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Recently I met with the director of youth activities at a local community center in Seattle. We were sitting together in the center's new computer facility, home to twelve work-stations, discussing ideas for a future program to teach computing skills to high-risk girls. I had been working at the center for one afternoon a week since the beginning of the summer, holding basketball clinics for the girls.
A few weeks ago I had the honor of attending the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit in Redmond, Washington. Microsoft's Faculty Summit is an important annual gathering, and normally Bill Gates opens the event. This year, however, Microsoft decided that a plenary panel should kick things off.
One of the most effective "tools" of the science advocacy community, in making the case for federal support of science, is…well, scientists. Occasions in which researchers are able to sit down with Members of Congress and discuss their own work do more to advance the cause of science than five meetings with staff like me.
My family just finished a great vacation in Iceland. I can describe this wonderful country in a nutshell: it's truly unspoiled, has considerably more sheep than people, and possesses all types of terrain. But I'm not really intending to write about Iceland; instead, I want to tell you how this trip impressed upon me the power of information technology in our lives.
It was wonderful to have Fred Gluck as our NCWIT blog author last week. Fred is a long-time advocate for technology and diverse thought, working tirelessly in K-12 education in Boulder schools. In an odd twist of fate, just as Fred was writing to us at NCWIT about the issues he raised in his blog piece, I found the old photo above in one of my desk drawers.
I've been volunteering in the Boulder Valley School District for the past 15 years, working with students in the areas of math, science, and computers at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.
What do technical innovation and diversity have to do with one another? Very little, apparently, if you follow the press coverage of our nation's current competitiveness debate. Innovation legislation drafted in the U.S. Congress seems to consider the issue of diversity and innovation a relative non-issue.
But if you listen to the country's leading information technologists, you'll hear something remarkably different, pragmatic, and refreshing.