CENG Receives The Most Impactful Project Award in Foothill College’s Research and Service Leadership Symposium

May 28, 2019

Receiving the Most Impactful Project Award out of 150 submissions from the President of Foothill College in the second annual Research and Service Leadership (RSL) Symposium reaffirms the commitment and dedication of the Computer Engineers of the Next Generation (CENG) to serve the historically underrepresented minorities in the Computer Science field. The Symposium recognizes exceptional students that lead their peers through research or service projects. The topics covered in the Symposium covered many issues, from gender inequality to mandatory sentencing to artificial intelligence in retinal scanning. Perhaps the greatest gift that the Symposium gave to us was a centralized place where we could meet with our peers in service leadership and research. Each presentation and each project inspired us to keep on fighting for what we believe in. It is often easy to lose some of the passion and drive that we started this club with; but when we heard about what these students were doing-when we saw the sheer amount of positive change that was being pushed-our determination was revitalized. Through this experience, we learned that each person can make a difference and create change.

When we first started CENG in 2016, we offered one free after school coding class at our alma mater, Santa Rita Elementary School, in 2016. Every Wednesday after class, six Los Altos High School students donned their teacher hats and shared the fun of coding with third through sixth graders. We adopted the model of students teaching students and developed our own curriculum in Scratch, JavaScript and Python. In the beginning, maintaining the students' attention was a challenge, so we put in extra effort to keep the lessons interesting and engaging with fun games, breaks, snacks and prizes. Thanks to the grants from AI4ALL and Los Altos Community Foundation, we now run two concurrent coding classes at Santa Rita and Monta Loma Elementary School and conduct eight 7-week classes throughout the school year. To get more students actively involved in the program, we identified exemplary students who took our classes and showed leadership skills and invited them as Junior Mentors to help teach the next generation. Together with the Junior Mentors, our team hosted an Hour of Code event, teaching 423 Monta Loma students how to code in December of last year. We expanded our online presence and uploaded all the lessons through the Online Coding Academy for students who are unable to attend the onsite classes. Today, our team consists of 20 Los Altos High School volunteers, whose mission is to help inspire historically underrepresented minorities to explore and develop interest in Computer Science. We have taught more than 750 students and created a community impact of over $141,000.

We never forgot who we are. We are a group of high school students who sees the wealth and opportunity disparity in the Bay Area and want to change it. We want to level the playing field between the haves and the have-nots. We want to make coding accessible to everyone. Through the RSL Symposium, we not only saw the efforts made by other people in order to improve their communities, but we saw how game changing our efforts were to improve the lives of students through CENG. Moving forward, CENG is committed to furthering its works in the community and is in the process of becoming a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization to help facilitate our growing operations. We are also looking to expand both the schools we offer at and the schools our volunteers come from. For more information, visit us at cengclass.org.