Students celebrate STEM-focused opportunities

Five students from the VisionVoice program with Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Instruction Lori McKenna standing on the stairs outside Academy Park.

VisionVoice, Inc. developed a Software Engineering Discovery Program in May 2020. For the past six months, the City School District of Albany has provided nine exceptional female AfroX students the opportunity to participate in this unique STEM-focused program.

The students were rewarded for their participation and efforts in the program last Friday. They visited Academy Park to receive MacBook Pros (courtesy of VisionVoice, Inc. partners Disney Streaming Services and Hubspot), sweatshirts and T-shirts (courtesy of VisionVoice, Inc. partner Flowcode) ahead of the program’s culminating event, the 2021 Access2Tech Virtual Conference in August!

VisionVoice, Inc. is an NYU Entrepreneurial Institute educational startup founded by Dessa Shepherd, a graduate of the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development. VisionVoice, Inc. is committed to building an equitable tech community and culture that is inclusive of female students and entry-level software engineers of color.

One of three mentorship programs, the Discovery Program is designed for female eighth-grade students of color. It provided the young women with math and logic courses, coding workshops, professional skills-building sessions and software engineer mentors from organizations such as Hubspot, Snap, Inc. and DealPath.

Students who took part in the 2020-21 Discovery Program cohort were:

  • Angelique Andrews (Stephen and Harriet Myers Middle School)
  • Georgina Asante (Stephen and Harriet Myers Middle School)
  • Arnicia Bibalou Bouittys (William S. Hackett Middle School)
  • Maniyah Cade (William S. Hackett Middle School)
  • Allisa Moncrieffe (Edmund J. O’Neal Middle School of Excellence)
  • Esther Patterson (William S. Hackett Middle School)
  • Charmaine Thomas (William S. Hackett Middle School)
  • Gavionna Thomas (Stephen and Harriet Myers Middle School)
  • Lajay York (William S. Hackett Middle School)

Congratulations to all of these exceptional young ladies, who are headed to Albany High School this fall with their very own MacBooks!

Timitra Rose, former O’Neal assistant principal and the current assistant principal at New Scotland Elementary School, served as the program coordinator for the district during the 2020-21 school year. Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Instruction Lori McKenna also provided support and presented the students with their gifts Friday at Academy Park.

Superintendent Kaweeda G. Adams has prioritized expanded STEM programs and opportunities for district students throughout her four-year tenure.

“VisionVoice, Inc. has been an outstanding partner in working with our middle school young ladies,” Adams said. “The hands-on experiences in the areas of math, computer science logic and coding have enhanced their ability to see the world through a different lens of possibilities and connection with what our students are learning in school and in the world of work.”