Meet the 2019 winners of the Champions of Computer Science Awards!

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Meet this year’s winners! From top left, clockwise: student winner Axel Toro, teacher winner Laginne Walker, AP Diversity Award winner Rachel Robinson on behalf of Ardrey Kell High School, administration winner Paul Foster and organization winner Mission Economic Development Corporation.

In celebration of the 2019 Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek), the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) and are pleased to announce the third annual Champions of Computer Science Awards.

From developing a pair of “smart glasses” to help those with visual impairments, to integrating computer science in district curriculum that serves more than 25,000 students, these winners represent the students, teachers, districts, administrators and organizations working to make computer science education accessible for everyone.

Selected from a pool of more than 200 nominees, the winners will be presented with their awards at a special 2019 CSEdWeek kickoff event on Dec. 9 at the Santa Fe Indian School in Sante Fe, New Mexico. Watch the livestream on YouTube or the CSEdWeek Facebook page.

Student winner — Axel Toro (Aguada, Puerto Rico)

Axel created a pair of “smart glasses” to help people with visual impairments navigate the world. The glasses use sound waves to measure the distance between the wearer and potential obstacles, and they also use artificial intelligence and a camera to identify objects for the wearer. The entire device runs on a Raspberry Pi Zero, which is half the size of a credit card. Read more here.

Teacher Winner — Laginne Walker (New York, NY)

In just over two years, Laginne created a full computer science department at City College Academy of Arts — the only department in the school that offers two AP courses. Her students went from receiving no computer science instruction to having coursework in coding languages, access to a robotics team, and a Girls Who Code chapter. What’s more, the majority of Laginne’s AP students passed their AP CS Principles exam and a third have since moved on to take AP CSA. Read more here.

Administration Winner — Paul Foster (Springfield, MA)

Paul is the Chief Information and Accountability Officer at Springfield Public Schools in Massachusetts. Most of the students in Paul’s district have not traditionally had access to computer science education, so Paul helped bridge this gap by partnering with the University of Massachusetts Amherst to create an elementary school computer science curriculum for all 33 of the district’s elementary schools. This curriculum will be integrated by the end of 2020. Read more here.

Organization Winner — Mission Economic Development Corporation (Mission, TX)

This year’s Champions of CS organization award is presented to the Mission Economic Development Corporation. Mission EDC, a component of the City of Mission, Texas has worked to prioritize computer science and STEM education for the entire city. The organization set up a partnership with Mouse Inc (based in New York City) to train 100 teachers and 20 counselors in computer science. Mission EDC prioritizes opportunities for young women and non-binary students through the CREW internship program, which includes summer coding camps and ongoing mentorship in business and professional skills. Read more here.

AP Diversity Award winner — Ardrey Kell High School (Charlotte, NC)

Ardrey Kell High School in Charlotte, North Carolina had the highest number of female students who took the AP Computer Science Principles exam out of schools using the curriculum during the 2017–2018 school year. Out of 344 test-takers, 117 of them were young women! Read more here.® is dedicated to expanding access to computer science increasing participation by young women and students from other underrepresented groups.

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