PWN Luncheon Recap: From Football to Footwear

By Megan Bowers

TBTF hosted the annual Professional Women’s Luncheon at Hilton St. Petersburg this afternoon and it was filled with inspirational words, compliments on shoes, and networking galore. Professional women from the Tampa Bay area came together for socializing, an incredible meal, and to listen to keynote speaker Michelle McKenna-Doyle, NFL SVP & CIO.

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Michelle McKenna-Doyle joked, “my father always bet his kid would be in the NFL, he just bet on the wrong one!” after she shared that her brother had played football for Alabama. McKenna-Doyle had always liked football and after years working in the theme park industry, she decided to pursue the passion. Her advice for women in male-dominated fields is to “stick with what you’re good at.” If you happen to be good at something that is traditionally a “male role,” don’t let yourself get intimidated.Watch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)

She also advised that at the beginning of one’s career, “start off knowing that you’re not going to know.” She hadn’t originally started her career in IT. She had to dabble in IT for a work project, and decided that’s where she belonged. “Don’t shut off possibilities!” she urged.

The most important lesson McKenna-Doyle wanted the women to pull from her speech was to mentor. “Every woman has the responsibility to mentor,” she explained. Men have always been strong mentors and it’s time for women to follow suit. (We were excited for her support of mentorship because we had a mentor matching table waiting in the next room!)

We were thrilled to have Michelle McKenna-Doyle inspire and entertain us with her spunky humor. It was a real pleasure to hear words of wisdom from such a business powerhouse.

Michelle McKenna Doyle

Congratulations to our Scholarship Winners!

By Megan Bowers

Two students, Joshua Mote and Christian Torres, were awarded the Take Stock in Children Scholarship sponsored by TechStart.

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Christian Torres(right) with TechStart team members

The students were recognized among others at the Hillsborough Education Scholarship Reception on May 27. The event, sponsored by Citi, featured guest speaker Ryan Neece. Ryan, former Tampa Bay Buccaneers player and founder of the Ryan Neece Foundation, talked about what it takes for students to pursue greatness. Making sacrifices, a good attitude, and giving back to others were the main points of advice the community service activist gave to students as they prepare for college.

We are so excited for Christian and Joshua and are eager to see what the future holds for them!

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Code Club Wrap Up

By Megan Bowers

After a great year of Code Club with students at Sulphur Springs Elementary school, we were sad to say good-bye yesterday. After initially suggesting a pizza party, the kids decided they’d rather use the time to continue to work on the computer instead. They were all very eager to get their final “trophies” or recognitions in the program.

Code Club

We hosted an awards ceremony to recognize all the students for their work, awarding them either a bronze or silver medal based on their achievements. Of course, no award ceremony would be complete without their favorite snack: Otis Spunkmeyer muffins.

Trevares joined Jennifer in the completion club after he mastered all the concepts before the end of Code Club.  They were awarded gold medals for their achievements.

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Thanks to all of our volunteers who helped mentor the students throughout the year, especially Sogeti, Moffit Cancer Center, MyMatrixx, Sulphur Springs YMCA and Enactus at USF. We couldn’t have done it without you! Although we’re sad to see our fifth graders leave, we are excited to see what exciting advancements they make in their computer science learning in the future.

What it’s Like to Be a Mentor

By Megan Bowers

Jennifer Jackson was nervous at the thought of mentoring when she began many years ago, like many of us would be. People often hear that children who need mentored already face many challenges in their lives such as neglect, abuse, or adversity. Jennifer wondered if she would have enough time to work through her mentee’s past troubles and still be able to build a relationship. The thought of “what if she doesn’t like me?” crossed her mind as well. However, Jennifer had no need to worry.

After meeting once a week for the first year and once every two weeks in the years following, Jennifer and her mentee quickly formed a strong relationship. They talked about financial literacy, explored career paths, and set goals for what the student wanted to accomplish with the activity ‘101 things to be,do, and have’. Thanks to Jennifer’s guidance, her mentee learned to work hard for what she wants and was able to buy her first car at the age of 16 with cash from her babysitting Star Wars: The Force Awakens 2015 film now

As college started coming up on the horizon, Jennifer had her mentee studying hard to not only get into a great university, but also to have scholarships to help with the financial burden. The mentee was encouraged to apply to at least two scholarships a month in addition to the Hillsborough Education Foundation Take Stock in Children Scholarship.

Jennifer’s mentee now attends the University of Central Florida where she is studying nursing and is excelling in her classes. She lives on campus and is loving her new school. The two still catch up about once a month.

The amount of impact Jennifer’s one hour a week lunch meeting had on the girl’s life was insurmountable. If you want to make a difference in a student’s life like Jennifer did, the Pinellas and Hillsborough Educational Foundations can help pair you with a mentee at the Professional Women’s Network Luncheon on June 11th. One hour a week can make a lifetime’s worth of difference!


Jennifer Jackson

Programming Apps for Kids 5+

“The time to inspire kids to pursue scientific skills and careers is obvious: early and often. Without that crucial intervention, and the chance for kids to discover that they really can master these skills, they will graduate high school believing STEM is just too hard for them.”

Introducing kids to computer programming at a young age may seem difficult and impossible, especially if you don’t know anything about the subject. Fortunately, there are many free or inexpensive resources available for students who want to learn!

Here are 12 beginner computer programming tutors for students disguised as fun apps for an iPhone, iTouch or iPad:

1349-1-robo-logic-2-hd 1. Robo Logic (iPhone) and Robo Logic 2 HD (iPad)

RoboLogic is a neat logic game. You have to program a robot’s movements by dragging commands to the memory of the bot. Your goal is to activate all the marked boxes. ($1.99 or Lite version Free, Recommended for kids, tweens, teens, and parents)



app-icon 2. Cargo-Bot

Cargo-Bot is a puzzle game where you teach a robot how to move crates. Sounds simple, right? Try it out! It features 36 fiendishly clever puzzles, haunting music and stunning retina graphics. You can even record your solutions and share them on YouTube to show your friends. (Free, Recommended for ages 5+)


ico_512 3. Move the Turtle

A friendly Turtle will introduce your child step by step to the basic concepts of programming in the graphic environment. Who knows, maybe your child will be the next outstanding programmer! ($2.99, Recommended for ages 5+)


catos_hike_icon_1704. Cato’s Hike

Cato is a little boy who just like every little boy likes to go out and play. One fine day Cato was playing outside when a portal to another world opened up in front of him; a portal to another world!

Cato stepped through and discovered that this world unlike his own didn’t follow the same rules. Every time he tried to take a step or an action he’d find himself stuck in place. Stuck that is until he finally discovered the rules in this universe: by writing a program for himself he would be able to overcome all obstacles and learn something new along the way! ($2.99 or Lite Free, Recommended for ages 5+)

 9cd82eaafca916c8f542ff4970848c7c  5. Hopscotch HD

Inspired by MIT’s Scratch, the Hopscotch programming language works by dragging and dropping method blocks into scripts. When you’re done with a script, press play to see your code in action! As you get more advanced, you can add more objects and use custom events, such as shaking and tilting the iPad, to run your code. Hopscotch allows kids to create their own games and animations. Kids unleash their creativity with this beautiful, easy-to-use visual programming language. (Free, Recommended for ages 8+)

screenshot2-22946788cfd4c867a2458c6c3338f8d3Screen Shot 2013-05-08 at 12.55.35 PM

 kodable-1354218924_600 6. Kodable

Programming fundamentals and logic lessons for kids! The fuzz family crash landed on Smeeborg and they need your help navigating the Technomazes! Use drag and drop commands to direct your fuzz through the colorful lighted maze. Don’t get lost, or your fuzz might not be too happy! (Free, Recommended for ages 5+)

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mzl.hlzwfwat.480x480-75 7. Daisy the Dinosaur

Learn the basics of computer programming with Daisy the Dinosaur! This free, fun app has an easy drag and drop interface that kids of all ages can use to animate Daisy to dance across the screen. Kids will intuitively grasp the basics of objects, sequencing, loops and events by solving this app’s challenges. After playing Daisy, kids can choose to download a kit to program their own computer game. (Free, Recommended for ages 5+)



My-Robot-Friend-App 8. My Robot Friend

Take control of your robot friend, Alpha-1, using logic, puzzle solving and math skills. Use your arsenal of shrink rays, invisibility cloaks, shields, propeller packs and a whole lot more as you program your way through 80 mind-teasing levels. Program a sequence of instructions for your robot to follow, and earn all 3 ribbons per level by creating efficient programs and collecting all the coins. There’s just one catch: Your arch nemesis Fat Cat will try to thwart your every move – Oh no!  ($3.99, Recommended for ages 7+)




original  9. Robot Football

In Robot Football you don’t just call the plays, you design them! Every 40 seconds you program your robots to run, block, pass, intercept, and steal the ball – while your opponent does the same! Once you’ve entered your plays, sit back and watch as both teams carry out their programming simultaneously. It’s a battle of strategy and wits – do you have what it takes to out-think your opponent and score the touchdown? (Free, Recommended for ages 5+)




botbatlogo  10. BotBat

Design your own robot tank to do battle your way with your rules in this exciting game! The game lets you pick and choose commands to be used for the brains of a robot tank. When you’ve designed your robot’s brain, it’s time to do battle! Go to the challenge round, and your robot will do battle with another robot! Your robot is going to fight your way with your rules. Also battle your friends’ robots via multiplayer mode! (Free, Recommended for ages 5+)

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mzl.hhpwpmup.175x175-75   11. ChipBots

ChipBots allows you to design and program your own robots using a unique chip-based programming environment. Then test your robots against challenges including skeet shoot and bot-to-bot combat. (Free, Recommended for ages 9+)

mzl.ewcunxaw.480x480-75        ChipBots


Hakitzu   12. Hakitzu Elite: Robot Hackers

Hack your friends to become the ultimate code warrior! Hakitzu Elite is an epic multiplayer robot combat game, where you learn the basics of coding while battling robots in single and multiplayer missions. Can you hack it?!

This game helps you learn the basics of JavaScript. No previous coding knowledge is required as the game takes you from a beginner, to coder, to hacker in our single player mode and on the battlefield. Earn certificates to show off your new coding and gaming skills to your friends! The more you code by hand, the more points you receive to unlock the ultimate weapons for the arena. ($0.99, Recommended for ages 9+) 


Tech Jam 2012 #TBT

Are you interested in attending Tech Jam: Speakeasy Soirée and looking for more information about the event? Follow the link to preview silent auction items and purchase tickets!

Last year, Tech Jam raised $63,000 to create a better future for at-risk youth of Tampa Bay. Attendees went “Behind the Music” with local artists Christie Lenee, Woody and the Nutcrackers, and Chris McCarty and the Underground Movementfilm Midnight Special streaming. The artists discussed how technology impacts their careers and why they chose to support TechStart’s mission. The incredible performances entertained the attendees throughout the evening. Watch this video to see all the fun!

from In Motion Video Productions on Vimeo.



tech jam 2

Christie Lenee

tech jam 3

Woody and the Nutcrackers

tech jam 4

Chris McCarty and the Underground Movementfilm Midnight Special streaming

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Students from a local boys and girls club showcased the robots they built for a regional competition.