I had the opportunity to judge at the Midwest Big Data Hackathon hosted by the University of Iowa this past weekend. The event was open to all students and it was awesome seeing people that had experience in different fields, students and volunteers alike. I saw students from a couple years from graduating with the Bachelors degree to students that were just shy of getting their PhD.
A couple weeks back, Michael and I volunteered for an event at the Coralville Library organized by Erica Binegar and called "On Your Mark! Get Set! Code!". It was a one hour class in which kids of 5th/6th graders of any ability level or previous experience were invited to the library to pair program for 1 hour under the guidance of a group of professional mentors (Including us there was Trish Ball from Continuity).
Over the past few weeks, I have had the opportunity to see several different events that have displayed a lot of passion and enthusiasm in bringing innovative and unique ideas to reality.
This year, the week of December 7th to 13th has been declared Computer Science Education Week. This is an annual program organized through a grassroots effort by code.org and volunteers / partners. This program has been run since 2009, but this is the first year that Bio::Neos has been involved in the effort... and it was awesome!
Today I was given the opportunity to speak to a roomful of about a hundred 8th through 12th graders that were interested in learning more about IT career possibilities, and get some hands-on experience with a real-world implementation of various technologies in a lab setting at the Kirkwood High Tech Guys Day. It was a great event! Thanks for the opportunity to share my experience and why I think there is a technology-related career for anyone that is interested in pursuing that route.
We at Bio::Neos believe that giving back to the community is of important which is why, I committed to be the lead instructor for the Dev/Iowa Summer Series this year. For the past 9 weeks I have been exposing our group of students to web development tools, frameworks, and best practices.
This past weekend, Bio::Neos was called out in the UI College of Liberal arts commencement speech by UI President Sally Mason. Thanks for the mention! We were pleasantly surprised to hear that our name had come up, and grateful for all of the support from the UI, JPEC, and everyone we have worked with in Iowa and Iowa City for the past eleven years.
Start watching at 6 minutes!
For the last three years I have been given the chance to return to my Alma Mater, the University of Iowa College of Engineering, as a guest judge for the Huber E. Storer Start-up Award. As a judge, I have gotten to see a lot of great pitches by some motivated and passionate engineers who will surely have a place in shaping our future world.