On Wednesday, April 11, 2018, nearly 2,000 NYC high school students and their teachers attended the fifth annual NYC Computer Science (CS) Opportunity Fair, hosted at the Armory Track in Washington Heights, Manhattan. TEALS (a Microsoft Philanthropies program), CSNYC, and Tech:NYC presented the event with major sponsors Etsy, Microsoft, and Warby Parker; contributors Facebook, Two Sigma, and Union Square Ventures; and supporters Justworks, Quotidian Ventures, and the NYC DOE CS4All Program.
The diverse group of students represented 60 high schools from all five NYC boroughs. Schools were invited based on their participation in TEALS; NYC CS4All programs BJC (AP Computer Science Principles) and the Software Engineering Program (SEP); C/I; ScriptEd; and other CS and Career and Technical Education programs. Every student in attendance is studying computer science.
CS Opportunity Fair
The main event: this year’s CS Fair featured over 80 booths representing 65 companies, colleges, and extracurricular programs involved in computer science. Booth demos gave insight on what it’s like to build projects in the real world. College and university CS departments shared their own research projects and demos, and distributed information about their CS program offerings.
Microsoft’s Intelligent Kiosk captured students’ attention by guessing their age and the emotion of their facial expression. Morgan Stanley let students explore activities in virtual reality. Warby Parker demonstrated their eye-glass suggestion app. Students won prizes at Trello’s booth by completing a scavenger hunt.
Students engaged with other companies large and small, including Google, Facebook, Etsy, Justworks, StackOverflow, and Oath; colleges including NYU, Brown, Stevens Institute of Technology, CUNY, LIU and Carnegie Mellon; and a slew of extra-curricular CS programs like Girls Who Code, C/I, Upperline Code and NFTE. For a complete list, check the event website: http://csfair.nyc/.
The 2018 CS Fair included a Student Showcase — a selection of exceptional student CS projects. These teams of students were selected because they were finalists in the NYC CS4All Hack League. Seven teams from all 5 NYC boroughs presented their projects to a group of VIP judges including tech company founders and leaders, as well as administrators in the NYC Department of Education. The finalist teams were:
- #teambumble – Tottenville High School
- HackStars – Tottenville High School
- JAMS – Tottenville High School
- TYWLS Coders – The Young Women’s Leadership School of Astoria
- JNJ – Urban Assembly Maker Academy
- The Minorities – Collegiate Institute for Math and Science
- City Dash – Brooklyn Technical High School
All finalists teams received certificates and prize bags, with gifts furnished by Microsoft including a Raspberry Pi starter kit. NYC Chancellor of Schools Richard Carranza distributed awards to the students.
Mixed Reality, Dancing, and Robots
Students enjoyed a variety of hands-on activity spaces in addition to the fair itself. Students lined up to try out Microsoft’s HoloLens headset in the Mixed Reality Laboratory; drove large prize-winning robots in the FIRST Robotics Zone; felt the connection between CS and movement with STEM From Dance, and completed a robotic obstacle course at the FIRST Tech Challenge.
Speakers from an array of professional and demographic backgrounds shared their personal tech journeys and triumphs through lightning talks. Talks included:
Tech Lightning Talks
- “Teacher Turned Techie: Non-Traditional Pathways to Learning Tech Skills” with Jamie Wittenberg, Product Manager – Major League Hacking
- “Building Voice Applications” with Ifeoma Okereke, Mobile Software Engineer – Weight Watchers
- “What I Wish I Knew in High School” with Lauren Mitchell, Software Engineer – JPMorgan Chase
- “Tech’s Financial Side” with Tyrone V. Ross, Managing Partner – Noble Bridge Wealth & Asset Management Services
- “How to ‘Optimize’ College for your First CS Job” with Nathan Potter, Vice President of Engineering – WayUp
- “Making Indie Games” with Brian Alspach, Executive Vice President – E-Line Learning
- “Cool Things I’ve Done With CS and Data Science” with Lucio Tolentino, Senior Data Scientist – Dotdash
- “Computer Science Drives Change” with Jeffry Nimeroff, Chief Information Officer – Zeta Global
- “Blockchain, Decentralization, and the Future of Everything” with Yorke Rhodes, Global Business Strategist – Microsoft
- “The Sky’s the Limit: How CS Can Lead to an Amazing Career” with Tami Forman, Executive Director – Path Forward
- “Crushing Bugs with Test Engineering” with Kimberly Salerno, Director of Quality Engineering – Weight Watchers
- “Building My First App with React Native” with Kim Golbourne, Chronic Creator – Bourne
- “CS in Beauty & Fashion” with Atima Lui, Founder/CEO – Nudest
- “Life as a Consultant” with James Casale, Senior Technology Consultant and Trainer
Mouse and Code Haven set up shop on the first floor and led students in small projects including LED light-up creations and custom Arduino Circuits. A special thanks to these teams who worked for four hours straight to make sure students had fulfilling creative experiences!
For the 2018 CS Fair, Tech:NYC created our first-ever Startup Experience, where representatives from NYC tech startups walked teams of students through the steps of launching an idea into a company.
Throughout the day, students checked in at fair booths by having their badge’s QR code scanned by booth presenters. Each check-in was worth an entry in the CS Fair raffle, with prizes awarded throughout the day. Prizes were provided by event sponsors and included:
- Class field trips to StackOverflow, Accenture, and Oath’s Build Series
- Warby Parker Gift Cards
- A galactic skateboard from Clarifai
- E-Line Media’s Never Alone video game
- Bluetooth Speakers from Accenture
- Two Xbox One units from Microsoft
After the Fair, students can log in to the Fair website using their badge to view information from each of the booths they checked into. Throughout the day, students checked in to booths 7,400 times.
Media and Social Media
The presence of NYC Chancellor of Schools, Richard Carranza, at the fair helped raise the profile of this year’s event, resulting in the following media placements:
- Fox 5 News, New York Minute
- Brooklyn Daily Eagle, “Computer science fair draws more than 2,000 teens”
- Harlem World Magazine, “NYC’s Largest Annual Computer Science College & Career Event Held At The Armory”
- The Bridge BK, “Brooklyn Computer Science Students Win for ‘Most Creative'”
- Chalkbeat, “Five boroughs in five days: Follow along with Chancellor Carranza on his inaugural school tours” (mention of CS Fair in report about Carranza)
- NY1 (mention of CS Fair in report about Chancellor Carranza)
- News 12 Bronx (mention of CS Fair in report about Chancellor Carranza)
- Armory Track, “Over 2,000 NYC Students Visit Computer Science Fair at The Armory”
- Epoch Times (Chinese language news article)
The CS Fair Team includes: Raquel Cardona, Nathaniel Granor (TEALS), Ada Ibe (TEALS), Jennifer Klopp (CSNYC), Bryan Lozano (Tech:NYC), Maya McCoy (TEALS), David Pena (NYCDOE), Aimee Rosato (TEALS), and Tania Zatz-Gilman (TEALS).
We offer a HUGE thank you to all of the volunteers, contributors, chaperones, CS teachers, 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!
Special thanks to: Fred Wilson; Michael Preston; Julie Samuels; Amber Salomon, Rita Finkel and the entire team at the Armory Foundation for hosting the event in their fantastic space; Will Mantell and Sean Ludwig for coordinating PR; Antuan Santana, Angelina Sosnowski, and John Paul Farmer for coordinating Microsoft’s event presence; The rest of the Tech:NYC and CSNYC teams; The CS4ALL team at the NYC Department of Education; Alexis Buryk of City Love Photography; Jenda George, Becky Howsmon, Kevin Wang, and the whole TEALS and Microsoft Philanthropies team for their support.
Tags: NYC CS Fair