Why Do We Celebrate Cinco De Mayo?

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*This post was written by our Admissions Officer, Nancy Ceron. Thank you Nancy!*

Although there is a great amount of information regarding Cinco de Mayo online, there are still many groups in America who mistakenly believe it’s a day celebrating Mexico’s Independence. Cinco de Mayo is observed to commemorate the Mexican Army’s unlikely victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla, on May 5th, 1862; under the command of General Ignacio Zaragoza.

During the presidency of Benito Juarez (from 1861-1872); he declared May 5th to be a national holiday in Mexico calling it “Battle of Puebla Day”. Today it is known as the ‘Battle of Cinco de Mayo” or “Batalla de Puebla” in the Hispanic culture. Puebla is the main location where historic reenactments, parades and meals take place to commemorate the battle.

In the Mexico many states and cities participate in the celebration supporting an important event in Mexican history. Many people hang up banners and school districts organize lessons and special events to educate their pupils about traditional Mexican culture. In some areas, particularly in Pueblo de Los Angeles, celebrations of regional Mexican music and dancing are held. In our beautiful city of San Diego, San Diegans have become participants of the holiday as well. Whether it’s going to Old Town and engaging in their Annual Fiesta event, having Margaritas at a bar and grill, or enjoying the great atmosphere Barrio Logan has to offer at the Chicano Park; Cinco de Mayo doesn’t just represent the “Battle of Puebla” it also represents unity, diversity, and acceptance of the different cultures brought to the United States throughout our long history.

Let this Cinco de Mayo be a day where we commemorate the Mexican Army and its victory by learning about the Hispanic culture, enjoying the outdoor activities and most of all by showing respect to our Hispanic community. For more information on the events planned for May 5th visit the Old Town website or go to the SanDiego.Org website for full list of events planned across the county.

 

Happy Cinco de Mayo, Puebla!

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Coleman Sponsors the National Diversity Council for Women’s History Month

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Many of our community members know the name Coleman Furr, and they know that he is the namesake of our institution. However, what you may not know is that our university was co-founded by a woman. Louis Furr was a visionary in the same way that her husband was, and she too saw a future for technology that included everyone with a passion to learn. In her memory, and the memory of all the women that we have taught since 1963, Coleman has been an avid proponent of diversity in the STEM fields. We continue to look for ways to engage the community around this important topic, especially in regards to encouraging more women to establish a career in technology. During Women’s History month, we sponsored and hosted the California Diversity Council for their Women in Leadership: Women Blazing Trails symposium which took place on March 14th. Female leaders from all over Southern California were on our campus discussing their personal experience with adversity and challenges in their careers.

The panel of speakers included Stacie Herring, Vice President of Consumer Services Experience at Intuit, Angelica Espinoza, Vice President of Compliance and Governance and Corporate Secretary at Sempra Energy, Sadie Stern, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at 3D Systems, Judy Wright. Vice President of Human Resources for Valley View Casino & Hotel, Denise Brucker, Vice President of Compliance, Labor & Employment for Cubic Corporation, and Dr. Ilkay Altintas, the Chief Data Officer for the San Diego Supercomputer Center at UC San Diego. Leading the panel as moderator was Dr. Merrilyn Datta, the Head of Business Operations at Illumina, who engaged the audience with her own stories of her experiences and engaging attendees in a powerful discussion. Some of the main points of discussion that came to light were the importance of speaking your mind, being unafraid to ask for more resources, and taking risks in expanding your horizons.

From culturally conscious leadership, to swimming with sharks and building a value for your personal brand, the panelists covered important topics and invited attendees to ask questions. Many members of the audience had the opportunity to establish important networking connections, and learn more about resources available to them in San Diego. The National Diversity Council will be hosting many more events like this one here in California, if you are interested in attending please visit the events page on their website.

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Women’s History Month: Developing the Foundations for Modern Technology

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Last month we talked about the African American women who changed the face of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, despite adversity and oppression. Since March 1st marks the start of Women’s History Month, we are going to continue our acknowledgement of the women behind the modern technological age. We discussed the pioneers Ada Lovelace and Grace Hopper in a previous blog post (which you can read here) but there is a long list of women who have come after them who have created their own legacy in STEM. If there is someone missing from this list, feel free to add them in the comments!

Susan Kare
When you think of Apple, most likely you’ll picture Steve Jobs or Steve Wozniak. Or maybe the first image that comes to mind will be the computer itself, a large and heavy object with a screen the size of a notepad. However, one of the names that you might not recognize is Susan Kare. Behind the scenes, she was in charge of developing the typography and iconic graphics for the launch of the original Apple Macintosh computer. Many of the interface elements that have become common in their products were designed by Kare, like the command symbol on their keyboard. Remember the “Happy Mac” that greeted you when you booted up your system? That was Susan Kare’s design!

Hedy Lamarr
You might not know Hedy Lamarr’s acting career, but you have definitely used her invention in your daily life now. She conceptualized the first ideas for frequency hopping (sending radio signals from different frequency channels). The basis for the idea was to help the Navy launch torpedos through remote control, and block communications from being interfered with. Despite the fact that this technology would have been way ahead of its time, the Navy was not interested and passed on the invention. However, Lamarr’s design would find its use in the 1950’s when the concept was used for secure military communications. This new use paved the way for Hedy Lamarr’s concept to become the foundation for modern Bluetooth and Wifi technology.

Roberta Williams
When videogames became popular in the 1980’s, the at-home console was a huge seller and brands like Atari took the market by storm. However there was a revolution coming and Roberta Williams was one of its leaders. It was her creation “King’s Quest” that would create the market for PC gaming. Her company Sierra On-Line would help to shape the future of video games with their more complex puzzle designs and storylines. Games that take the main character on a quest before they can compete against a final “boss” are inspired by her original design.

Radia Perlman
A member of the Internet Hall of Fame, Radia Perlman designed the spanning tree algorithm that transformed Ethernet from single-wire CSMA/CD into a protocol that can handle large information clouds. She also designed Transparent Interconnection of Lots of Links (TRILL), which allows Ethernet to make optimal use of bandwidth. Perlman holds over 100 patents and has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Unisex and the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Data Communication. She holds BS and MS degrees in Mathematics from MIT, and completed her PhD in Computer Science through MIT as well.

Kimberly Bryant (Black Girls Code)
After earning her degree in Electrical Engineering from Vanderbilt University, and a successful career in the bay area near San Francisco, Bryant decided to dedicate her life to helping more African American women achieve their dreams in STEM. She founded Black Girls Code in 2011 to bring classes and workshops to her community that focused on helping underrepresented girls learn computer programming, coding, website development, and robotics. Her foundation now had chapters in seven states, and across the globe in Johannesburg, South Africa, and even offers programs in Spanish! To learn more about her organization and all of their community work visit: www.blackgirlscode.com

Sister Mary Kenneth Keller
Though she was a devout nun her whole life, Sister Mary Kenneth Keller was the first woman in the United States to earn a PhD in Computer Science. She entered into the convent in 1932, and earned her BS in Mathematics and her MS in Physics from DePaul University. However, it was during her time studying at Dartmouth College in the 1960s that she developed the BASIC computer language which made it possible for anyone to write custom code. Suddenly developers didn’t need to have a mathematics or science degree to be able to code their own programs. Keller’s dissertation, written in CDC FORTRAN 63, was titled “Inductive Inference on Computer Generated Patterns.” In 1965, she became the first American woman to earn a PhD in Computer Science. She envisioned a future of computers that would help teach and stimulate cognitive development for all.

Carol Shaw
Considered the first female professional video game designer, Carol Shaw worked for the Atari company programming games for the VCS console before leaving to work for Activision. The now famous River Raid game for the Atari 2600 was her design and is considered to be one of the best examples of game design in history. However, even though she was an equal member of the team, she still faced discrimination, even from the President of Atari. During a walk through, he remarked “Oh, at last! We have a female game designer. She can do cosmetics color matching and interior decorating cartridges!” You can read more about her life in game development on the Vintage Computing Website.

Adele Goldberg
A prominent software developer, Adele Goldberg is one of the designers of the SmallTalk-80 programming language. While working at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) she would become the manager of the System Concepts Laboratory where her team would finish the SmallTalk-80 program. She served as president of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) from 1984 to 1986, and, together with Alan Kay and Dan Ingalls, received the ACM Software Systems Award in 1987. Many of the concepts she and her team developed at PARC became the basis for graphically based user interfaces, replacing the earlier command line based systems.

There are thousands more women who have made great strides in technology development who also deserve recognition on this list. This month, take the opportunity to learn more about the extraordinary women who have made history in STEM. You can tell us about them here in the comments!

 

 

The first degree conferred by Coleman University (then the Automation Institute) was to a woman, for Data Processing in 1964. It has been our mission since we were first established to ensure that all of our students have equal access to education, and resources to pursue their passion to turn their ‘Dreams Into Reality’. What could you do with a degree in Software Development, Cybersecurity, or Game Development from Coleman University?

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Women Who Coded in War Time: the Forgotten Veterans

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War is not just the physical action that takes place on the battlefield. During the First World War technology development became the best form of defense against enemy attack. In fact, war time intelligence gathering and monitoring was a field largely dominated by women, and it was their dedication to code breaking that helped win the war for the Allies in World War Two. However, many of these women have gone unrecognized by history. As part of our dedication to diversity, Coleman University wants to bring more attention to these veterans who helped end World War 2, and foster a larger dialogue about the women who have become invaluable pioneers in technology.

It is estimated that there are over 10,000 women who contributed to war time code breaking; but most of them have never been recognized for their achievements. It was a woman who was the first the learn that World War Two was over after she decoded a message sent from Japan to neutral Switzerland offering an unconditional surrender. It was also a woman who helped Alan Turing build his computing engine in Bletchley Park, Great Britain, that helped to decipher the codes being sent by the Nazis. So why were these incredible women left out of the conversation about war time efforts?

In the same way that women took over in factories and in mills to help the war effort, those who enlisted ended up taking over the jobs that men would have held in other times. Though the CIA was still in its infancy, they were in a rush to hire as many workers as possible to get ahead of the growing stack of coded intelligence that needed to be deciphered. Ironically men were hesitant to join the code breakers because it was considered menial work, and honor and prestige was believed to be earned on the battlefield. The women who would help break codes and save millions of lives left their homes under the pretense of being hired to do secretarial work for the government, and were sworn to severe secrecy at the potential cost of the safety of the country. It was this dedication to secrecy that led many of the women to avoid speaking about their experiences to anyone, including their own families. Their jobs consisted of sifting through thousands of messages, often taking weeks to decode even one.

It was these women who would be the first to learn that their loved ones were the target of an attack, or that their hometowns had been bombed, but often they were helpless to stop it. They willingly took on the burden of having to know top secret information that directly affected the war, yet they had to be as secretive about their work as the messages they were decoding. However they did get some of their own action in the war, by creating phony messages for the Germans to intercept that would affect the attack on Normandy known as D-Day. The contributions of these code breakers is almost immeasurable considering how much their work would further the development of the code breaking computers and machines that would come after the war was over. Only an extremely small number of women who were code breakers during the war stayed on to continue their careers. Many moved back to civilian life and never spoke of their involvement in the war again. As we celebrate the veterans who have fought for our nation in and out of wartime, we must also stop and think about the women who were not on the front lines but who still dedicated their lives to helping the war effort. These forgotten veterans are part of the deep history of women who have contributed to the STEM fields and whose legacy must be celebrated and must continue to be celebrated for future generations.

 

 

Coleman University values providing an equal opportunity for all who are interested to establish a career in technology. What could you do with a degree in cybersecurity, software development, or game development? Call us today at (858) 499-0202 to find out!

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African American Women in Technology: Persevering Through Adversity

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In an age when we are launching new rocket designs into space, and sending information instantly over wireless channels, there is still a gender gap in the #STEM fields. The first computer programmer in the world was a woman named Ada Lovelace, and modern binary code was developed by a Navy engineer named Grace Hopper. Yet, there is still a whole community, spanning generations, of African American women who have moved us forward in STEM development and have received little recognition for their contributions. In this blog post we are going to celebrate the African American women who have used their intelligence and ingenuity to pursue their passion for science, technology, engineering, and math, despite adversity.

Katherine Johnson:
As recently portrayed in the movie Hidden Figures, Katherine Johnson was a genius mathematician whose calculations helped to get the first astronauts to the moon. When John Glenn learned that the calculations for his orbital flight in 1962 were being done by a computer, he refused to go into space until Katherine herself confirmed that they were correct. After 33 years working for NASA, Katherine retired in 1986, and 20 years later she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.
Henrietta Lacks:
Though she was not a scientist or doctor, Henrietta Lacks is still one of the most influential people in medicine to this day. On January 29, 1951, Lacks went to Johns Hopkins Hospital to diagnose abnormal pain and bleeding in her abdomen. Physician Howard Jones quickly diagnosed her with cervical cancer. During her subsequent radiation treatments, doctors removed two cervical samples from Lacks without her knowledge. She died at Johns Hopkins on October 4, 1951, at the age of 31. Ms. Lacks’ blood cells were able to multiply at rates that had never been seen before, or since and her blood cells were kept without her knowledge for research and are still being used in labs across the country today. The line of cells that there made from her sample were named the HeLa line, ironically to honor Henrietta. Jonas Salk used the HeLa strain to develop the polio vaccine, and since then her cells have contributed to over 10,000 patents. Unfortunately she never knew about her contribution to science and her family was never compensated by the labs that used her blood without permission for their research. For more information about her life and the importance of her contribution to science, read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.
Lilia Ann Abron:
The first African American woman to earn a PhD in Chemical Engineering in the United States at the University of Iowa, Lilia Ann Abron has made incredible achievements in her field since she began her career in 1972. Abron founded PEER Consultants in 1978, an environmental engineering consulting firm that provides solutions to the problems of contamination of the environment. In 1995, Abron founded Peer Africa with the mission of building energy-efficient homes in post-apartheid South Africa. Peer Africa’s Witsand iEEECO (Integrated Energy Environment Empowerment-cost Optimization) Sustainable Human Settlement won the American Academy of Engineers 2012 Superior Achievement Award. To learn more about Abron’s achievements and community projects visit: thehistorymakers.org.
Dr. Donna Auguste:
A businesswoman and entrepreneur who specialized in software development, Donna Auguste is the genius behind Freshwater Software. Her company, founded in 1996, was created to offer companies the ability to monitor and track their presence on the internet. After she sold the company in 2000 she went on to found the Leave a Little Room Foundation, LLC, a philanthropic organization that helps to provide housing, electricity, and vaccinations to poor communities around the world. Despite adversity from her male peers and instructors, Auguste received her bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science from UC Berkeley and went on to become the first African American woman in the PhD program at Carnegie Mellon University. For more information on Dr. Auguste visit her profile on the NCWIT website.
Dr. Alexa Canady:
Born in 1950, she was the first African American Woman in the United States to become a neurosurgeon. After almost dropping out of her undergraduate program, she gained the confidence to continue her work and went from being a zoology major to medicine. Though initially she was not taken seriously as a doctor, she quickly proved herself to her peers and was voted one of the top residents in her program. Dr. Canady was chief of neurosurgery at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan from 1987 until her retirement in June 2001. She also holds two honorary degrees, and received the Children’s Hospital of Michigan’s Teacher of the Year award in 1984, and was inducted into the Michigan Woman’s Hall of Fame in 1989.
Dr. Jeanette Epps:
Dr. Epps is an astronaut that was selected by NASA in 2009 after serving in the CIA for seven years. She has two doctorates, one for Philosophy (1994) and the other in Aerospace Engineering (2000) from the University of Maryland. The New York native was a NASA Fellow during graduate school and authored several journal and conference articles describing her research.
Evelyn Boyd Granville:
The second African American woman to receive a PhD in mathematics from an American university when she graduated from Yale in 1949, Dr. Granville was a pioneer in the field of computing. In 1952, Granville temporarily abandoned teaching to become a mathematician for the National Bureau of Standards in Washington, D.C., her work centering on the analyzation and application of mathematics toward the development of missile fuses. After joining IBM in 1956, she created computer software for NASA’s Project Vanguard and Project Mercury space programs. After leaving her position at NASA, she went back to teaching for 30 years until she retired in 1997.

There are thousands more women who could be added to this list, and we hope that this post inspires you to continue to learn more about the women who brought us into the modern technology age. Despite adversity, aggression, and subversion, these women refused to abandon their dreams of an education and a career in STEM. Their passion led to advancements in the field that are still making a difference today. Feel free to add to this list in the comments and tell us more about the women in the field who have inspired you!

 

The first degree conferred by Coleman University (when it was first named the Automation Institute) was to a young woman for Data Processing in 1964, and we have continued our mission for equality in STEM fields ever since. If you have been thinking about starting your career in Software Development, Cybersecurity, or Game Development we have classes that start every ten weeks, so you can pick when you want to start on your degree path! Give us a call at (858) 499-0202 to learn more about our degree programs and career services opportunities.

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