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New York City wants to be the Next American Tech Powerhouse by tripling its Investment in Programs for Computer Science Students

According to Scientific American, African American women make up 3 percent of the computing workforce, female Hispanics are 1 percent, and Asian women are 5 percent

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Tech Powerhouse
NYC New York State Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul speaks during a ceremonial ground breaking at Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island in New York, June 16, 2015. Among the school's stated goals - help close the existing gender gap in the technology field. VOA
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New York City wants to be the next American tech powerhouse, and to get there it is tripling its investment in programs for computer science students.

In the middle of the East River, on Roosevelt Island, one of the keys to the city’s tech future is being built: Cornell Tech. When it’s complete, it will house 2,000 graduate students and hundreds of faculty and staff as well as an ecosystem of companies, researchers and entrepreneurs.

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Cornell Tech has also partnered with the City University of New York (CUNY) and other tech leaders to launch Women in Technology and Entrepreneurship in New York (WiTNY) to prepare young women for careers in technology and help fill the gender gap in America’s tech fields.

Why not women?

Thirty-five years ago, a third of computer science degrees went to women, according to Accenture, a leader in technology services. Now that number is 20 percent.

Brittany Greve, a first year STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) student at Hunter College in New York City, says “the expectation of young women when they are growing up isn’t necessarily to do anything in STEM, no one pushes them in that direction.”

Greve is one of a handful of women at Hunter in a curriculum that is male-dominated. She says that’s changing slowly.

“We know that this isn’t going to happen in a year or two years,” she said, “it will probably take a decade to make the change. We have to keep pushing back when people say that women aren’t supposed to be in STEM.”

 Two women are seen seated ahead of a technology panel in New York, Oct, 29, 2015. According to Accenture, a leader in technology services, today, only 20 percent of computer science degrees go to women. VOA
Two women are seen seated ahead of a technology panel in New York, Oct, 29, 2015. According to Accenture, a leader in technology services, today, only 20 percent of computer science degrees go to women. VOA

Accenture supports women in tech in New York and across the United States by making 40 percent of its new hires women. Lynn McMahon, Accenture’s managing director for the New York metro area, talked about her company’s approach to getting more women interested in technology.

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“One of the things our company is trying to understand is what works at the college level, pre-college level, high school, and even as far back as junior high,” she said. “We want to help women and girls envision that this is the place they want to be.”

Other industry partners, such as Kickstarter, Viacom, Genome, LearnVest, Bloomberg and Google, are committed to expanded training and job opportunities for both women and men.

Plentiful jobs

The U.S. Department of Labor estimates there will be 1.1 million computing-related job openings in the U.S. by 2024. The National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) believes only about 40 percent of these jobs will be filled by people with degrees from U.S. colleges and universities.

In 2016 the federal government allowed U.S. companies to sponsor 65,000 foreigners with at least a bachelor’s degree from any university, and 20,000 more visas went to individuals with advanced degrees from U.S. institutions.

NCWIT and other organizations want to help more Americans compete for these jobs, especially women.

Terry Morreale, NCWIT associate director says educators need to do their part.

“Computer science is not offered in all high schools,” Morreale said. “In fact computer science is not even considered a part of a core curriculum in many high schools. And, there are definitely schools that have no computer science classes at all.”

Students are seen completing an exercise at a Girls Who Code class in San Jose, California, June 18, 2014. Girls Who Code, a national non-profit, aims to prepare young women for futures in computing-related fields. VOA
Students are seen completing an exercise at a Girls Who Code class in San Jose, California, June 18, 2014. Girls Who Code, a national non-profit, aims to prepare young women for futures in computing-related fields. VOA

She believes that the federal government could help solve this educational problem.

“At the very least,” she said, “everyone should have a fundamental understanding of computing.”

Incentives

In the meantime, the organization ‘Girls Who Code’ is stepping in.

Noting that at age 13 to 17, girls lose interest in computing, Girls Who Code began offering a year-long program to teenage girls. It runs after-school clubs, monthly workshops, and special presentations by industry role models.

NCWIT also has middle school programs for girls, including after-school programs, summer camps, clubs, and weekend conferences. One program, “Aspiration in Computing,” is involved in talent development, leadership opportunities, scholarships and internships for technically inclined young women. Many corporations also participate nationally in providing internships for young women.

Over time, these programs hope to raise the number of female freshmen or university undergraduates who enroll in computing programs above the current national figure of 4 percent. In New York State, it’s worse: Dr. Carlos Medina, vice chancellor of diversity at the State University of New York (SUNY), says “only 1 percent of women at the nation’s largest public university is prepared or wants to get involved in computers.”

Visibility matters

Even with the incentives of good pay and interesting work, women, especially women of color, are essentially absent from technology innovation.

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According to Scientific American, African American women make up 3 percent of the computing workforce, female Hispanics are 1 percent, and Asian women are 5 percent.

According to Google’s Computer Science research, minority women won’t embrace the field until they see more people like themselves, making them feel more welcome and less anxious. And, most important, all groups need to understand that opportunities await them. (VOA)

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FIFA World Cup 2018: Indian Cuisine becomes the most sought after in Moscow

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Indian cuisine in FIFA World cup
Indian dishes available in Moscow during FIFA World Cup 2018, representational image, wikimedia commons

June 17, 2018:

Restaurateurs Prodyut and Sumana Mukherjee have not only brought Indian cuisine to the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018 here but also plan to dish out free dinner to countrymen if Argentina wins the trophy on July 15.

Based in Moscow for the last 27 years, Prodyut and Sumana run two Indian eateries, “Talk Of The Town” and “Fusion Plaza”.

You may like to read more on Indian cuisine: Indian ‘masala’, among other condiments spicing up global food palate.

Both restaurants serve popular Indian dishes like butter chicken, kebabs and a varied vegetarian spread.

During the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018, there will be 25 per cent discount for those who will possess a Fan ID (required to watch World Cup games).

There will also be gifts and contests on offers during matches in both the restaurants to celebrate the event.

The Mukherjees, hailing from Kolkata, are die-hard fans of Argentina. Despite Albiceleste drawing 1-1 with Iceland in their group opener with Lionel Messi failing to sparkle, they believe Jorge Sampaoli’s team can go the distance.

“I am an Argentina fan. I have booked tickets for a quarterfinal match, a semifinal and of course the final. If Argentina goes on to lift

During the World Cup, there will be 25 per cent discount for those who will possess a Fan ID (required to watch World Cup games).

There will also be gifts and contests on offers during matches in both the restaurants to celebrate the event.

FIFA World Cup 2018 Russia
FIFA World Cup 2018, Wikimedia Commons.

“We have been waiting for this World Cup. Indians come in large numbers during the World Cup and we wanted these eateries to be a melting point,” he added.

According to Cutting Edge Events, FIFA’s official sales agency in India for the 2018 World Cup, India is amongst the top 10 countries in terms of number of match tickets bought.

Read more about Indian cuisine abroad: Hindoostane Coffee House: London’s First Indian Restaurant.

Prodyut came to Moscow to study engineering and later started working for a pharmaceutical company here before trying his hand in business. Besides running the two restaurants with the help of his wife, he was into the distribution of pharmaceutical products.

“After Russia won the first match of the World Cup, the footfall has gone up considerably. The Indians are also flooding in after the 6-9 p.m. game. That is the time both my restaurants remain full,” Prodyut said.

There are also plans to rope in registered fan clubs of Latin American countries, who will throng the restaurants during matches and then follow it up with after-game parties till the wee hours.

“I did get in touch with some of the fan clubs I had prior idea about. They agreed to come over and celebrate the games at our joints. Those will be gala nights when both eateries will remain open all night for them to enjoy,” Prodyut said.

Watching the World Cup is a dream come true for the couple, Sumana said.

“We want to make the Indians who have come here to witness the spectacle and feel at home too. We always extend a helping hand and since we are from West Bengal, we make special dishes for those who come from Bengal,” she added. (IANS)