In January 2016, ECS team member Jane Margolis was recognized by the White House as a Computer Science Education Champion of Change.

ECS’s Jane Margolis is in the center.



Office of the Press Secretary

January 21, 2016

White House to Recognize Computer Science Education “Champions of Change”

“In the coming years, we should build on that progress, by providing Pre-K for all and offering every student the hands-on computer science and math classes that make them job-ready on day one.” —President Obama in his 2016 State of the Union Address

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Tuesday, January 26, the White House will recognize nine individuals from across the country as “White House Champions of Change for Computer Science Education.”

These individuals were selected by the White House for their leadership and innovation in expanding access to computer science education and for inspiring the next generation to use 21st century tools to better their communities. They recognize that providing access to computer science education is a critical step for ensuring that our Nation remains competitive in the global economy and strengthen its cybersecurity.

A year ago, President Obama became the first President to write a line of code, and in his State of the Union address, he issued a broad call to action to expand computer science across the nation’s K-12 classrooms. Thanks to the efforts of teachers, parents, state and local officials, educators, philanthropists and CEOs, there is a rapidly growing movement to give every child the opportunity to learn computer science.

The program will feature remarks by Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett, Acting Secretary for the United States Department of Education John King, Chief Technology Officer of the United States Megan Smith, actress and director Gillian Jacobs, and co-founder and executive director of Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls Meredith Walker.

The Champions of Change program was created as an opportunity for the White House to feature individuals doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities. The event will be live streamed on the White House website at on Tuesday, January 26, at 1:00 PM ET. To learn more about the White House Champions of Change program, Follow the conversation at #WHChamps.

Cordell Carter, II—Chattanooga, Tennessee
Cordell is the Chief Executive Officer of TechTown Foundation, Inc., an operator of technology and arts education centers designed to level the playing field for young innovators through access to state of the art technology, training in 21st century skills and career awareness. Previously he was Chief of Staff and Director, U.S. Programs for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Vice President of Operations for the National Alliance of Public Charter School and Vice President of Public Policy, leading the Education and Workforce Committee, for Business Roundtable. Earlier in his career, he served as Seattle Public School District Director of School Support Services, a Robert Bosch Foundation Fellow with Kreditanstalt fuer Wiederaufbau Bankengruppe and a strategy consultant with the IBM Corporation.

Andrea Chaves—Astoria, New York
Andrea Chaves is a Spanish and Computer Science teacher and creative director at the Young Women’s Leadership School in Astoria, NY. There she has integrated digital education and coding into all of her classes, including Spanish. Andrea also leads a group of students known as the “Tech Crew,” composed of filmmakers, graphic designers, coders, website designers, and project managers. Under Andrea’s guidance, these young women collaborate to solve problems around school like teaching students about recycling through coding educational video games.

Grace Clark—New Orleans, Louisiana
Grace Clark is a sophomore at International High School in New Orleans, LA and is a student intern with Operation Spark, which offers free technology training and coding courses to young people in New Orleans. Through Operation Spark, Grace worked with the New Orleans Police Department on a policing data event where she taught New Orleans Police Chief Michael Harrison to write his first line of code. She also teaches coding to children at Arthur Ashe Elementary and attended the 2014 Essence Festival to represent inner city youth in coding and technology. Grace wants to become an educator and teach English and computer programming in New Orleans.

James Forde—Stamford, Connecticut
James (Jim) Forde is a 7th grade science teacher at Cloonan Middle School in Stamford, CT. Jim was the Stamford Public Schools’ Teacher of the Year and is an active STEM education advocate. He has served as the district’s STEM Professional and is involved in developing STEM curricula, planning of a city wide STEM festival, providing STEM professional development, and promoting STEM education. Jim curates a popular STEM Education Twitter feed for STEM educators and organizations, @stemnetwork, with more than 3,000 followers from across the nation. He also sponsors the Computer Coding Club at Cloonan Middle School and a 3D printing club.

Christina Li—Macomb, Michigan
Christina Li is a senior at Adlai E. Stevenson High School and the Utica Center for Math, Science, and Technology. She is the Vice President of Controls for her FIRST robotics on team #217 the ThunderChickens. Christina created Hello World, a week-long Computer Science day camp for thirty middle school girls to learn how to code robots, apps, websites, and games. Through the program, Christina hosted online and in-person meetings with female computer engineers from Google, Microsoft, the Michigan Council for Women in Technology and Ford Motors, and field trips to the Microsoft Tech Center, Google Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan. Through Hello World, Christina aims to help lower the gender gap in computer science.

Andreas Stefik—Las Vegas, Nevada
Andreas Stefik, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of computer science at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. For the last decade, he has been creating technologies that make it easier for people, including those with disabilities, to write computer software. With grants from the National Science Foundation, he established the first national educational infrastructure for blind or visually impaired students to learn computer science. He is the inventor of Quorum, the first evidence-oriented programming language. The design of Quorum is based on rigorous empirical data from experiments on human behavior.

Jane Margolis—Los Angeles, California
Jane Margolis is a researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, where she investigates why so few women and students of color have learned computer science. Based on research discussed in her books Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computingand Stuck in the Shallow End: Education, Race and Computing, she and her collaborators, with support from the National Science Foundation, created Exploring Computer Science (ECS), a high school curriculum and teacher professional development program committed to reaching all students, especially those in underserved communities and schools. ECS now exists across the nation, including in seven of the largest school districts.

Karen North—Houston, Texas
Karen North is a retired computer science and math teacher and has been an advocate for Computer Science education since 1985. She has fought to keep computer science certification for teachers and played an integral part in increasing programming and computational thinking in the K-8 Texas math standards. She now serves as a affiliate, a Code Buddy for Spring Branch Independent School District and a volunteer with the American Association of University Women, the National Center for Women & Information Technology, and the International Society for Technology Education Computing Teachers Network, among others.

Angelica Willis—Greensboro, North Carolina
Angelica Willis is an undergraduate Computer Science student at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. She currently spearheads an initiative to develop an entrepreneurship, design and Computer Science centered Makerspace for at-risk youth and underrepresented communities in Greensboro. She is a 2015-2016 Student Ambassador through the White House Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) All-Stars program, a 2016 CODE2040 Fellow, a 2016 Apple HBCU Scholar and a Stanford University Epicenter’s University Innovation Fellow. Angelica interned with NASA, where she worked on ecological forecasting research with space satellites to support reforestation in Rwanda.