More than 100 local high school students attended Microsoft’s annual Blacks at Microsoft Minority Student Day in Redmond, Washington today, learning about the latest education technology and connecting to role models from all levels of Microsoft.
The event, now in its 25th year, provides students from underrepresented communities with information about the tools, resources and career opportunities that are available to them in information technology. Even more important, the event aims to inspire young people to achieve their goals by connecting them to mentors, and sparking an early interest in pursuing technology careers at Microsoft.
Throughout the day, Microsoft employees guided students through hands-on technology labs on tools ranging from OneNote to Micro:bit, as well as information sessions on everything from personal brand-building to coding. Employees also talked with students about the wide variety of career opportunities available to them in technology.
The keynote address, delivered by Microsoft Education corporate vice president Tony Prophet, emphasized Microsoft’s commitment to education, and specifically to ensuring all students had access to the same opportunities.
“Our mission is to empower every student on the planet to achieve more,” Prophet said, “There is no opportunity that is not available to the young people here today because of the power of education.”
A Renton High School sophomore, was inspired by the day’s speakers and events, noting that “STEM is important, and college is the extra step you need to get ahead.”
The Renton High School sophomore was particularly impressed with Micro:bit, which is launching in the UK. “It would be cool to see it available in the US,” he added, “Micro:bit made me think about how that technology could be advantageous to many students.”
“Being inclusive is a key part of our culture at Microsoft,” said Tina Eskridge, director of Internet of Things Device Experience Marketing for Microsoft. “It is embedded in how we think and operate, and is key to our success in the future.”
Blacks at Microsoft, the employee resource group responsible for these events, is committed to actively contributing to the growth and development of local and international communities with a particular focus on educating youth and exposing them to emerging technologies and career opportunities in the technology industry. Student day events were also held in Las Colinas, Texas; Charlotte, North Carolina; Columbus, Ohio; New York, New York; Chicago, Illinois; and Atlanta, Georgia.