Category Archive Slides

Why CS Matters in Communities of Color

CS4All is excited to host the second annual Why CS Matters in Communities of Color event, which will be held on Saturday, January 25th at Teachers College, Columbia University.

This is CS4All’s second Equity Event of the year, designed to provide new and existing CS teachers with opportunities to network and build community with one another, participate in fun hands-on workshops, learn about “hidden” CS heroes, and receive great resources. Participants will join in soul-sustaining talks with industry professionals, focused on increasing representation of Black, Latinx, and women in CS.

Why CS Matters will feature special guests Justin Shaifer, Founder and Executive Director of Fascinate, Inc., Google’s Peta-Gay Clarke and Komal Singh, #BUILT BY GIRLS Executive Director Tiana Davis Kara, Afrotectopia’s Ari Melenciano, and a special performance by CodeScty.

Open To:

  • New-to-CS public school teachers who are interested in “getting their feet wet” with CS, learning more about how to be part of the larger Computer Science for All community, and those who teach populations with a high percentage of Black and Hispanic students.
  • Experienced CS public school teachers who are interested in building community with fellow CS teachers and hearing from industry experts. We encourage experienced teachers to bring an inexperienced CS teacher from their school and learn alongside them.
  • To help build relationships among educators, students, and families, NYC public school educators can bring up to 5 parents and students. Guests must be accompanied to the event by the educator

Event Details & Registration

Date: Saturday, January 25

Time: 9:00 am – 1:30 pm (Doors open at 8:45!)

Location: Teachers College, Columbia University, 3040 Broadway, New York, NY 10027

Keynote Speaker

Justin Shaifer, Founder & CEO of Fascinate, Inc.

Growing up in a single-parent home, Justin J. Shaifer had little awareness of the potential of a STEM career. His worldview drastically transformed after experiences at Hampton University. Justin graduated with a  bachelor’s degree in marine and environmental science with the highest departmental GPA  and was also president of  Hampton  University’s student body while receiving scholarships from NASA and NOAA that covered 100% of his tuition and room & board.

Now  24  years old,  he travels the country empowering young students to  “embrace their inner nerd” despite their surroundings. Justin is a Ph.D. student at  Columbia  University and the  Founder  &  Executive  Director of Fascinate  Inc. an organization created to excite underrepresented students about  STEM.  He performs teacher training and develops culturally responsive  STEM  curriculum for institutions in New  York  City.  He is known for his work on the  Magic  Cool  Bus  Project. Past partners of his organization include Google, Microsoft, MIT Media Lab, and Children’s Aid.

His  STEM-centric content has received over  2.5M  views on all platforms,  and he has performed over 50 speaking engagements, reaching over 20,000 students in the past 2 years. His programs have served over 500 students in the New York City area.

Special Guests

Ari Melenciano, Founder of Afrotectopia

Ari Melenciano is a Brooklyn-based artist, creative technologist, researcher, and futurist, who is passionate about exploring the relationships between various forms of design and the human experience. Her research lies at the intersections of human-computer interactive technologies, social impacts of technology, culture, sound/audio-visuality, experimental pedagogy and speculative design.

Ari is the founder of the social institution, Afrotectopia, most commonly experienced via its annual New Media Arts, Culture and Technology Festival. She teaches human-computer interactive technology, design and societal studies at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Graduate Program (ITP) and at the Pratt Institute.

Komal Singh, Engineering Program Manager at Google and Creator of “Ara The Star Engineer”

Komal Singh is an Engineering Program Manager at Google, and author of kids’ STEM bestseller ‘Ara The Star Engineer’. Singh is an international keynote speaker, a mother to two mini droids, a wife, a ceramicist, and diversity & inclusion advocate [mango lover, zen seeker, globetrotter, overall good human]. Through her 15-year successful career in tech she has helped many global engineering teams launch innovative products, and through her passion project as an author, her mission is to inspire girls to become future leaders. Komal has been featured on Globe & Mail, Forbes, Financial Post, CTV, BuzzFeed, The Social, The Record, and more. 

Komal debuted as an author with the release of her empowering STEM book “Ara The Star Engineer” (her 20% passion project at Google). The book is being translated into more than 10 languages, and is accompanied by novel immersive experiences. Komal’s mission is to inspire children (esp. girls and minorities of colour) to explore the magic of STEM and become future innovators.

Peta-Gay Clarke, Community Manager for Code Next at  Google

Peta-Gay Clarke is a well-rounded professional with broad experience as a Business, Information Technology and Community leader coupled with a passion for providing S.T.E.M. education to youth underrepresented in the technology industry. Peta is currently a Diversity Manager and the Program Lead for Google’s Code Next programs. Code Next is an initiative to expand social capital in Black and Latino neighborhoods by developing culturally engaging and community-centric tech innovation experiences. She is also currently an Adjunct Professor at Pace University’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science.

Previously, Peta was the Deputy Director of IT at the Columbia University School of Journalism and has over 10 years of experience as a Programmer building web-based applications for companies such as Federal Reserve Bank, NYC Department of Education, New York Magazine and COACH Inc.
As a beneficiary and participant of a STEM development youth program, Peta has seen firsthand the need and the benefits of STEM programs for women and underrepresented youth. From 2013 – 2015, she voluntarily spearheaded the launch and co-lead the NY Chapter of Black Girls Code. As of today, the NY Chapter has held tech field trips, hackathons, and technical workshops for over 500 young girls of color ranging between the ages of 7 – 18. A number of senior ladies have since gone off to college to major in Computer Science.

Tiana Davis Kara, Executive Director for #BUILTBYGIRLS

Tiana Davis Kara, advocate for the future female workforce, is currently Executive Director for #BUILTBYGIRLS. She oversees strategic direction and brand development for the social impact brand, furthering its mission to equip the next generation of female and nonbinary tech leaders, builders and creators. Previously she worked with Black Girls CODE developing strategic brand partnerships that furthered the organization’s efforts to increase STEM education opportunities for girls of color. With more than a decade of marketing experience, she’s led creative collaborations and built cultural relevance for major global brands. When she’s not on a plane or glued to her laptop, she’s snapping photos as a freelance photographer in quirky, beautiful Crown Heights, Brooklyn.


At CodeScty we use original hip hop music, videos & experiential activities
to teach computer science and computational thinking concepts to young people. Imagine Schoolhouse Rock for computer science – but lit!

Our suite of content includes original music, videos, and curricula that provide a foundational understanding of computational thinking and technology, laying the groundwork for grasping more advanced concepts. Our curriculum, accessible through our mobile app and website, includes our original content, as well as a facilitation guide for activating the materials in the computer science classroom.

Our goal is to transform young people from passive users of technology to innovative problem solvers and visionaries that are equipped with the tools they need to reimagine society. In a soundbite, we teach how to think before learning how to code.

Workshop Descriptions

At the event, attendees will be able to participate in one of the following workshops!

Ara the Star Engineer (Grades K-5)
Provider: CS4All and Komal Singh
No CS Experience Necessary

Whether a picture book, fairytale, or historical fiction, a story can be a very powerful tool for teachers to help students learn about and better understand computer science practices and concepts. Using Ara The Star Engineer as an example, participants will explore different pedagogy and activities to better integrate reading and literacy into the computer science classroom. CS4All’s Lionel Bergeron will lead this workshop with a special virtual visit from Ara The Star Engineer, author Komal Singh.

CS is Elementary (Grades K-5)
Provider: CS4All
No CS Experience Necessary

Attention all elementary teachers! Join us to gain an understanding of Computer Science and its importance in our ever-changing, global society by exploring CS activities as a student! During this workshop you will experience learning from a student’s perspective, receive resources to get started in your classroom and most importantly, you’ll have fun!

Musical Robots (Grades K-5)
Provider: Sunset Spark
No CS Experience Necessary

Learn about pre-computer machines such as wind-up song boxes and player pianos that inspired the first programmers! Build musical robots using Lego EV3 and work together to program a song using Lego bricks.

Code Scty (Grades 4-12)
Provider: Code Scty
No CS Experience Necessary

CodeScty uses original hip hop music, videos & engaging activities to teach computer science concepts (CS) to more diverse communities. Our hands-on workshop leads participants through our Algorithm learning activity. We utilize the international viral dance phenomenon of the “Kiki Challenge” to translate the foundational concepts of an Algorithm including the subconcepts of Decomposition, Abstraction, and Pattern Recognition. Participants identify a problem in their community and apply Algorithmic logic to developing a solution to their problem.

STEM from Dance (Grades 5-12)
Provider: STEM from Dance
No CS Experience Necessary

STEM From Dance is an award-winning program that uses dance to attract and prepare students for a future in STEM. During this workshop, you’ll use a wearable circuit made of lights and Arduino components to create cool light effects and fun dance moves to go along with it. This workshop is great for teachers whose students love to dance and want to introduce them to programming.

Micro:bit Fortune Teller (Grades 6-12)
Provider: CS4All
No CS Experience Necessary

Wondering what the project-based computer science education would look like? Come check out the Microbit Fortune Teller workshop! Analyze the mechanics of the Fortune Teller, program a Microbit and prototype your own Fortune Teller!

ELiTE (Grades 9-12)
Provider: ELiTE
CS Experience Required

Calling all experienced computer science teachers! Join ELiTE to learn how to use free web-based tools to empower your high school students to code their own VR environments for Smartphones and Google Cardboard.

About CS4All

Computer Science for All (CS4All) will ensure all NYC public school students learn computer science, with an emphasis on female, black, and Latino students. Through our work, students will be better prepared to utilize computer science during their K-12 experience and after graduation.

In the fall of 2015, Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Chancellor announced an ambitious set of goals for New York City schools: by 2026, 80% of our students will graduate high school on time, and two-thirds of our students will be college ready.

There are eight initiatives that comprise the Equity and Excellence agenda that will ensure all students receive a world-class education and have the opportunity to reach their full potential. Computer Science For All (CS4All) is one of these Equity and Excellence initiatives.


CS4All will ensure all NYC public school students learn computer science, with an emphasis on female, black, and Latino students. Through our work, students will be better prepared to utilize computer science during their K-12 experience and after graduation.

Thanks to this unprecedented public to private partnership, all NYC public school students will receive a meaningful, high‐quality Computer Science (CS) education at each grade level: K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12 by 2025.

Over the next 10 years, the DOE will train nearly 5,000 teachers who will bring CS education to the city’s about 1.1 million public school students.

Through CS4All, NYC students will learn to think with the computer, instead of using computers to simply convey their thinking. Students will learn computational thinking, problem-solving, creativity and critical thinking. They will also learn to collaborate and build relationships with peers, communicate and create with technologies, and to better understand technologies we interact with daily.

These skills will be integral to student success in higher education, the 21st-century job market, and beyond.

All schools will provide CS education to all students by 2025

Schools can implement a CS education in a way that aligns best to their educational vision. Computer science can be a semester course, a multi-year sequence, or incorporated into other content area courses (e.g. science, math, art,) in middle and high schools. For elementary schools, CS can be incorporated into core classes or cluster classes like art, music, or technology.

The DOE and partner organizations will offer an array of professional learning opportunities to train nearly 5,000 elementary, middle and high school teachers. This will ensure that all students receive at least one meaningful, high-quality CS learning experience at each school level, across the range of implementation options.

What Does a Computer Science Education Look Like?

Computer science can be the subject of a semester-long course, a multi-year sequence, or incorporated into other content areas, such as science, math, or art.

When you enter a computer science classroom you may find students:

  • Working together to solve problems
  • Writing code and adapting existing code to their own projects
  • Working with teachers and peers to troubleshoot code
  • Building physical prototypes as part of the design process
  • Participating in unplugged activities (that do not use technology), to introduce them to CS fundamentals
  • Using online resources to look up examples and find resources to assist with problem-solving


CS4All is a public-private partnership with New York City supported by a range of foundations, corporations, nonprofits, families, and individuals. For a list of current partners, visit


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