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Systems engineering specialist Hemant Ramachandra (standing, second from right) and High School South teacher Amber Hull (standing, right) look on proudly as students present their work on sustainability in education. Ramachandra was a guest speaker at HSS March 14.

TR:TechReady Engagement Encourages Gender Equality

March 15, 2019-- High School South hosted a special guest speaker March 14 as part of the TR:TechReady program and its adoption of UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Hemant Ramachandra, a partner of Deloitte Consulting, LLP and a specialist in systems engineering practices, provided students with an overview of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and shared his personal experiences traveling the world working for women's advocacy and the furtherance of sustainability.

Ramachandra’s speaking engagement and Q&A was preceded by a 10-minute student presentation in which they shared their work exploring sustainability models in education.

Part of the mission of TR:TechReady is to target populations that are underserved in the fields of coding and computer programming, particularly females. In addition to his expertise in cross-platform technology, Ramachandra also serves as a Global UN Women HeForShe champion and supports Women in Technology initiatives to foster gender equality and motivate men to be champions for women in the workplace.

Ramachandra’s presentation was hosted in HSS’s Business Incubator, and its content was technology and business focused; in addition to TR:TechReady participants, his audience of more than 100 students per session included those in the school's Business Academy.

The all-day engagement was further enhanced by a Google Hangout with Aminka Belvitt, founder of the ForUsGirls Foundation, and a hands-on, tech-enhanced maker challenge aligned with UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The capstone for the day was a kickoff to NJ Makers Day. Students identified problems aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and began prototyping and designing solutions using Python and MIT App Inventor. For example, two students were tackling UN SDG #5, gender equality, and #10, reduced inequalities, by developing a cell phone app using MIT App Inventor for barter to facilitate global trade among women. Another student worked on a design addressing SDG #6, clean water and sanitation, and #14, life below water, with an idea for an underwater robot to help clean up the sea floor. Yet another considered SDG #2, hunger, and began learning how to code in python to use microcontrollers to automate food production and envisioning microclimates for remote areas. Students were able to reach beyond their comfort zone and propose and design global solutions.

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