Knight Foundation Awards $1.2 Million to Code Fever’s Black Tech Week

Black Tech Week

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation recently presented a $1.2 million grant to the organizers of Black Tech Week—a yearly event for fostering black innovation and entrepreneurship.

Black Tech Week kicked off in 2015. It is a gathering of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, tech founders, and other thought leaders held every year in the Miami area.

The event is the brainchild of the founders of Code Fever, Felecia Hatcher and Derick Pearson. Hatcher was named a White House Champion of Change in 2014 as part of President Obama’s initiative to create STEM opportunities and education.

Hatcher also helped facilitate Black Enterprise’s BE Smart Case Competition in 2016. In the competition, students from historically black colleges and universities work for weeks to solve a real-work business problem presented to them.

The serial entrepreneur spoke with Black Enterprise last year about juggling dedication to both her nonprofit Code Fever and the Black Tech Week event.

“I would love to say that every ball is always managed and floating in the air at the same time, but that’s just not realistic. We have a team that loves what we’re doing, and we understand that we all benefit when we’re attracting the people, resources, funding, and all those things that come with building a healthy ecosystem in South Florida,” said Hatcher.

The grant will allow Code Fever to establish a Venture Capitalist in Residence Program.

“Sometimes, entrepreneurs within the black community lack the ‘friends & family round’ opportunity that many white entrepreneurs have,” said Hatcher in an emailed statement.

“When you drop in a VC in residence, or a programmer in residence, into communities where these ecosystem elements are lacking, it signals a shift in the very fabric of our venture capital and tech industry. It encourages inclusivity and more equal access to funding that can be felt in every layer of the technology field,” she said.

 

 

3 Essentials to Turn Girls Onto STEM

science

The benefits of early exposure to foreign languages, music, travel, and sports on a child’s developing brain are well studied. The early years become the architecture of future learning. The same holds true of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. STEM exposure at an early age becomes an integral part of the intellectual scaffolding upon which other disciplines and interests thrive.

But what if the girls in your life—your daughters, nieces, even neighbors—are past those early, formidable years? What if they wear headphones instead of footie pajamas and are more likely to crack a Geometry book than Dr. Seuss? Brain architecture in late-blooming STEM Gems is no less impressive. All women, regardless of age, are capable of erecting skyscrapers of the mind.

Early is good. Now is even better.

 

1: Talking STEM

 

STEM is all around us. STEM is in the car that takes your daughter to soccer practice, in the pink hair dye your niece uses to assert her independence, and in the street angles where your neighbor girl does trick skateboarding. Having adults around who point out the greater STEM picture in everyday life can leave a tremendous impact on a child’s STEM perspective. And you don’t have to be a STEM-oriented person to help your daughter or niece or neighbor recognize the STEM possibilities in the world around her.

Raising four children, my mom always looked for the best deal. She was a walking calculator. Mentally calculating percentage-off prices during holiday shopping and gratuity when dining out became a fun ritual she passed on to my siblings and me. When a delivery came inside a cardboard box, we made a game of the volume and dimensions, creating units out of everything from foam peanuts to stuffed animals. We figured out how many boxes we needed to construct the cities in our minds.

My dad was a firm believer that girls should work with tools and throw balls, not just play with dolls. My sisters and I were often outside with my brother, helping dad fix his car. We passed him tools and laid on the ground beside him, looking at the car’s undercarriage to understand what he was doing. After, we tossed baseballs and dribbled basketballs in the backyard. Without us knowing, my dad was teaching us the fundamentals of physics. After these experiences, learning about force and acceleration in high school was intuitive.

My parents didn’t simply sit us down one day to teach us about how to be an engineer. Through their actions and words, they intentionally demonstrated the fundamentals of STEM all around us. This foundation helped us to find our way into STEM careers.

Talking STEM means deconstructing life, one small moment, one small experience at a time. Every piece of technology, every tool, every food, every event, has a basis in STEM. Pick the moments and experiences that speak to your daughter, neighbor, or niece. Help her to realize that someone in a STEM field had a hand in making those ideas a reality.

 

2: Seeing Women in STEM

 

Not every girl is fortunate enough to build cardboard cityscapes and share a nightly dinner table with a STEM Gem. It’s important to remember, however, that STEM Gem role models are closer than you might think. STEM Gems are pediatricians, science and math teachers, and web designers for your small business. STEM Gems can also be found in books, magazines, online, and at local events.

Media can be an amazing source of STEM inspiration, but it can also send young women mixed messages. Overwhelmingly in television and movies, STEM roles are portrayed by men. The few women who fill STEM roles in the media are often eccentric, goth, socially awkward, or just stereotypically nerdy. While some girls can relate, the majority of girls cannot picture themselves cast in that type of role in their lives. The media has only just begun to embrace women of all shapes and sizes and colors in science, tech, engineering and math roles. Pay attention to these STEM messages and guide the young women in your life into meaningful conversations about the perception of STEM and how perceptions might influence her and her peers.

Seeing women in STEM roles is critical to combatting the inevitable disparaging remarks that girls who show an interest in STEM sometimes face. If girls have an established mindset from a trusted source that women can excel in STEM fields, they will be better equipped to respond to naysayers who tell them they’re not good enough or that girls can’t succeed in STEM fields.

 

3: Exposure to STEM

 

When I applied to MIT to pursue a chemical engineering degree, I never dreamed so many girls had the mentality that STEM was a boys-only endeavor. Beyond the tremendous role models I had in my childhood, I participated in countless programs that exposed me to STEM. By the time I reached college, my rightful place in STEM was so ingrained, no one could crush my determination.

Participating in STEM programs geared toward girls unleashes something powerful in young women. Being part of a room full of like-minded individuals, engaged in a unifying project or experience, energizes. Once girls are surrounded by peers who are excited about robotics or creating software or studying animal species so that we may better preserve them, our daughters and nieces and neighbor girls find their tribe—a group of individuals who share common passions.

Many universities, corporations and non-profit organizations are trying to remedy the lack of a solid STEM pipeline for girls and other underrepresented populations by offering programs and initiatives, both in summer and year-round, often fully or partially funded to the participant. I highly encourage participation in these local STEM opportunities. Not only does the content open up the STEM world to girls, but it also fosters discussion about STEM and models women in STEM roles.

Talking STEM, seeing STEM, and exposure to STEM are the most consistent themes in the back stories of the 44 STEM Gems highlighted in STEM Gems: How 44 Women Shine in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, And How You Can Too. These three factors are doorways to the enriching world of a STEM career. Above all, approaching science, technology, engineering and math with intentionality is the best way to ensure future generations of women are well-represented in STEM fields.

 

ABOUT STEM GEMS:

STEM Gems: How 44 Women Shine in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, And How You Can Too is designed to inspire possibilities in girls and young women of all ages. Profiles of forty-four successful women in each of the four STEM disciplines—science, technology, engineering and math—highlight vastly different paths, but three factors consistently made an impact on their willingness to consider a STEM career.

 

 

This post originally appeared on Women 2.0.

 

 


Women 2.0 is building a future where gender is no longer a factor. Founded in April 2006, it’s now the leading media brand for women in tech. The for-profit, for-good company takes an action-oriented approach that directly addresses the pipeline from all sides: hiring, founding, investing, and leading.

Congressional Republicans Sell Data Privacy to the Highest Bidders

data privacy

The bill to roll back regulations that require internet providers and companies, such as Facebook and Google, to ensure data privacy for internet users has just passed in the House of Representatives. Once signed President Trump, it will become effective legislation—and it’s expected that he will sign.

With the Obama administration’s internet privacy laws repealed, internet companies and service providers will no longer have to get consumer consent before selling or sharing internet usage, geolocation, or other internet browsing data to the advertisers and marketers that typically want this data.

House Democrats voted against the repeal. The data privacy issue is split along political party lines. Republicans traditionally have been for little regulation and on the side of service providers, such as Verizon and AT&T. Democrats have been more in favor of consumer rights, in this matter.

Digital rights groups and privacy advocates are in an uproar. One group, Fight for the Future, is raising funds in an online campaign to erect billboards with the names of every member of Congress that voted in favor of the rollback.

“Congress should know by now that, when you come for the internet, the internet comes for you,” said Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, in a press release.

“These billboards are just the beginning. People from across the political spectrum are outraged, and every lawmaker who votes to take away our privacy will regret it come election day.”

According to Greer and his group, without the consumer protections, internet service providers and telecoms can:

  1. “Monitor and sell customer’s location data, search history, app usage, and browsing habits to advertisers without permission.
  2. Hijack customer’s search results, redirecting their traffic to paying third-parties.
  3. Insert ads into webpages that would otherwise not have them.”

Even the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is divided on the issue. Trump-appointed FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a released statement, “Last year, the Federal Communications Commission pushed through, on a party-line vote, privacy regulations designed to benefit one group of favored companies over another group of disfavored companies. Appropriately, Congress has passed a resolution to reject this approach of picking winners and losers before it takes effect.”

“It is worth remembering that the FCC’s own overreach created the problem we are facing today.”

Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, the first African American women to serve as an FCC Commissioner, was appointed to the position by President Obama in 2009. She is opposed to the repeal and tweeted: