MAGIC News from 2016

October - December 2016: Ninth MAGIC Session Off to a Great Start!

MAGIC kicked off its ninth year of mentoring in the fall of 2016, with mentees from the following partner schools/centers:

As in previous years, we have additional mentees from outside of our partner schools, who applied directly through our website. These mentees are located in Massachussetts and California.

Approximately half of our mentees are middle schoolers, and the remaining are high schoolers. More than half of our mentees in this session are from under-resourced communities. Also, more than half of our mentor-mentee pairs are remote, and this marks the second year in a row where the percentage of remote mentoring has exceeded that of face to face mentoring!

September 2016: MAGIC Enters into Partnership with ETR

As part of MAGIC’s effort to encourage and retain young women in STEM fields, we are excited to announce a new partnership with ETR (Education, Training, and Research). ETR is an organization that works on advancing health and opportunities for youth, families, and communities. Part of ETR's work is to design and supports approaches to increase diversity in STEM fields. ETR’s partnership with MAGIC will bring STEM mentoring to under-represented high school students at the DigitalNEST, a community-based organization serving a rural, agricultural region of Central California. 

ETR and MAGIC will work together to implement proven mentoring strategies that bring together high school-aged mentees with college student mentors.  The program will foster interest in and increase knowledge of computing as an integral part of computer science and other STEM fields.

As always, we are sincerely grateful to you, our supporters, for believing in us to carry on this task! We will keep you informed of our progress in this initiative.

September 2016: MAGIC privileged to be part of President Obama’s "Computer Science for All" Initiative

Today MAGIC is excited to be part of President Barack Obama’s Computer Science for All Initiative. This is the President’s bold new initiative to empower all American students, from kindergarten through high school, to learn computer science, and be equipped with the computational thinking skills they need to be creators (and not just consumers) in the digital economy, and to be active citizens in our technology-driven world.

As part of our commitment to support this initiative and build the CS-aware women of tomorrow, MAGIC will mentor 50 more girls by December 2017, with a priority on serving those from under-resourced communities.

We sincerely thank you, our supporters, for believing in us to carry on this challenging task! We will keep you informed of our progress in this initiative.

More details can be found in this White House fact sheet.

June 2016: Final Round of 2015-2016 Presentations by MAGIC Mentees

The 2015-2016 MAGIC mentoring season concluded on June 17th, with the last round of final presentations from the 2015-2016 mentees. Fifteen mentees came from all over California to partake in these presentations. A majority of these mentees found out about MAGIC from sources outside their schools, while a few came from one of our partner schools, Oak Grove High School, in South San Jose. This event was sponsored by Google, and the presentations were held at Google HQ in Mountain View, California.

After lunch at Google and a tour of the Google campus, the girls gave presentations on their MAGICal experiences, followed by demos of their projects. The audience for the event included the mentee’s families, mentors, core team members, and other interested Googlers. Congratulations to the following mentees for their superb presentations and hard work this session, and also to their mentors for providing them with support and guidance throughout!

  • Mentees: Casandra Avila, Diana Nguyen, Esmeralda Leon, Iris Cheung, Joon Luther, Julia Georgi, Kim Ngo, Kristina Mkrtchyan, Lauren Taylor, Marina Lee, Morgan Conner, Purva Joshi, Samantha Serrano, Vasundhara Sengupta, and Wynna Huang.
  • Mentors:Anurupa Rao, Caroline Morley, Catherine Wah, Helen Kang, Hema Hariharan, Ira Pramanick, Jaelle Scheuerman, Jen Tannenbaum, Jessica Werk, Lakshmi KP, Magreth Mushi, Neetu Jain, Raquel Martinez, Roshni Chandrashekhar, Soja-Marie Morgens, and Tanya Gupta.

For this event, MAGIC also had the good fortune of finding a talented Googler, Ian Gulliver, who volunteered to video record the presentations and demos. Thank you, Ian! Finally, a huge thank you to all the MAGIC coordinators and Google for making it possible to host the presentations at Google.

The slides from the presentations can be found here, and the presentation videos can be found here.

May 2016: Castilleja Mentees Complete Their MAGIC Session

On May 18th, the MAGIC mentoring session at Castilleja School concluded with final presentations from three mentees. The presentations were held at the school in Palo Alto, CA, in their ACE (Awareness, Compassion, & Engagement) Center. Among attendees were the three mentors (one joined via Google Hangouts from London), mentee families, Castilleja administrators and faculty (including the Middle School Head and Head of the Computer Science Department), and members from the core team.

A hearty congratulations to the mentees - Aizza Rocha, Elizabeth van Blommestein, and Saayili Budhiraja - on their impressive work this session, dedication to the program, and stellar presentations and demos! And a big hand for their passionate and proud mentors - Namitha Benjamin, Michelle Dion, and Smriti Pramanick - as well. Finally, thank you to our Castilleja MAGIC coordinator Luz Deras and the ACE Center for their unwavering support of MAGIC, the mentees, and their MAGICal experiences!

The slides from the presentations can be found here, and the presentation videos here.

May 2016: Eighth MAGIC Session Concludes at GMS

On May 10th, MAGIC completed eight years of partnership with its pilot school, The Girls' Middle School (GMS) in Palo Alto, California. Five mentees participated in the program this year, out of which two were paired with remote mentors and three had local mentors. Like every year, the concluding event started with each mentee giving a short presentation describing her experience, her project and demo, which was followed by concurrent demos by each of them. The audience included mentee families, mentors (one of the mentors attended via Google hangout), some of the faculty and administrators of the school, and members of the MAGIC core team.

Each of the five mentees, Ada F., Anne Friedman, Annie Zhang, Aruna Gauba, and Lainey Rogers, did an outstanding job on their projects. A huge thanks goes to their mentors, Dhana Shunmugasundram, Jaelle Scheuerman, Pichuan Chang, Sarah Rice and Uma Menon. GMS is MAGIC's original partner school, and the support of the school, particularly that provided by Tricia Kellison, the chair of the Computer Science department at GMS, is deeply appreciated. Congratulations to the mentees, their mentors and Tricia for a fantastic MAGICal year!

The mentee presentation slides can be found here, and the presentation videos here.

May 2016: MAGIC East Coast Final Presentation

The 2015-2016 East Coast MAGIC mentoring session concluded on May 8th, with a final presentation by the four MAGIC mentees on the East Coast. This was the first formal final presentation by MAGIC mentees on the East Coast. The venue of the event was the Harvard Business School, and the audience included the four MAGIC mentors and the families of the four mentees. The MAGIC core team attended remotely from the West Coast via Google hangout. Each of the four mentees gave a short presentation, introducing their mentor, describing their MAGICal experience, detailing their project, and finally doing a project demo.

A big congratulations to the four mentees, Anvitha Veeragandham, Gayathri Nandyalam, Iccha Singha and Sruthi Kurada for a job well done! Kudos to the four mentors, Becky Bauer, Bobby Simidchieva, Deepa Kalkunte and Jacqueline Feild for their dedication in opening the doors of STEM to more girls!

The presentation slides can be found here.

April 2016: MAGIC participates in the MIT Open House

MAGIC was invited to have a booth/event at the MIT Open House on April 23rd. There were more than 350 activities planned for the MIT Open House, and MAGIC's event was from 2-3pm. The event started with Bobby Simidchieva, a MAGIC mentor, doing a presentation on MAGIC. This was followed by project demos by two MAGIC mentees on the east coast, namely Anvitha Veeragandham and Sruthi Kurada. The event concluded with a Python hands-on activity conducted by Sandra Harimoto, another MAGIC mentor. Event support was provided by MIT graduate and MAGIC board member Esha Sahai, current MIT student and MAGIC mentor, Smriti Pramanick, MAGIC mentor Becky Bauer, and the parents of the two MAGIC mentees. Feedback regarding the MAGIC event has been great. Thanks to all the participants on a job well done!

April 2016: MAGIC participates in Student Development Day at Presentation High School in San Jose

MAGIC was invited by Presentation High School in San Jose, CA, to participate in its Student Development Day on April 19th. The school screened the film "Miss Representation" to raise awareness about the portrayal and perception of women in society. This was followed by an outdoor fair with a few organizations which focus on the development of girls, in order to provide the girls with opportunities to get involved. The MAGIC booth attracted a large number of interested girls! Thanks to Sonu Durgia, MAGIC CFO, who organized and ran the MAGIC booth, and to MAGIC board member, Jazmine Jung, for providing support for the event!

February 2016: Spring session kickoff

Two additional mentees have been accepted into the MAGIC program this year. One of them is a high schooler (in the 11th. grade), and the other one is a middle schooler (in the 8th. grade). They are both being mentored remotely.