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Oracle Academy and Oracle ABLE Volunteers Help Advance Diversity in Computing at Tech Sassy Girlz Conference

Denise Hobbs
Regional Director, North America

Oracle Academy, in collaboration with Collegiate Pathways, hosted hands-on learning workshops for high school girls in Florida by supporting the Tech Sassy Girlz conference in October 2019. This annual event, held in Central Florida, helps to bridge the learning gap for minority female high school students by providing relevant, thought-provoking, programming workshops to encourage life-long learning and future career endeavors in computer science and related technology fields.

This is the sixth year Oracle Academy has sponsored the Tech Sassy Girlz conference, and this year’s event was recognized by the City of Orlando – Mayor Buddy Dyer declared October 11 “Tech Sassy Girlz Day.”

The event has continued to gain popularity, this year reaching registration capacity of 400 with a waiting list of 100 prior to the day of the conference. Dr. Laine Powell, executive director of the organization, said, “The growth we are experiencing couldn't be without your support…thank you!”

This year, with the help of Oracle ABLE volunteers, Raina Yancey, principal technical support engineer at Oracle, presented a hands-on workshop that guided students through various programming formats designed to engage the Finch robot through programmed commands. “ABLE volunteers taught the Tech Sassy Girlz how to program Finch robots with Greenfoot. The girls LOVED that they could use Greenfoot not only to create their own video games, but also to control a robot! It was a treat to see the smiles on their faces. Oracle Academy is helping us to inspire students in our community with enriching STEM curriculum that is completely free!” said Yancey.

The Oracle ABLE team of volunteers continues to partner with Oracle Academy to support underrepresented students in learning and understanding current technologies before they graduate from high school. "Having opportunities for girls/women in particular to get into technology is a passion of mine,” said Leona Davis, Oracle principal technical support engineer. “I focused in on some of the peer to peer conversations during the day. Of the statements I heard, my favorite was from a Liberty MS student who said, ‘I never knew there were so many girls like me who liked this stuff!’ ”

“Bringing Oracle Academy to young students to spark their curiosity makes my heart happy. After we finished the Greenfoot workshop for Tech Sassy Girlz, I heard the students commenting that they were going straight home to make a video game to play. That made my day! I feel we are making an impact on our community thanks to Oracle,” said Gabriella Nolivos, Oracle technical analyst.

Oracle ABLE volunteers in Orlando proudly shared Oracle Academy workshop experiences with other ABLE communities at Oracle. Twitter posts from the event can be found on the @OVolunteers, @ABLEVolunteers, and @OracleAcademy accounts.

Thank you to our dedicated Oracle ABLE volunteers: Raina Yancey, Funmi Ojo-Osagie, Leona Davis, Gabriella Nolivos, Edwin Wiggins, Marissa Mari Richards, Valerie Milligan, Ken Falana, Anita Bardeen, Ayana Beckford, Zyad Bawatneh, Regina Armaly, and Jasmine Walkerv, plus Dr. Laine Powell, Executive Director, Tech Sassy Girlz.

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