Coalinga’s first Tech Expo was held at West Hills College on Dec. 15 in the West Hills College gymnasium.
The group 59 Days of Code was a sponsor of the event, along with Chevron and Californians for Energy Independence. This is part of the school’s commitment to promote careers and education in technology and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (S.T.E.M. studies) in middle schools, high schools and college.
59 Days of Code is a non-profit whose mission is “To foster the growth of the technology industry in the San Joaquin Valley through events, initiatives, and programs.” On hand at the event was Jason Lopez, a longtime Coalinga resident who became a reliability specialist in the energy industry. A flow chart showed the life journey of Lopez as he went through public schools, worked as a roofer in high school and later construction. He also spent time working in the medical industry as a sterile processing technician then began work at Aera Energy as a co-gen-generator operator. From There, he continued his education, moved up the ranks, and is now pursuing a bachelor’s degree in pre-law. He has worked for 10 years as a reliability specialist and plans to become a public affairs specialist.
Lopez hopes to inspire other students in the area to continue their studies and improve their career opportunities through growth and experience. Last week, students from the program along with some of the business sponsoring their studies presented some of their projects and work. From robots to games and software applications, the public had the opportunity to have students and sponsors explain their work.
In the past several years, the group has had competitions to promote and connect the technology community in the Central Valley. More than 25 businesses have been spawned through this program through the years. Many students have learned about developing applications and other technological opportunities in the Valley.
Most recently, the program offered an opportunity for students of West Hills College to experience some of the opportunities offered through Geekwise Academy. Geekwise Academy offers further studies for students who have explored computer programming.
“Our program will focus on project-based learning by building real-world projects to help you gain technical know how and experience for a career in software development.” (WHC, Geekwise Academy release)
The program is 18 months and culminates with a paid internship for students completing the course. It is sponsored through a partnership with Chevron. The students learned skills in a spectrum of technology.