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St. Luke’s Catholic Health Initiatives and Dignity Health merging

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Keep going for a look at how Houston hospitals rate.

Keep going for a look at how Houston hospitals rate.

Photo: Houston Chronicle








































Catholic Health Initiatives, the owner of St. Luke’s Health System, and Dignity Health have merged, the two Catholic institutions announced Thursday.

The agreement will create the largest non-profit health system in the country.

“We are joining together to create a new Catholic health system, one that is positioned to accelerate the change from sick-care to well-care across the United States,” Kevin E. Lofton, CEO of Catholic Health Initiatives, said in a statement. “Our new organization will have the talent, depth, breadth, and passion to improve the health of every person and community we serve.”


Many businesses are looking to expand with monumental deals and acquisitions.


Media: Houston Chronicle


Lloyd Dean, president and CEO of Dignity, added that “by combining our ministries and building upon our shared mission, we will expand our commitment to meeting the needs of all people with compassion, regardless of income, ethnicity, or language. “We foresee an incredible opportunity to expand each organization’s best practices to respond to the evolving health care environment and deliver high-quality, cost-effective care.”


The new entity will comprise 139 hospitals and employ 159,000 people. Its combined revenue will be $28. 4 billion.

It is still unclear exactly what the merger will mean for CHI’s Texas division, which includes St. Luke’s in Houston. Catholic Health Initiatives acquired the venerable Houston hospital system in 2013.

Crossroads, Beacon Health merging – News



Two Lake County mental and behavioral health agencies are merging for what they say will more effectively support the needs of both children and adults in the area.

Crossroads and Beacon Health boards of directors separately voted Nov. 28 to move forward with a merger. Both votes were unanimous.

Crossroads provides a “continuum of care for children, adolescents and young adults who are experiencing emotional and behavioral changes.” Beacon Health “promotes wellness and enhances the lives of adults with mental illness and substance abuse disorders to live, learn and participate fully in their family and community.”

The agencies say clients will not see a change in their level of care and will continue receiving service from their current provider.

Crossroads Chief Executive Officer Mike Matoney said they believe the merger will lead to better outcomes and results because they’ll be treating clients in an integrated fashion, rather than separate and distinct. With changes in Medicaid via Behavioral Health Redesign in Ohio taking place Jan. 1, Matoney said now is the right time for the merger.

Matoney, who will be the CEO of the merged organization, said talks of joining forces started about two years ago, but really began in earnest between Christmas and New Year’s last year.

The merger process will take place over the course of several months. The agencies will begin their affiliation on Jan. 2, with the full merger taking place midway through the year.

The combined organization does not yet have a name and is something that will be determined during the merger process.

Matoney said all locations will remain open and staffing levels will be maintained according to the agencies. Clients with questions are asked to call 440-255-1700 or 440-354-9924.

Both agencies are nonprofits and received part of their funding through the Lake County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board.

“Both of these agencies have been key players in our system and we believe the new whole will truly be greater than the sum of its parts,” ADAMHS Board Executive Director Kim Fraser said.

Beacon Health Chief Executive Officer Spence Kline said his agency and Crossroads have historically worked well together and called the merger a natural progression. Kline will serve as chief strategy officer of the merged agency.

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VA exploring idea of merging health system with Pentagon – Quad

WASHINGTON (AP) — As part of its effort to expand private health care, the Department of Veterans Affairs is exploring the possibility of merging its health system with the Pentagon’s, a cost-saving measure that veterans groups say could threaten the viability of VA hospitals and clinics.

VA spokesman Curt Cashour called the plan a potential “game-changer” that would “provide better care for veterans at a lower cost to taxpayers,” but he provided no specific details.

Griffin Anderson, a spokesman for the Democrats on the House Veterans Affairs Committee, said the proposal — developed without input from Congress — would amount to a merger of the VA’s Choice and the military’s TRICARE private health care programs. Committee Democrats independently confirmed the discussions involved TRICARE.

News of the plan stirred alarm from veterans groups, who said they had not been consulted, and sharp criticism from congressional Democrats who pledged to oppose any VA privatization effort that forces veterans “to pay out of pocket for the benefits they have earned with their heroism.” VA is seeking a long-term legislative fix for Choice by year’s end.

“Today, we see evidence that the Trump administration is quietly planning to dismantle veterans’ health care,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. “House Democrats will fight tooth and nail against any efforts to diminish or destroy VA’s irreplaceable role as the chief coordinator, advocate and manager of care for veterans.”

Health care experts also expressed surprise that VA would consider a TRICARE merger to provide private care for millions of active-duty troops, military retirees and veterans. The two departments generally serve very different patient groups —older, sicker veterans treated by VA and generally healthier service members, retirees and their families covered by TRICARE.

TRICARE is insurance that is paid by the government, but uses private doctors and hospitals. The VA provides most of its care via medical centers and clinics owned and run by the federal government, though veterans can also see private doctors through VA’s Choice program with referrals by VA if appointments aren’t readily available.

“My overarching concern is these are very dramatic changes in the way health care is delivered to veterans,” said Carrie Farmer, a senior policy researcher on military care at Rand Corp., who has conducted wide-ranging research for VA. “There haven’t been studies on what the consequences are in terms of both costs and quality of care.”

Navy Commander Sarah Higgins, a Pentagon spokeswoman, confirmed it was exploring with VA “many possible opportunities to strengthen and streamline the health of our service members and veterans.” She declined to comment on specifics “unless and until there is something to announce.”

In its statement to The Associated Press, Cashour explained that VA Secretary David Shulkin was working with the White House and the Pentagon to explore “the general concept” of integrating VA and Pentagon health care, building upon an already planned merger of electronic health care records between VA and the Pentagon. Because Shulkin has said an overhaul of VA’s electronic medical records won’t be completed for another seven to eight years, an effort such as a TRICARE merger likely couldn’t happen before then.

“This is part of the president’s efforts to transform how government works and is precisely the type of businesslike, commonsense approach that rarely exists in Washington,” Cashour said.

At least four of the nation’s largest veterans’ organizations — The American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, AMVETS and Disabled American Veterans — called a TRICARE merger a likely “non-starter” if it sought to transform VA care into an insurance plan.

“VA is a health care provider and the VFW would oppose any effort to erode the system specifically created to serve the health care needs of our nation’s veterans by reducing VA’s role to a payer of care for veterans,” said Bob Wallace, executive director of VFW’s Washington office.

Louis Celli, director of veterans’ affairs and rehabilitation for The American Legion, said any attempts to outsource services away from VA medical centers and clinics would be financially unsustainable and likely shift costs unfairly onto veterans with service-connected disabilities.

He noted something similar occurred with TRICARE — military retirees were promised free care from military base hospitals. But then TRICARE began offering insurance to use private-sector care, and TRICARE beneficiary co-pays are now rising. “The precedent the TRICARE model sets is not something we would accept on the VA side,” Celli said.

During the 2016 campaign, President Donald Trump pledged to fix VA by expanding access to private doctors. In July, he promised to triple the number of veterans “seeing the doctor of their choice.” More than 30 percent of VA appointments are made in the private sector.

Some groups have drawn political battle lines, with the left-leaning VoteVets and the American Federation of Government Employees warning of privatization, and Concerned Veterans for America, backed by the billionaire conservative Koch brothers, pledging a well-funded campaign to give veterans wide freedom to see private doctors.

Rep. Tim Walz of Minnesota, the top Democrat on the House Veterans Affairs Committee, called for an immediate public explanation “without delay” for the quiet discussions to integrate TRICARE with VA’s Choice.

“The fact that the Trump administration has been having these secret conversations behind the backs of Congress and our nation’s veterans is absolutely unacceptable,” said Walz, the highest-ranking enlisted service member to serve in Congress.

A spokeswoman for Rep. Phil Roe of Tennessee, the Republican chairman of the House committee, said he planned to proceed with his bipartisan legislative plan to fix Choice without integrating TRICARE.

VA exploring idea of merging health system with Pentagon – Quad

WASHINGTON (AP) — As part of its effort to expand private health care, the Department of Veterans Affairs is exploring the possibility of merging its health system with the Pentagon’s, a cost-saving measure that veterans groups say could threaten the viability of VA hospitals and clinics.

VA spokesman Curt Cashour called the plan a potential “game-changer” that would “provide better care for veterans at a lower cost to taxpayers,” but he provided no specific details.

Griffin Anderson, a spokesman for the Democrats on the House Veterans Affairs Committee, said the proposal — developed without input from Congress — would amount to a merger of the VA’s Choice and the military’s TRICARE private health care programs. Committee Democrats independently confirmed the discussions involved TRICARE.

News of the plan stirred alarm from veterans groups, who said they had not been consulted, and sharp criticism from congressional Democrats who pledged to oppose any VA privatization effort that forces veterans “to pay out of pocket for the benefits they have earned with their heroism.” VA is seeking a long-term legislative fix for Choice by year’s end.

“Today, we see evidence that the Trump administration is quietly planning to dismantle veterans’ health care,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. “House Democrats will fight tooth and nail against any efforts to diminish or destroy VA’s irreplaceable role as the chief coordinator, advocate and manager of care for veterans.”

Health care experts also expressed surprise that VA would consider a TRICARE merger to provide private care for millions of active-duty troops, military retirees and veterans. The two departments generally serve very different patient groups —older, sicker veterans treated by VA and generally healthier service members, retirees and their families covered by TRICARE.

TRICARE is insurance that is paid by the government, but uses private doctors and hospitals. The VA provides most of its care via medical centers and clinics owned and run by the federal government, though veterans can also see private doctors through VA’s Choice program with referrals by VA if appointments aren’t readily available.

“My overarching concern is these are very dramatic changes in the way health care is delivered to veterans,” said Carrie Farmer, a senior policy researcher on military care at Rand Corp., who has conducted wide-ranging research for VA. “There haven’t been studies on what the consequences are in terms of both costs and quality of care.”

Navy Commander Sarah Higgins, a Pentagon spokeswoman, confirmed it was exploring with VA “many possible opportunities to strengthen and streamline the health of our service members and veterans.” She declined to comment on specifics “unless and until there is something to announce.”

In its statement to The Associated Press, Cashour explained that VA Secretary David Shulkin was working with the White House and the Pentagon to explore “the general concept” of integrating VA and Pentagon health care, building upon an already planned merger of electronic health care records between VA and the Pentagon. Because Shulkin has said an overhaul of VA’s electronic medical records won’t be completed for another seven to eight years, an effort such as a TRICARE merger likely couldn’t happen before then.

“This is part of the president’s efforts to transform how government works and is precisely the type of businesslike, commonsense approach that rarely exists in Washington,” Cashour said.

At least four of the nation’s largest veterans’ organizations — The American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, AMVETS and Disabled American Veterans — called a TRICARE merger a likely “non-starter” if it sought to transform VA care into an insurance plan.

“VA is a health care provider and the VFW would oppose any effort to erode the system specifically created to serve the health care needs of our nation’s veterans by reducing VA’s role to a payer of care for veterans,” said Bob Wallace, executive director of VFW’s Washington office.

Louis Celli, director of veterans’ affairs and rehabilitation for The American Legion, said any attempts to outsource services away from VA medical centers and clinics would be financially unsustainable and likely shift costs unfairly onto veterans with service-connected disabilities.

He noted something similar occurred with TRICARE — military retirees were promised free care from military base hospitals. But then TRICARE began offering insurance to use private-sector care, and TRICARE beneficiary co-pays are now rising. “The precedent the TRICARE model sets is not something we would accept on the VA side,” Celli said.

During the 2016 campaign, President Donald Trump pledged to fix VA by expanding access to private doctors. In July, he promised to triple the number of veterans “seeing the doctor of their choice.” More than 30 percent of VA appointments are made in the private sector.

Some groups have drawn political battle lines, with the left-leaning VoteVets and the American Federation of Government Employees warning of privatization, and Concerned Veterans for America, backed by the billionaire conservative Koch brothers, pledging a well-funded campaign to give veterans wide freedom to see private doctors.

Rep. Tim Walz of Minnesota, the top Democrat on the House Veterans Affairs Committee, called for an immediate public explanation “without delay” for the quiet discussions to integrate TRICARE with VA’s Choice.

“The fact that the Trump administration has been having these secret conversations behind the backs of Congress and our nation’s veterans is absolutely unacceptable,” said Walz, the highest-ranking enlisted service member to serve in Congress.

A spokeswoman for Rep. Phil Roe of Tennessee, the Republican chairman of the House committee, said he planned to proceed with his bipartisan legislative plan to fix Choice without integrating TRICARE.

Veterans Affairs exploring idea of merging health system with Pentagon

WASHINGTON — As part of its effort to expand private health care, the Department of Veterans Affairs is exploring the possibility of merging its health system with the Pentagon’s, a cost-saving measure that veterans groups say could threaten the viability of VA hospitals and clinics.

VA spokesman Curt Cashour called the plan a potential “game-changer” that would “provide better care for veterans at a lower cost to taxpayers,” but he provided no specific details.

Griffin Anderson, a spokesman for the Democrats on the House Veterans Affairs Committee, said the proposal — developed without input from Congress — would amount to a merger of the VA’s Choice and the military’s TRICARE private health care programs. Committee Democrats independently confirmed the discussions involved TRICARE.

News of the plan stirred alarm from veterans groups, who said they had not been consulted, even as VA urges a long-term legislative fix for Choice by year’s end.

Health care experts also expressed surprise that VA would consider a TRICARE merger to provide private care for millions of active-duty troops, military retirees and veterans. The two departments generally serve very different patient groups —older, sicker veterans treated by VA and generally healthier service members, retirees and their families covered by TRICARE.

TRICARE is insurance that is paid by the government, but uses private doctors and hospitals. The VA provides most of its care via medical centers and clinics owned and run by the federal government, though veterans can also see private doctors through VA’s Choice program with referrals by VA if appointments aren’t readily available.

“My overarching concern is these are very dramatic changes in the way health care is delivered to veterans,” said Carrie Farmer, a senior policy researcher on military care at Rand Corp., who has conducted wide-ranging research for VA. “There haven’t been studies on what the consequences are in terms of both costs and quality of care.”

Navy Commander Sarah Higgins, a Pentagon spokeswoman, confirmed it was exploring with VA “many possible opportunities to strengthen and streamline the health of our service members and veterans.” She declined to comment on specifics “unless and until there is something to announce.”

In its statement to The Associated Press, Cashour explained that VA Secretary David Shulkin was working with the White House and the Pentagon to explore “the general concept” of integrating VA and Pentagon health care, building upon an already planned merger of electronic health care records between VA and the Pentagon. Because Shulkin has said an overhaul of VA’s electronic medical records won’t be completed for another seven to eight years, an effort such as a TRICARE merger couldn’t likely happen before then.

“This is part of the president’s efforts to transform how government works and is precisely the type of businesslike, commonsense approach that rarely exists in Washington,” Cashour said.

At least four of the nation’s largest veterans’ organizations — The American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, AMVETS and Disabled American Veterans — called a TRICARE merger a likely “non-starter” if it sought to transform VA care into an insurance plan.

“VA is a health care provider and the VFW would oppose any effort to erode the system specifically created to serve the health care needs of our nation’s veterans by reducing VA’s role to a payer of care for veterans,” said Bob Wallace, executive director of VFW’s Washington office.

Louis Celli, director of veterans’ affairs and rehabilitation for The American Legion, said any attempts to outsource services away from VA medical centers and clinics would be financially unsustainable and likely shift costs unfairly onto veterans with service-connected disabilities.

He noted something similar occurred with TRICARE — military retirees were promised free care from military base hospitals. But then TRICARE began offering insurance to use private-sector care and TRICARE beneficiary co-pays are now rising. “The precedent the TRICARE model sets is not something we would accept on the VA side,” Celli said.

During the 2016 campaign, President Donald Trump pledged to fix VA by expanding access to private doctors. In July, he promised to triple the number of veterans “seeing the doctor of their choice.” More than 30 percent of VA appointments are made in the private sector.

Some groups have drawn political battle lines, with the left-leaning VoteVets and the American Federation of Government Employees warning of privatization and Concerned Veterans for America, backed by the billionaire conservative Koch brothers, pledging a well-funded campaign to give veterans wide freedom to see private doctors.

Rep. Tim Walz of Minnesota, the top Democrat on the House Veterans Affairs Committee, said the quiet discussions to integrate TRICARE with VA’s Choice were evidence “the White House was taking steps to force unprecedented numbers of veterans into the private sector for their care.”

“The fact that the Trump administration has been having these secret conversations behind the backs of Congress and our nation’s veterans is absolutely unacceptable,” said Walz, the highest-ranking enlisted service member to serve in Congress. He called for an immediate public explanation “without delay.”

A spokeswoman for Rep. Phil Roe of Tennessee, the Republican chairman of the House committee, said he planned to continue proceeding with his bipartisan legislative plan to fix Choice without integrating TRICARE.

Google’s ‘Dress Code’ Event Inspires Teens by Merging Computer Science With Fashion in Ingenious Ways

a08ee_rftqnbyhmppgpkjjauuf Google's 'Dress Code' Event Inspires Teens by Merging Computer Science With Fashion in Ingenious Ways
Getty Images

When you hear of careers in computer science and coding, you may immediately think of stereotypically boring nerds in short-sleeved button-ups and pocket protectors staring at lines of binary scrolling across a screen. But what if code could create a holographic dress or a purse that lights up in different colors depending on who is calling you on your cellphone?

Google Dress Code, the third event in the company’s “CS+X” series, aimed to show students from Los Angeles-based high schools that coding careers may not be what they think.

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On Oct. 12 the company brought together the magical creativity of fashion design and coupled it with exciting new technological influences to show a diverse group of students that a career in code can be for anyone throughout various industries, including fashion.

The Google CS Education team travels across the U.S. talking to students about how their passions can become coding careers in a multitude of fields. Prior to Dress Code, there was Hacking the Note, which highlighted careers that combine computer science and music, and Program the Beat, which showed students how dance comes alive with code.

Daraiha Greene (Getty Images)

Google CS+X will continue to inspire teens to think about computer science in different ways later this month when it convenes in Silicon Valley for Tech Slam, which will explore how the worlds of computer science and sports collide. That event will feature special guest Andre Iguodala of the Golden State Warriors.

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Last Thursday’s event featured a fully immersive tech fair before the main-stage panels and presentation began. There were different booths for the students to explore that featured everything from 3-D-printed ice pops to the world’s first intelligent purse.

CS+X is the brainchild of Daraiha Greene, head of CS in Media Multicultural Strategy at Google. She told The Root: “CS+X happened because I wanted to get diverse students to Google so that they could see themselves reflected in computer science careers. This is a field where they don’t often see diverse representations, and this is a way to make that happen.”

Greene advocates and leads strategies for people of color, the LGBTQIA+ community, people with disabilities and other underrepresented groups. Her team pitches inclusive representations of CS to mainstream media, including TV or digital shows and movies.

Cierra Ramirez (Getty Images)

A Dartmouth graduate with bachelor’s degrees in sociology and theater, Greene began performing as a dancer and in theater and plays at the age of 4. She began CS+X as a means of highlighting the intersection between computer science and other artistic industries including music, dance, fashion, sports and theater.

“I’m really proud to be a nerd,” Greene told the gathered crowd of teenagers. “I think it’s super cool!”

The event was hosted by actress, singer and model Cierra Ramirez, who can be seen playing the role of Mariana on the television show The Fosters.

During the event, Ramirez wore a dress created by one of the participants on the CS+Fashion Industry panelists, Dalia MacPhee. The dress was a prototype that featured fiber optic lights MacPhee was able to control from her phone. The lights changed colors, blinked on and off, and the dress featured a detachable battery.

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Ramirez looked fabulous in the dress and told The Root: “It’s an amazing honor to wear this dress. Can you imagine me in the club wearing this?”

It wasn’t hard to imagine her in the club with it; the dress can also be musically activated.

Tech Style Influencers panel (Getty Images)

Ramirez did a fantastic hosting job and moved the event seamlessly between the keynote speaker, Shirin Salemnia, and the two panels: Tech Style Influencers and CS+Fashion Industry.

Advertisement

During her keynote address, Salemnia told the gathered teens “Geek is chic,” a theme that seemed to connect the entire evening.

She told the students to be unicorns, to learn as many life lessons as possible and to be unique.

“Dream big,” Salemnia said, “but be careful what you wish for.”

“Follow your intuition. Do research. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Be curious. Take chances. Learn how to code. Learn new coding languages,” she said.

Advertisement

Salemnia’s keynote was followed by the Tech Style Influencers panel, which featured moderator Jon Youshaei, product marketing manager at Google, and panelists Cloe Feldman, a YouTuber known as Cloe Couture; Darren Moulden, fashion, style and travel influencer from @darrenwearsitwell; Ale La Chula, a YouTuber and the owner of LA Sunnies; Jon Phenam, digital media strategist and fashion branding; and Brittany Dke, whose YouTube channel, BritxBrat2Fashion, features tutorials on fashion design and sewing.

Keynote speaker Shirin Salemnia (Getty Images)

Dke said that she chose sewing to stand out on YouTube because there were not many channels featuring the craft. She did gown tutorials to start out, and it grew from there. She has worked with Michael Costello, who has dressed some of the biggest names in the fashion industry, including Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and Britney Spears.

Advertisement

“When you are really passionate about something, you will succeed at it,” Dke advised the teens.

Nina Vir, who participated on the CS+Fashion Industry panel, is just 23 years old. Her advice to the gathered teens?

“Don’t be so quick to define your passion.”

That’s something that was echoed by other participants on the panel, including Janne Kyttanen of Pixsweet.

Advertisement

“Stay curious,” Kyttanen said. “Meet the weird people. You will find inspiration in places you wouldn’t imagine.”

Kyttanen also advised the group, “Don’t be entertained; be the entertainer.”

Brittany Dke (Getty Images)

“If you can’t stop thinking about it, and your desire for it won’t go away, it’s for you,” MacPhee said.

Advertisement

Being curious and exploring different avenues is what can lead to finding new ways of using computer science and coding in different fields, and that was the point of the entire evening.

“There’s no such thing as growing up. There’s no such thing as being one thing when you grow up. What you want to be will change,” Youshaei said.

That is inspirational even for those of us who fall into the “grown-up” category.

Good job, Google.

Google’s Dress Code Event Inspires Teens By Merging Computer Science With Fashion In Ingenious Ways

329d3_itnfl89mki1znmtiv4qo Google's Dress Code Event Inspires Teens By Merging Computer Science With Fashion In Ingenious Ways
Daraiha Greene and Cierra Ramirez at Google’s Dress Code event (Dilan Kennedy)

When you hear of careers in computer science and coding, you may immediately think of stereotypically boring nerds in short-sleeve button-ups and pocket protectors staring at lines of binary scrolling a screen. But what if code could create a holographic dress or a purse that lights up in different colors depending on who is calling you on your cellular phone?

Google Dress Code, the third event in the company’s “CS+X” series, aimed to show students from Los Angeles-based high schools that coding careers may not be what they think. On Oct. 12, the company brought together the magical creativity of fashion design and coupled it with exciting new technology influences to show a diverse group of students that a career in code can be for anyone throughout various industries, including fashion.

(Dilan Kennedy)

The Google CS Education team travels across the US talking to students about how their passions can become coding careers in a multitude of fields. Prior to Dress Code, there was Hacking the Note, which highlighted careers that combine computer science and music, and Program the Beat, which showed students how dance comes alive with code.

Advertisement

Google CS+X will continue to inspire teens to think about computer science in different ways later this month when it convenes in Silicon Valley for Tech Slam, which will explore how the worlds of computer science and sports collide. That event will feature special guest Andre Iguodala of the Golden State Warriors.

Thursday’s event featured a fully immersive tech fair before the main stage panels and presentation began. There were different booths for the students to explore that featured everything from 3D printed ice pops to the world’s first intelligent purse.

3D printed ice pops made by Pixsweet (Dilan Kennedy)

CS+X is the brainchild of Daraiha Greene, head of CS in Media Multicultural Strategy at Google. She told The Root, “CS+X happened because I wanted to get diverse students to Google so that they could see themselves reflected in computer science careers. This is a field where they don’t often see diverse representations, and this is a way to make that happen.”

Advertisement

Greene advocates and leads strategies for people of color, the LGBTQIA+ community, people with disabilities, and other underrepresented groups. Her team pitches inclusive representations of CS to mainstream media including TV/digital shows and movies.

A Dartmouth graduate with bachelor degrees in sociology and theater, Greene began performing as a dancer and in theater and plays at the age of 4. She began CS+X as a means of highlighting the intersection between computer science and other artistic industries including music, dance, fashion, sports and theater.

“I’m really proud to be a nerd,” Greene told the gathered crowd of teenagers. “I think it’s super cool!”

(Dilan Kennedy)

The event was hosted by actress, singer and model Cierra Ramirez, who can currently be seen playing the role of Mariana on the television show The Fosters.

During the event, Ramirez wore a dress created by one of the participants on the CS+Fashion Industry panelists, Dalia MacPhee. The dress was a prototype that featured fiber optic lights MacPhee was able to control from her phone. The lights changed colors, blinked on and off and the dress featured a detachable battery.

Ramirez looked fabulous in the dress and told The Root, “It’s an amazing honor to wear this dress. Can you imagine me in the club wearing this?”

It wasn’t hard to imagine her in the club with it; the dress can also be musically activated.

Advertisement

Ramirez did a fantastic hosting job and moved the event seamlessly between the keynote speaker, Shirin Salemnia, and the two panels — Tech Style Influencers and CS+Fashion Industry.

Keynote speaker Shirin Salemnia (Dilan Kennedy)

During her keynote address, Salemnia told the gathered teens that “geek is chic,” a theme that seemed to connect the entire evening.

Advertisement

She told the students to be unicorns, learn as many life lessons as possible and to be unique.

“Dream big,” Salemnia said, “but be careful what you wish for.”

“Follow your intuition. Do research. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Be curious. Take chances. Learn how to code Learn new coding languages,” she said.

Advertisement

Salemnia’s keynote was followed by the Tech Style Influencers panel, which featured moderator Jon Youshaei, Product Marketing Manager at Google, and panelists Cloe Feldman, a YouTuber known as Cloe Couture; Darren Moulden, Fashion Style, and Travel Influencer from @darrenwearsitwell; Ale La Chula, a YouTuber and the owner of LA Sunnies; Jon Phenam, Digital Media Strategist and Fashion Branding; and Brittany Dke, whose YouTube channel “BritxBrat2Fashion” features tutorials on fashion design and sewing.

Dke said that she chose sewing to stand out on YouTube because there were not many channels featuring the craft. She did gown tutorials to start out, and it grew from there. She has worked with Michael Costello, who has dressed some of the biggest names in the fashion industry including Beyonce, Lady Gaga and Britney Spears.

“When you are really passionate about something, you will succeed at it,” Dke advised the teens.

(Dilan Kennedy)

Nina Vir, who participated on the CS+Fashion Industry panel, is just 23 years old. Her advice to the gathered teens?

“Don’t be so quick to define your passion.”

That’s something that was echoed by other participants on the panel including Janne Kyttanen of Pixsweet.

Advertisement

“Stay curious,” Kyttanen said. “Meet the weird people. You will find inspiration in places you wouldn’t imagine.”

Kyttanen also advised the group, “Don’t be entertained, be the entertainer.”

“If you can’t stop thinking about it, and your desire for it won’t go away, it’s for you,” MacPhee said.

Advertisement

Being curious and exploring different avenues is what can lead to finding new ways of using computer science and coding in different fields, and that was the point of the entire evening.

“There’s no such thing as growing up. There’s no such thing as being one thing when you grow up. What you want to be will change,” Youshaei said.

That is inspirational even for those of us who fall into the “grown up” category.

Good job, Google.




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