CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–March 28, 2016. Roosevelt University Associate Professor of Computer Science Ray Wright received a community service award in March for supporting an innovative information technology program that regularly brings Chicago youths to Roosevelt for instruction.
(He is pictured above, left, receiving the award from the Chicago Chapter of the Black Data Processing Associates President Reggie Rush).
The Chicago Chapter of the Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA) program held on Saturday mornings at Roosevelt’s Gage Building computer laboratory has been training Chicago students how to navigate computer technology for the last two years.
“It’s a great program that fits Roosevelt’s mission of social justice and it has been quite amazing to see the progress these kids are making with sophisticated computer technology,” said Wright, who accepted the award on March 19 at the BDPA’s Chicago Chapter Annual Awards Gala.
Now providing training to approximately 16 youths weekly at Gage, the program got its start at Roosevelt in 2015 when Roosevelt University alumna Audra Anderson reached out to her alma mater for help in finding computer space for the BDPA youth program.
“I knew Roosevelt had a great central location and I wanted to give these kids a glimpse at what Roosevelt had to offer,” said Anderson, who received a bachelor’s degree in telecommunications from Roosevelt in 2000.
Attracted by BDPA’s mission of encouraging disadvantaged students to pursue information technology as a career, Anderson directed BDPA’s student services department and led the BDPA youth program at Roosevelt during 2015.
“I don’t think there’s been interest among minorities in information technology, but I firmly believe that we have to take information technology to the people,” said Anderson, who since has become a leader in BDPA’s youth programs at the national level.
Since last year, Wright has been making Anderson’s vision a reality by working on Saturdays with youths and their parents who are in the BDPA program.
“I predict that all of these kids – if they stick with it – will have jobs in the field. They’re learning technology, they’re learning the latest programs and skills and they’re learning many of the things that our own college students learn,” said Wright, who currently is assisting in preparing program participants for the upcoming BDPA national competition for scholarships that will be held this summer.
BDPA Chicago Chapter President Reggie Rush said he has high hopes that many of the program’s participants will win scholarships at the competition.
“This program is changing the lives of kids who frequently haven’t been out of their own neighborhoods,” said Rush. “We have high hopes for the future,” he said, “and we know that we couldn’t be successful and that our kids couldn’t excel without the assistance of Roosevelt University and Professor Ray Wright.”