On Monday March 16, 2015, approximately 1,000 NYC high school students, teachers and chaperones attended the second annual NYC Computer Science opportunity fair, hosted at Columbia University’s Alfred Lerner Hall. Microsoft and the New York City Foundation for Computer Science Education presented the event in partnership with AOL, Facebook, and Two Sigma.
The diverse group of students came from 35 high schools in all 5 NYC boroughs. The participating schools were invited due to their relationship with TEALS and other Computer Science Ed programs including NYC SEP, NYC CTE schools, C/I, ScriptEd and the iZone Exploring Computer Science pilot. Also in attendance were students from the Academy For Software Engineering, the Bronx Academy for Software Engineering, Stuyvesant, and Inwood Early College High School.
Every student in attendance has been studying computer science.
The 2015 fair surpasses the 2014 event in scale to become the largest gathering of NYC high school CS students ever!
Our four speaker panels featured an unprecedented and demographically diverse array of local tech entrepreneurs, engineers, and academics, including:
Jessica Banks – Founder of RockPaperRobot
Avi Flombaum – Co-Founder of The Flatiron School
Devindra Hardawar – Senior Editor at Engadget
John Henry – CEO and Founder of Cofound/Harlem
Marcus Mitchell – Sr. Engineering Director at Google
Gerard O’Neill – Developer at Etsy
Bill Pence – CTO at AOL
Serkan Piantino – Director of Engineering at Facebook
Kelsey Recht – CEO and Co-Founder of VenueBook
Hoop Somuah – Principle Software Design Engineer at Microsoft (Xbox)
Chris Wiggins – Chief Data Scientist at New York Times, Associate Professor at Columbia University
Suzanne Xie – Founder of Hullabalu
David Yang – CEO of Fullstack Academy
Robert Ying – CS Major at Columbia University
The panels exposed students to the wide variety of industries and fields impacted by computer science, and got them thinking in new directions. Dozens of students asked questions and got thoughtful advice and opinions from the distinguished panelists.
Computer Science Opportunity Fair
At the Opportunity Fair, students explored around 50 booths from companies, colleges, and extracurricular programs. Demos gave insight on what it would look like to build projects in the real world. Local university CS departments shared their own research projects and demos, and distributed information about their CS offerings.
Particularly popular booths included Floored Inc’s Oculus Rift application to tour customer floorplans, audio-sensitive lights and other projects from NYU’s Integrated Telecommunications Program, as well as the Microsoft Store’s display of gadgets and YouthSpark’s giant Perceptive Pixel touchscreen.
Other booths included tech heavy-hitters Facebook, AOL and Google; local NYC companies like Two Sigma, Etsy and Kickstarter; finance firms like JP Morgan Chase; colleges including NYU, Columbia, CUNY and Pace; and a slew of extra-curricular CS programs like Girls Who Code, All Star Code, and CSTUY. For a complete list, check the event website.
At lunchtime, students were greeted by warm welcomes from Two Sigma’s Patrick Hynes, Facebook’s Carolyn Nagler, and AOL’s Sara Link. Microsoft’s Hoop Somuah spoke about his experiences as a developer and working on Halo. Finally, NYC Chief Technology Officer Minerva Tantoco, spoke about the exciting growth of the NYC tech sector, and noted that in not too long, some of the students in the audience would be up on stage sharing their love of CS with a new generation of students. “The future of NYC Tech is in this room.”
CSNYC helped to coordinate The Makery and Maker-State in running hands-on activities in a separate workshop space. Among other projects, students built “paper circuits” that powered LED lights they could attach to their event badge.
Throughout the day, booth presenters punched holes in students’ raffle tickets to reward good participation. Students with at least 10 holes punched were eligible to enter the raffle and win prizes provided by sponsors including:
-Free 4-week Foundations course The Flatiron School
-Be a Facebook Intern for a day
-Two Xbox One units
We offer a HUGE thank you to all of the volunteers, contributors, chaperones and supporters who are helping to prepare and inspire our youngest innovators and engineers through TEALS and other CS education programs, and to our event co-sponsors for helping achieve this unprecedented landmark event!