coding work.  

A big thank you to all who helped make this Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program possible, including our mentors, guest speakers, and MTC employees. We can’t wait to celebrate again next summer!

“Now, How Can You Make It Better?” — Girls Who Code Empowering #WomenInTech


To me, #GirlsCan means there is nothing girls can’t do. It is not just a statement to prove that boys are not better than girls, or that girls can in fact do things. It is a statement that says, “Girls have, girls do, and girls will achieve amazing things, whether there are or aren’t obstacles ahead of us.”

My sophomore year of high school, the Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, Reshma Saujani herself, came to my school — an all-girls school at that. She introduced us to her program, which we felt opened doors for us to explore limitless adventures as women in the field of tech. When I was a student in the GWC program, I was a part of the Twitter Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program, also in Cambridge. I thought the energy, learning environment, people, ideas I was exposed to, and of course my teacher and teacher assistants were incredible. My teacher and her assistants, who seemed to answer all of my questions, then proceeded to ask me, “Now, how can you make it better?” These few words become a part of my philosophy as a student, and now a teacher assistant.

This summer our students, rising juniors and seniors in high school, are touching on topics like algorithms and encryption, and are plowing through programs like Scratch, Python, HTML/CSS and web design, JavaScript, and this week robotics and Arduino. After taking part in the program as a student, I was shaken by the possibilities that could become realities with the new knowledge at my fingertips. This was what lead me to understand why it is important to teach people how to code. In this day and age, with technology taking over anything and everything, learning to code is equivalent to understanding how to play with the building blocks of everything that could ever be created. The education of coding is important to learn because it is the base of almost everything that we use today. But with that, it is not just a skill, it is a thought process. It is not just languages to become fluent in, it is learning how to think of things in several different ways and using what is most advantageous within your given set of tools, and being efficient.

However, teaching women to code, specifically, is incredibly critical because we are underrepresented in the field. This may seem like just a number, but women represent more than half of the world and are shown to be less than half of the people that can use these building blocks coding gives us to change our world. A lack of representation is a lack of perspective, it is a lack of new ideas, and a limit to the change that can be created.

 FullSizeRender (3)Jasmine Hyppolite is a rising senior in high school from Providence, Rhode Island. She was part of the 2015 Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program at Twitter and is now a teacher assistant for the 2016 summer program at Microsoft. She is planning to major in Computer Science in college and hopes to inspire students to do the same.