City of Long Beach 
Public Information Office
411 W. Ocean Blvd, 
Long Beach, CA 90802

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEPress Release # CM: 030916
City, Microsoft Launch First Digi Camps in Long Beach
Alma Castro
City of Long Beach Innovation Fellow

The City of Long Beach, in a Digital Alliance with Microsoft Corp., provided 91 Washington Middle School students with technical training and exposure to professional careers in the technology sector on March 7 and 8. The first Digi Camps in Long Beach saw 43 girls participate on Monday, and 48 boys participate on Tuesday.

“Long Beach is a world class city, and we are committed to supporting our local technology and innovation leaders of all ages,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “It is especially important to nurture young leaders today, so we are proud to partner with Microsoft, a global leader in innovation, technology, and education, to help students build the skills necessary to pursue modern jobs.”

During the Digi Camps at the Long Beach Main Library, the students were introduced to technology and coding, and learned how to create programs using their phones or tablets with the software, Mindcraft and TouchDevelop.

According to Microsoft, 77 percent of jobs in the next decade will require tech skills, yet only a small percent of young women are pursuing computer science education to prepare for these top jobs, despite the fact that seven out of 10 young girls start out with an interest in science and math at an early age.

“Microsoft is excited to support the City of Long Beach. We believe that the power of technology helps individuals and communities do more and achieve more, so they can ultimately realize their full potential,” said Celeste Alleyne, Director, Microsoft Citizenship & Public Affairs. “We continue to see that when students have access to foundational coding and computation skills at an early age, and are encouraged throughout their education and at home, they will continue to pursue science technology engineering and math (STEM) fields.”

The keynote speaker, Dwaine Streater, Executive Director of Paramount Property Operations, shared his experiences with the students about what it takes to oversee the studio’s day-to-day operations.

Speakers on the career panels represented different areas and roles in the technology sector that included some of Microsoft’s top professionals, such as Chandler Bootchk, Director of Risk, Security and Compliance; Andy Gottlieb, a University Recruiter; and Lena Gonzalez, Microsoft Community Development Specialist and City of Long Beach Councilwoman.

“I am very proud to work for a corporation like Microsoft and represent a city such as Long Beach that sees the value in bringing resources directly to both young men and women,” said Ms. Gonzalez. “Washington Middle School students are amazing young men and women, and I hope one day they see themselves working in STEM related careers.”

Lisa Mae Brunson, Founder of Wonder Women Tech, inspired students about the upcoming Wonder Women Tech international conference taking place in Long Beach in July 2016.

Daniel Meza, Senior Art Director for Change Agent, a social enterprise, spoke about his professional career as a digital media artist who works alongside urban youth to create professional video productions, graphic design projects and digital media training.

Finally, Dr. Birgit Penzenstadler, from the California State University, Long Beach Engineering Department, spoke about her research on environmental sustainability in software engineering.

The Digi Camps support the City’s goal to enhance innovation and technology access to youth. The City of Long Beach formed the Digital Alliance with Microsoft in June 2015.