Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas welcomed more than 50 students from Lennox Middle School to the Los Angeles County Public Library and Microsoft DigiCamp, and encouraged them to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
“STEM is an approach to the world – a critical way to understand, explore, and engage with the world – so that you have the tools and capacity to change that world,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said as he kicked-off the daylong event at the Lennox Library. “STEM prepares our youth for the jobs of the future, many of which will require tech skills as automation, digital platforms, machine learning and other innovations change the fundamental nature of work.“
As part of the $3.3-million Microsoft Digital Alliance grant, Microsoft provided free software to all of the County’s 87 libraries, in addition to hosting DigiCamps at Lennox Library and Compton Library . At DigiCamps, students can build a robotic finger and program it to move. They also learned about coding, and designed a game to track a dolphin.
“We strive to be a local resource for our communities and particularly for our kids,” said LA County Public Library Director Skye Patrick, who also provided welcoming remarks at the DigiCamp. “We are committed to building strong relationships with schools to encourage them to utilize library services.”
Supervisor Ridley-Thomas has previously reached out to young boys and girls of color to bridge the digital divide, encouraging them to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math. In October 2015, he hosted the County’s first hack day at Lennox Library, with technology giants Microsoft, IDEO, CGI and NeoGov leading workshops for about 100 youth ages 16-25 on such topics as turning an idea into a product, developing software applications, and launching a career in Information Technology. Students were able to create their own apps and share their innovations with one another.
In March 2016, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas spoke at a DigiGirlz Day event, co-sponsored with Girls Build LA, that urged middle and high school girls to identify a problem in their communities and engineer a plan to solve it. Students from Grace Hopper STEM Academy in Inglewood and Orville Wright Middle School STEAM Magnet in Westchester were among those who participated.
In October 2016, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas welcomed more than 100 middle and high schoolers from across Los Angeles County to the Microsoft YouthSpark DigiCamp Extravaganza, to encourage them to consider careers in technology during a two-day bootcamp, held in Microsoft Square at L.A. Live, as part of a series of programs to benefit the community.
“Keep exploring. Keep dreaming. Keep asking why,” concluded the Supervisor. “The power of your ideas, your imagination, your hard work will all change the world.”