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Largest Gathering Devoted to Computer Science Careers, 2017 CS Fair to Host 2,000 New York City Public High School Students

Monday, March 27, 2017

More than 2,000 New York City public high school students representing the five boroughs and currently studying computer science (CS) will get a firsthand look into some of the most cutting-edge CS careers at the 2017 NYC Computer Science Opportunity Fair (CS Fair) to be held March 29 from 9:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.. Now in its fourth year, the 2017 CS Fair (#CSFairNYC) affords students from 65 schools the opportunity to experience hands-on activities, demos and exhibits aimed at demystifying computer science careers and pathways to pursue them, particularly for students traditionally underserved in computer science.

Held at the New Balance Track & Field Center at the Armory, the CS Fair has become an annual marquee event. It is presented by the nonprofit CSNYC, which partners with the NYC Department of Education and the Fund for Public Schools on the Computer Science for All initiative to bring high-quality CS education to every student in the New York City public school system by 2025; and Microsoft’s TEALS (Technology Education and Literacy in Schools) initiative, which helps high schools across the country build sustainable CS programs by pairing CS professionals with classroom educators to team teach.

 “The sheer number of students who attend the CS Fair each year show they are eager to explore opportunities in computer science—and for many, this is a unique chance to do that,” said Michael Preston, executive director of CSNYC. “We need to encourage that interest and curiosity by continuing to offer CS to all students, no matter their background. We are grateful to the volunteers from the companies, universities and nonprofits who spent the day here to help inspire the generation that will use technology to solve our most critical global challenges.”

Lead partners for the CS Fair include Facebook, Microsoft, and the New York City Department of Education; Goldman Sachs is the contributing partner.

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Beak founder Omari Edwards, New York City Chief Technology Officer Miguel A. Gamino, Jr, American Museum of Natural History/TECHNOLOchicas Natalia Rodriquez Nuñez, New York City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, New York City Chief Digital Officer Sree Sreenivasan, and CSNYC Founder Fred Wilson will be among the VIPs in attendance who will assist in judging the Student Showcase.

Among the highlights planned for this year’s CS Fair:

  • FIRST Robotics’ student-piloted robots that repel a robot invasion with Microsoft’s augmented-reality HoloLens headset;
  • “Tech Lightning Talks” speakers hailing from Annalect, Beak!, BuzzFeed, Clarifai, CodeNewbie, Etsy, Goldman Sachs, Koko, Medidata, Microsoft, and Warby Parker;
  • A “CS in College” panel, at which representatives from CUNY, NYU and Columbia University speak with students about pathways to college degrees in computer science;
  • A “Music & Tech Mash-up” panel, in which professionals from Spotify, Genius and Splice discuss the intersection of music and technology, and students explore real-world applications of CS;
  • Two Maker Space areas dedicated to hands-on, project-based learning, with activities led by Beam Center, MakerState, Mouse, and the New York Hall of Science; 
  • A Student Showcase, featuring the inventions of eight Finalists.
  • Students will be awarded with prizes throughout the day via raffle drawings.

“This year, we are seeing Computer Science for All in action, with more New York City students than ever participating in the CS Fair and learning about opportunities in NYC’s thriving tech industry,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We know the skills these students are learning in the classroom will prepare them for college and careers – in whichever path they choose to pursue. Only in New York could such an impressive group of public and private partners come together like this to lay the groundwork for a brighter, fairer future.”

CSNYC is not alone in looking for ways to bridge the CS talent gap. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, computing is projected to grow 11 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all other occupations. With a lack of highly skilled workers and a well-documented diversity gap, computer scientists are likely to be in high demand for a long time to come.

“It’s our privilege to partner with CSNYC to show students from all backgrounds the range of exciting career opportunities before them in computer science,” said Mary Snapp, corporate vice president and head of Microsoft Philanthropies. “We hope students leave the NYC Computer Science Opportunity Fair with a new appreciation for life in the technology field, and for how computer science can be used in any field they choose to pursue.”

Finding and nurturing talent is one element of what CSNYC and its partners are taking on—education is another. Nationwide, computer science as a K-12 discipline suffers from a lack of educator capacity. Without a clear computer science teacher pipeline, CSNYC is also focusing its efforts on addressing the relative absence of state accredited pre-service teacher certification programs and limited in-service professional development programs. The lack of clear pathways and standards create barriers for our nation’s current teachers in developing the necessary knowledge and skills they need.

“Computer science is at the core of changes reshaping every industry, yet the field remains unfamiliar to many people,” said Jeff Reynar, engineering director, Facebook New York. “The CS Fair and similar efforts by CSNYC expose students to the range of opportunities unlocked by studying computer science, offering them a greater array of options and preparing them well for the next steps on their career path.”

Working with the NYC Department of Education and other partners, CSNYC is committed to increasing all young people’s exposure to computer science education. The Computer Science for All initiative will build educator capacity, training nearly 5,000 teachers to bring CS education to the City’s 1.1 million public school students and developing clearer pathways and standards to ensure quality.

“As we work to implement Computer Science for All and bring computer science education to every student across New York City, it is so inspiring to see 2,000 New York City students coming together and actively learning about college and career opportunities that computer science opens the door to,” said Debbie Marcus, executive director of Computer Science Education for the NYC Department of Education. “The CS Fair is truly a game changer for NYC students, and I thank CSNYC, TEALS, and all our industry partners for their partnership and commitment.”

“The CS Fair represents the pinnacle of our efforts to expose New York City public school students to 21st century career opportunities like those in the computer science field,” said Sarah Geisenheimer, executive director of The Fund for Public Schools. “We are proud to partner with CSNYC to help provide computer science education to all students through CS4ALL, and are beyond grateful for the generous private funding that makes it all possible.”

For more information about CSNYC and the Computer Science for All commitment to bring high-quality computer science to every student in New York City check out: http://www.csnyc.org/


About CSNYC

CSNYC was founded in 2013 by venture capitalist Fred Wilson to ensure that all of New York City’s 1.1 million public school students have access to a high-quality computer science education, putting them on a path to college and career success. In September 2015, CSNYC partnered to launch CS4All, a 10-year, $81M initiative to scale computer science education to 100% of the City’s public schools.

CS4All is a public-private partnership between The City of New York, the NYC Department of Education and the private sector, led by CSNYC and the Robin Hood Foundation.

About Microsoft

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

About Facebook

Founded in 2004, Facebook's mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what's going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them.

About The Fund for Public Schools

The Fund for Public Schools (FPS) has consistently and rigorously dedicated itself to supporting New York City’s public schools since 1982. FPS supports some of the most innovative programs in K-12 education at the largest school district in the country, with 1.1M students in approximately 1,800 schools. Partnerships between FPS and the philanthropic community enable the NYC Department of Education to pilot innovative projects; accelerate promising, outcome-driven initiatives; and respond quickly and strategically to emerging needs across the system. To learn more about The Fund, or to join its growing list of supporters, visit www.fundforpublicschools.org.