Senior Program Manager at Microsoft
WHY DO YOU SUPPORT IGNITE?
I think the greatest gift we can give the world is to set up the next generation to succeed. As a father of four daughters, I taught them tile-based coding by at 4. At age 6, they began block-based programming. And by age 7 or 8, they learn text-based programming with Small Basic. By 10 or 11, they’ve learned Python and Java.
We live in a country where 85% of STEM jobs are in technology. In Washington state, we have 23K open computing jobs and only 1K computer science graduates. Of all the jobs opening in computing (in 2020), US graduates will only fill 29% of those jobs, and women will fill only 3% of them. There is a need that will open the future of the next generation and, if the need is met, will help their generation’s national economy possibly more than any other factor. And that will be done simply by filling those jobs with graduates.
My passion for our next generation led me to helping lead the Small Basic team at Microsoft. After we ran our first “Every Girl Can Code” Microsoft Hackathon in 2016, I met Cathi Rodgveller. I learned about the great work that Ashley Myers and Aparna Vishwanathan were doing to run “Teaching Kids Programming” workshops at Microsoft, with Microsoft Small Basic. As the tides were turning (and the guard was changing), we had the opportunity to build up a team to continue their work and run our current Microsoft Coding Workshops series, leveraging Small Basic. We average about 70 students a workshop and one workshop a month now, with our largest workshop currently at 111 IGNITE students. And we continue to push the envelope (rip open the thinking box) as we look at running Mobile Coding Workshops (at the schools), Virtual Sessions, Coding Clubs, and a Coding Conference, as well as open up more workshops and sessions to elementary schools.
Why I support IGNITE and continue to partner with them (and with our large team of astonishing volunteers), is best encapsulated by simply reading some of these quotes from the girls, about some of our IGNITE workshops… “The lessons at the beginning were Awesome. I love what we learned in Small Basic. I loved it so much that when I got home I downloaded this and did more coding.” – Grade 8 (blog); “What I enjoyed was the coding we did in the beginning and it made me think, what else can I do?” – Grade 9 (blog); “They showed us our potential as high schoolers, coders, and young women.” – HS Student (blog); “I learned that coding is easier than I thought. I was also inspired to study harder to attend college and continue my education.” - Grade 3 (yeah, she’s 8) (blog); “I told my mom how much I learned and how it inspired me. This is the first time I got to learn how to code, and I love coding so much now.” – Grade 4 (blog)
In other words, IGNITE helps us change the next generation. I expect that Washington universities will get flooded with young women pursuing technology degrees and classes. And those girls will spread out around the country, to dozens of other universities. Eventually, those colleges will wonder why Washington state is (and other IGNITE areas) spawning so many young women in technology education. And eventually, they’ll find the answer. The answer will be dozens of reasons (lots of technology companies doing great things, lots of passionate teachers and schools, and so on). But the core nucleus will be what we’re all doing with IGNITE… what you’re helping IGNITE do. You are helping IGNITE change our nation for the next generation.
WHAT ABOUT IGNITE INSPIRES YOU?
I am astonished at how tirelessly and passionately the IGNITE team grows their program with schools and builds an impact in areas like San Francisco. Their team inspires me to keep going, to get our IGNITE programs running smoothly, and then to ask, “What’s next? What else can we do to help IGNITE?”
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE WITH THE WIDER COMMUNITY ABOUT IGNITE?
I’ve learned so much from IGNITE Worldwide. We’ll always want to teach these girls how to code and give them an early win in success in an area of STEM that seems too overwhelming. It inspires them to learn more.
But I’ve also learned how powerful these panels are. I’ve poured over hundreds of quotes from the students, and these young ladies remember the names and can accurately quote the women who are speaking into their lives. Your words have a major impact on these girls!
Ed is a Senior Program Manager in Azure Engineering at Microsoft. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management, an MBA in Technology Management, and he has been a teacher at Bellevue College. He ran Microsoft customer feedback programs for Azure Development and Platform, as well as Visual Studio and Small Basic. (Check out his Small Basic book.) He now publishes a pipeline of content (whitepapers, articles, samples, e-books) for AzureCAT (Customer Advisory team). He holds 5 patent awards for multi-touch designs on Microsoft Surface, as well as 13 Microsoft Hackathon awards for innovations in Help, Search, and Computer Programming (for kids and girls).
By teaming up with legends like Liz, Holly, Megan, Chandler, Kristi, Karin, and Jenn, he loves to help IGNITE Worldwide run Small Basic coding workshops, which teach thousands of girls how to code. He’s passionate about helping tackle the 10 challenges he sees girls face in computer science education.
Before Microsoft, he worked at Disneyland (ask about the “vomiting on Tea Cups” story), worked on videogames for Nintendo (such as Tetris and Pikmin), as well as for IBM, Jaleco, and Square/Enix, and he ran two animation studios, creating CG cartoons (fruits and bugs, for example). He is a father of 5 children (four girls); his children begin learning programming starting at age 4. Find Ed on LinkedIn. For a list of his publications, see Ed Price – Bibliography.