Author: Jeslyn Guo

From December 6-12, we celebrate National Computer Science Education Week. Computer science education week is aimed at raising awareness about the transformative role of computing in our society. During this period of time, people from across the country hope to inspire K-12 students to learn about computer science and celebrate its impact. The overarching theme for this year’s CSEdWeek is #CSEverywhere. This theme encompasses the idea that computer science is truly everywhere in our society and it intersects frequently with other subjects, industries, and career paths beyond just technology. In this article, we will take a look at some brief activities you can engage with and some inspiring applications of computer science in our world.

To begin, check out this short video about how CS is changing everything around us. Here are some questions for you to consider as you watch this video. Feel free to reflect with a parent, partner, or simply by yourself!
● What are the ways that computer science changes things around you?
● Do you agree or disagree with the message, “Computer science is changing everything?” Why or why not?
● The video identifies ways in which computer science changes six main industries. Beyond these categories, take some time to brainstorm or research about how CS changes Education, Business Management, Healthcare, and Transportation, or any other sector that interests you.

Hopefully, you find that computer science is evolving our society and can be intertwined with almost every other sector. If you would like to take a deeper look at various career pathways in computer science, feel free to check out this webinar panel about tech career pathways.

Part of the CSEdWeek initiative is to highlight influential CS heroes in our society. While you can find a complete list of these people on their website, we have chosen a few of the inspirational role models to highlight today.

Anielle Guedes

Anielle Guedes is an entrepreneur from Brazil who uses recycled goods to print 3D construction materials to create buildings and infrastructure with. She is part of a movement to leverage new technologies to address the dire housing and shelter crisis worldwide. Her business, Urban3D, which she founded and currently heads, transforms the traditional construction process by using technology to create cleaner, faster, and more sustainable methods for construction.

Sofia Ongele

Sofia Ongele is currently a student at Fordham University as well as the founder of a mobile application, ReDawn. ReDawn is used to provide support to survivors of gender-based violence by connecting users to a chat-bot, local resources, and an incident log. Sofia’s work has also involved creating web applications to facilitate faster communication in politics or to get innocent people off of death row. Her work is an inspiring example of how CS can be used for social justice, another main theme of CSEdWeek.

Sonika Manandhar

Sonika Manandhar is a Nepalese computer engineer and co-founder of Aeloi Technologies, a platform that reduces climate change by bridging the gap for microentrepreneurs with digital tokens. She uses her technical expertise to communicate with grassroots entrepreneurs and build a fintech solution that matches that user’s needs. Through CS, she is able to address the issue of rising carbon emission rates and the greater problem of sustainability and climate change in our society.

Joy Buolamwini

Joy Buolamwini is an algorithmic bias researcher whose work centers around highlighting the social implications of using artificial intelligence. She founded the Algorithmic Justice League to usher in a world with more accountable and equitable technology. She has an incredible TED talk about algorithmic bias that has been viewed over one million times!

Katia Vega

Katie Vega is a beauty technology designer, whose work uniquely applies technology to the beauty industry. Her project, the Dermal Abyss, replaces tattoo ink with biosensors that change colors in response to changes in the person’s metabolism. Another one of her projects involves specially designed false eyelashes that can animate lights, play music, or display images!

These women are only a fraction of the many, many inspirational individuals in the computer science industry. From climate change to social justice, computer science can truly be integrated with any passion or interest. Hopefully, after hearing about the widespread impact of CS, you are interested in learning more about how you can get involved in coding and solving our society’s issues. In honor of CSEdWeek, Hour of Code, an organization which aims to broaden the participation in the field of computer science through hands-on experience, has provided various resources to begin coding with. Take a look at some fun coding projects designed for a variety of skill levels. These activities range from block coding and Javascript to Python, so there is an opportunity for everyone to learn something new!

We hope that you have learned something new about coding, been inspired by a real-life CS project, or simply taken a closer look at what computer science is all about. Part of education comes from sharing ideas with others, so it is encouraged that you take advantage of this nationwide event to introduce your family and friends to computer science as well. The more people, the better! Every student should have the opportunity to learn computer science, and it is easier than ever to get started today.