Computer Science Education Week Profiles – Roy Clay and John Thompson

This week (December 7 – 13, 2020) is Computer Science Education Week. Introduced by a collection of ACM Education Policy Committee in partnership with Congress, the first CSEdWeek was recognized by Congressional Resolution. This annual call to action calls upon partners throughout the United States like iUrban Teen to advocate for Computer Science Education as well as to “underscore the critical role of computing in all careers.”

This week, and in line with the 2020 theme for CSEdWeek: CS for Social Justice, we are excited to celebrate Pioneers of Color who have helped pave the way not only for the BIPOC community but have also made widespread contributions to the field of Computer Science, globally. Each day of the week we will feature (2) Industry Heroes, so be sure to come back daily for inspiration and a peek into the courageous and revolutionary lives of these great Leaders! We’re honored to play a part in guiding our iUrban Teens along the paths of these Trailblazers!


To kick off CSEdWeek, we would like to highlight Roy Clay, Sr., a founding member of the Computer Division at Hewlett-Packard. He has been called the “Godfather of Silicon Valley” and is currently the CEO of ROD-L Electronics. Clay was the director of the team in charge of developing the HP 2116A, one of Hewlett-Packard’s first mini-computers. This was in 1966 when most computers were the size of a whole room, so smaller computers changed the whole game!

Clay is also credited with making a huge impact on the development of Silicon Valley despite barriers that were put in his way based on the color of his skin. Early in his career, he was refused a job at McDonnell Aircraft Corporation and was told, “We don’t hire professional Negroes.” That, of course, didn’t stop him as he has continued full steam ahead. His success has paved the way for other Black Americans to thrive in the world of Computer Science.

Clay’s success opened doors for other Black men in Silicon Valley, then and now. John W. Thompson, current Independent Board Chairman at Microsoft, is one of these men. Since his joining the Board in 2014, he has guided the Company’s IT shift to the Cloud.

His many careers and philanthropic successes (including a 28-year tenure at IBM and service as CEO of Symantec) have led Thompson to continue his innovation endeavors as a Partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners, where he and his team are “on a mission to build the future.”

A first-degree holder from the prestigious HBCU Florida A&M University (FAMU), a Masters from MIT, and (2) honorary doctorates to his credit, Thompson has valued education and innovation in all aspects of Computer Science and Technology as a whole.

In today’s technological world, computer science is woven into all sorts of interesting and well-paying career tracks. Here at iUrban Teen, we encourage Youth of color to pursue careers like these as we connect them with industry leaders via our many programs. Programs such as iCode, iSpy (CyberSecurity), and iEngineer endeavor to give students the holistic experience they need to make an informed decision about what type of career they want to pursue based on what sparks their curiosity and creativity. Computer Science is woven into all three of these programs and in honor of CSEdWeek, we are offering (3) special classes to introduce students to Computer Science!

Be sure to sign up, as spots are filling fast!

For more information on iUrban Teen Programming and to learn about volunteer opportunities, please contact us! We’d love to hear from you and are always happy to welcome new partners on our mission to serve students in STEM and The Arts! Your contribution, whether in your time or through donation is sure to help us continue to guide and cultivate Students as they become the Technology Leaders of tomorrow!


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By iUrban Teen Staff Writers/Kevin Freeman

Kevin Freeman is the Programs Manager at iUrban Teen and has a background in Manufacturing and Industrial Energy Engineering. The technology space is near to Kevin’s heart and he appreciates any opportunity to build upon and share of the great innovations underway in the vast landscape!