Urban Assembly High School :: Can-Pop Assembly

Urban Assembly High School

The Urban Assembly High School
By Calvin Byer, Assistant Director of Technology Training and Development


I jumped at the chance when Katherine Egan, Executive Director of the Strategic Program Office at Fordham IT, sent the call out for volunteers from VP_IT to participate in the Urban Assembly Gateway School for Technology’s annual Career Day. The event, which took place on June 9, was a tremendous opportunity to reach students who are actively starting down an IT career path. During the day, students met over 30 IT professional from Fortune 500 companies and universities from the city. I know I would have loved to have this kind of interaction when I was their age.

The organizers of the event paired me with Allanah Thomas from Helicon, a mathematics education non-profit focused on minority women, and together we led a dialogue with students on “Design for Understanding.” In a classroom of 25 sophomores, we discussed how the interfaces of video games, websites and mobile apps are designed and quality tested to provide an intuitive user experience.

The afternoon wrapped up with 10 juniors giving quick presentations to the IT professionals about their respective internships from the year. These impressive students are the aspiring graphic designers, IT technicians and software developers of the near future. To that end, many of them have received or are close to receiving their certifications in Photoshop, Illustrator, A+ and PC Pro.

Beyond that, it was inspiring to hear about the soft skills these students already know. They’re still in high school but are well-versed in the dynamics of an office environment. They’ve learned to see things from other perspectives, and this has deepened their experiences of collaborating with a diverse team.

Thank you to Katherine Egan for passing along this volunteering opportunity. Not only was it a chance to reach young IT professionals-to-be, I did some valuable networking with people across many industries.

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