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Episode 13 – Interview with Jelani Nelson

Imagine a mythical land where 80% of the people are black, where everyone empowers people of color, where everyone values ​​education, and where the biggest event of the year is not the Super Bowl but the Quiz Bowl. This country does indeed exist! Here, in the US!

“It’s not just that it’s 80% black…everyone gives black the power.”
“Hurricane Marilyn (Category 5 hurricane) has messed up our home.”
“I had never heard of MIT…I just applied to MIT.”
– Jelani Nelson, Professor of EECS at UC Berkeley

In today’s episode:

  • We are visiting an immigrant country in the US, a country very different from the mainland US!
  • We talk to acclaimed theorist Jelani Nelson, who grew up in the US Virgin Islands and then went to MIT. And who may have made? the most successful CS program for school children in Africa, AddisCoder.
  • Given the discussion of systemic racism in the US, you might be surprised to learn that systemic racism is much less common, and “Everyone empowers Black” in the US Virgin Islands. Hear about the country where everyone values ​​education, and the biggest event of the year isn’t the Super Bowl, it’s the Quiz Bowl!
  • Hear about Jelani’s experience of living through Category 5 Hurricane Marilyn as a child in 1995.
  • Hear Jelani’s experience starting AddisCoder, the US CS schoolchildren program in Ethiopia, and the legwork he did to get the program going. (Also USVICoder in US Virgin Islands).
  • Hear how Jelani and his school friends had never heard of MIT… and yet Jelani only applied to MIT, earning both his BS (dual degree) and his Ph.D. from MIT.
  • What would you conclude – can the mainland US mimic the US Virgin Islands and their education? culture?

Hear about all these, and Jelani Nelson’s Amazing Genius and Grit on this unusual episode 13.

The guide to this episode and more information is available on the podcast website: http://csimmigrant.org/

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