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BDPA Helps Bridge 'Digital Divide'

Margaret Summers | 8/21/2013, 3 p.m.
BDPA conference attendee Francisco Nunez, a 21-year-old graduate of Crossland High School in Temple Hills, is a student at Morehouse College in Atlanta. Nancy Shia

Bijou’s mother taught him how to use a computer when he was four. Bryan Bemley’s father tried to teach him how to use one when he was three.

“I grew up with the conference, which I’ve attended since 1996,” said Bryan Bemley, 25, also a Bowie State University senior from Southeast. “It has been a mentoring and molding experience.”

Bryan Bemley hopes to earn a Ph.D. in computer science or network security. “I also want to start my own 3D animation studio and produce games and movies,” he said. “That way I will always have work.”

Morehouse College senior Francisco Nuñez, 21, is the only student who represented three different BDPA chapters in its High School Computer Competitions between 2006 and 2010: the District, Northern Virginia, and Baltimore. Originally from Temple Hills, Md., Nuñez, one of nine siblings, majors in computer science and minors in mathematics. “My godfather pushed me into IT,” he said. He hopes to earn a doctorate in neuroscience with computer science applications. “I would use computers to determine how the mind works, how people learn,” Nuñez explained.

Young IT professionals of color serving as mentors is the most effective way to cultivate students of color for IT fields, said Nuñez. “I’m more receptive to listening to someone in my age demographic. We have to pay it forward.”

For more information on BDPA, visit www.bdpa.org.