Governor visits Roosevelt, meets with Computer Science students

Governor Hogan, County Executive Alsobrooks, Dr. Portia Barnes, UMBC President Valerie Shears Ashby and Girls Who Code representatives

Mia Helfrich

On October 24, Governor Larry Hogan came to Roosevelt with County Executive Angela Alsobrooks and UMBC President Valerie Shears Ashby to converse with staff and students involved in the ACCESS (Achieving Computer Science Collaborations for Employing Students Statewide) initiative and Girls Who Code. Founded in 2017, ACCESS has expanded computer science education throughout the state, and it sponsors much of the funding for Roosevelt’s computer science classes. Hogan met with representative students from Girls Who Code (GWC), AP Computer Science Principles, AP Computer Science A, Foundations of Computer Science, and MESA, an app development contest. 

“We started the ACCESS initiative as a push to get more students involved in, not just STEM, but Computer Science education,” said Hogan. The initiative aims to provide computer science education to prepare middle and high school students for the 21st century workforce. He stated that student participation in computer science classes across the state has increased over 380%. Among female students, involvement has increased 776% and among African American students, 594%.

The state’s partnership with Girls Who Code, a nonprofit that aims to grow female involvement in computer science, has proved successful, with around eighty Girls Who Code club locations in just Prince George’s County. 

“This is an actual commitment,” said Alsobrooks, “a financial investment into the future of these young women. And you know that if you open the door they can walk through it.”

GWC Vice President Glory Ndubuisi-Oluavu remarked, “Hearing him and hearing all the work he’s putting into us is really amazing. It feels really good to know that people are rallying behind us, that want us to succeed. It gives me motivation to continue on this path and all the success it can bring.”

Hogan gave his congratulations to Roosevelt’s MESA winners, who tied first place on the state level. “It felt very personal to see the person who is helping us,” said MESA winner Leslie Carino. “It felt good to talk about our accomplishments, it was a very enlightening experience.”

Governor Hogan, Executive Alsobrooks, and UMC President Shears Ashby also praised students taking computer science classes, impressed by students’ skill in various languages like Java, Python, and HTML. Ndubuisi-Oluavu acknowledges that there are “so many opportunities available for all of us. We just need to find them and take advantage, at this point.”

Governor Hogan showed his gratitude to Dr. Portia Barnes and the STEM and computer science teachers here at Roosevelt. “We really want to thank all of you for giving us a chance to see that these programs really work and make a difference.”