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NWAIS News

Aspiring Computer Scientists at Academy For Precision Learning Boost Their Talent With Help From Microsoft Outreach Program
Posted 12/19/2016 10:47AM

From an article posted at the KOMO News (Seattle, WA) website:


There's no shortage of dreams in this middle-school classroom at the Academy for Precision Learning (Seattle, WA). Seventh-grader Ben Hudgings has an interest in global warming. "I wanted to be a scientist when I grow up. I wanted to be an animal biologist," he said.

Most of these classmates have autism, which can be a huge barrier to getting a job. Katie Hart knows how hard it is to be on the spectrum and make it past the first interview.

"I wouldn't answer any questions if they asked if I had a disability,” she said. “I was kind of afraid they would discriminate against my disability."

A year ago, Hart landed a job at Microsoft through the company's autism hiring program. The interview process lasts two weeks, allowing more time for talent and ability to shine through. Now, she is sharing her experience through a program called TEALS that puts volunteers from companies like Microsoft, Amazon, and Google into schools, teaching computer science.

This is the volunteers' first time at a school that primarily serves students with autism. The TEALS program has been coming to the school all year, and during Computer Science Education Week, brought an Hour of Code to the middle-schoolers. They're tapping into plenty of talent.


Watch a video of the class in action and read the full article here.
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