We are pleased to announce the next Tech Student of the Month, Ramsey Khadder! Ramsey is a junior at Springbook High School in Silver Spring, Maryland and was a member of the Imagine Cup 2011 team, Team Audentia. Ramsey is also the co-creator of the fun and creative Windows Phone app called Dive! He is a passionate developer and it is our pleasure to highlight his story.
Ramsey comes from a family of engineers, where his late father's work as an electronic engineer provides his source of inspiration. In efforts to follow in his family’s footsteps, he is currently attending Springbrook High School which is an IB World and Information Technology school. Springbrook High School is very unique in the fact that all students are offered programs through their Academy of Information Technology (computer programming, computer network design and administration, web design, and microcomputer technologies.) It was also the first high school to participate in a Microsoft Imagine Cup Competition in 2010!
Ramsey began learning the fundamentals of programming in ninth grade by working with Java. Every project thereafter, he strived to surpass the requirements of the rubric in order to learn more about the subject and further develop his skills. For example, he knew he would have to learn XNA, a framework for C#, so he went out and bought an Xbox to teach himself how to program the language. Although it was a challenge to jump head-first into a language like XNA, he learned through trial and error and even received the CompTIA A+ Certification amidst his self-training.
Throughout his time at Springbrook High, Ramsey took many programming courses taught by Microsoft Teacher Partner, Pat Yongpradit. Pat, also known as “Mr. Y,” was the recipient of the Microsoft Worldwide Innovative Educator Award in 2010 and is a pioneering teacher in his field. Just this week, Mr. Yongpradit sat down with Tom Brokaw at the 2011 Education Nation Summit (You can see the NBC video here). Mr. Y nominated Ramsey to be September’s Tech Student of the Month because of his strong initiatives inside and outside of the classroom and of course, his passion for technology. Mr. Y has worked closely with Ramsey throughout his high school career and has mentored him in his endeavors as a computer programmer as well as a mobile developer.
In Ramsey’s sophomore year, Mr. Y introduced him to the Windows Phone platform by taking him to the Windows Phone 7 Developer Launch. Ramsey became interested in exploring the platform and with the help of Alfred Thompson, a Microsoft Academic Developer Evangelist, he was able to acquire two Windows Phone loaner phones to begin his development. He and his friend Jacen Sherman (winner of the KoduKup) planned, coded, and published their first Windows Phone game, Dive! which has seen great success in the Marketplace. The game allows you to be a scuba diver from the Caribbean where you collect coins while under the sea. When they finished Dive!, Mr. Y took Ramsey and four other students to the Maryland Education Enterprise Consortium (MEEC) where he was able to present Dive! and share his experiences developing the application.
In the same year, Ramsey was asked to join Team Audentia for the 2011 Microsoft Imagine Cup Competition, a global competition focused on finding solutions to real-life problems. He and his team created a platformer game called Vanguard that increased awareness about pollution. Ramsey had an amazing experience during the Imagine Cup. He learned to work as a team with different members of different skillsets to contribute to a final product. He also enjoyed using technology for a greater purpose other than just entertainment. Already, Ramsey has a team and idea setup for Imagine Cup 2012. We wish them the best of luck!
While Ramsey is working on his own Imagine Cup project, he is also helping his classmates with their games using a game engine he created. RSK.exe provides an easier platform to learn how to program using the XNA programming language. The students in Springbrook’s Computer Programming – Level 3 class are currently using the game engine and Ramsey helps tutor the class to help them use the application.
Ramsey is now exploring different areas of computer science. He is currently enrolled in a web design class and is learning the ropes of Microsoft Expression Web, a tool to build standards-based Web sites. Mr. Y is also planning to introduce his class to motion based development using the Kinect SDK. In regards to future plans, he has his heart set on attending Stanford University after he graduates because of its strong computer engineering program. We wish him the very best of luck and hope he continues to strive for excellence in everything that he does.
You can follow Ramsey and learn more on his website: RSKWare
Read the August Tech Student Profile on Philip Huff from Stony Brook University
Written by Megan Benjamin
So you’ve got an idea—a world changing, moneymaking, once-in-a-lifetime idea—and now you just need to figure out how to make the whole thing happen. Lucky for you, there have never been more resources for STEM majors looking to take a stab at entrepreneurship. Colleges across the nation have outstanding entrepreneurship programs (many specifically for engineers and technical folks), entrepreneurship resources, and of course, a network of successful alumni to help mentor you through the process.
If all your “entrepreneurial spirit” has you a bit lost, here’s a little roadmap to get you from initial inspiration to buzzing business.
Get inspired. Colleges across the nation are hot on the trail of engineering entrepreneurship, because they know just as well as Silicon Valley venture capitalists that big ideas are abundant among their student population (think Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, Mark Zuckerberg… and the list goes on and on). Most four-year universities have entrepreneurship programs; so if you’re at a loss on how to make your big idea reality or if you simply need inspiration coming up with your next big idea, try taking an entrepreneurship class or attend a few seminars to learn the ropes. If you don’t have a great idea yet, you will probably have one that can make you a pretty penny after investing some time in your college entrepreneurship program.
Compete in the Microsoft Imagine Cup. Ripe with resources and a hefty sum of prize money for its winners, the Imagine Cup is a great excuse to get spurred into entrepreneurial action while solving some of the world’s greatest problems. Get your hands dirty creating, business planning, and making thing happen without ever setting foot into a business school.
Plan it out. Great businesses stem from great planning, not just hopes and dreams. For all you need to know about organizing and writing a functional business plan, click here. (You’ll probably also learn a fair deal about business planning if you take that entrepreneurship class or sign up for the Imagine Cup mentioned above. Just saying…)
Find a mentor. It’s always best to learn from the best, or at least from someone who’s been there, done that. Some colleges have an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR)—a successful, serial entrepreneur who hangs out at your college campus all semester. If you don’t have an EIR at your school, reach out to your alumni network to find an entrepreneur in your industry. Your mentor can help guide you through the intricate details of business and help you think through all your challenges and strategy questions related to your start-up.
Convince someone to pay for it. If you need money to get your idea off the ground, figure out exactly how much money you need to get started, then ask for it. Not everyone gets (or deserves) a cool million from VC funding, so be prepared to ask “angel” investors to help you out. For college kids, it’s not a bad idea to look to family and friends first. They are more likely to invest in an inexperienced entrepreneur, because, well, they love you. If it’s not a loan, be prepared to pony up part of your company, future revenue, or anything else within reason to make a deal.
Incubate it (and get some cheap space that’s not in your parents’ garage). Lots of colleges have local entrepreneurship communities, or incubators, to help get your idea off the ground. They provide services from cheap rent and administrative business support to networking activities, loan support, and Intellectual Property management, as well as the invaluable resource of being part of a community of startup entrepreneurs just like you.
Work for it. And try not to quit school while you’re at it. It won’t make mom very happy (even if she did invest in the idea).
And there you have it. It won’t be easy to start your own company, but it will almost certainly be worth it. Reach out, get help, get started, and good luck!
So school has started and you already have to make big decisions like: money for books or food for the entire year?!
The cost of books has definitely spiked over the past 8 years, but thanks to technology- specifically online retailers, auctions sites and classifieds- the cost of any one book can range drastically. If money is tight, skip the school bookstore line and check out some of the sites below.
Book Rentals: There are a slew of new sites that will loan you a college textbook for the semester and charge you about 1/3 of what it would cost to purchase (not counting the space it would take being stored under your bed for the next 10 years). Here are some good ones:
CampusBookRentals.com- My personal favorite. They offer longer rental times for the cheapest price. A book that costs about $170 new can be rented for four months for about $50. Be sure to search for coupon codes to get a few extra off. Here’s one for $6 off: julysurvey. Lastly a company of the proceeds for your book rental will go directly to Operation Smile helping fund surgeries for children in impoverished countries.
Bookrenter.com- Founded by a student from Santa Clara University, this site offers some pretty good discounts (up to 80% off). Be careful to check when the book is “due back by” because if you’ve selected 90 or 120 days you may find an earlier due date than that exact number.
Collegebookrenter.com- This is a site where you can rent books but also buy and sell them if you want to weigh your options. Again, be careful to check when the book is “due back by” because it’s not always aligned with the time you selected and it would be a shame to owe the book back a week before finals.
If you’d like to purchase the book (new or used) but still don’t think the bookstore has the best deal, here are some tried and true sites that will normally shave a few bucks off:
Tips: “This book normally $200, but on this site it’s only $15!!” Be very careful you’re not buying “Test Booklets”, “Study Manuals”, or other supplementary materials by accident when you think you’re getting the actual book. This is when it’s handy to find the ISBN code to make sure you’re purchasing the real deal.
Toddler Animal Flash Cards
Author: Metz Technologies This is an application for toddlers to learn about different animals, what sounds they make, how they look, and how to read their names. There are over 40 animals that display on the app and make fun noises. Use this app when you are waiting to be seated at a restaurant or at the doctor’s office, to keep your kids occupied. Download now
Here we are at the final week of the Windows Phone App-a-thon blog series! Over these past seven weeks I have highlighted some of the best student apps in the Windows Phone Marketplace. I have shown you how easy and rewarding it can be to create apps. I have been amazed at all of the incredible apps that students are making right now and I hope seeing other students apps has inspired you to try making apps yourself. You students are the future of technology, and the next generation of app makers. Although this series is coming to an end, I encourage all of you to find and download student apps that are in the marketplace, and if you think of a new idea or one that hasn’t been executed well, don’t be afraid to create your own app.
This week I am highlighting a truly fantastic app. Not only is if fun and engaging for small children, but it can help keep children distracted and provide parents with the time to get things done. The idea is simple; This interactive application allows a small child to learn what different animals look like, how to read and spell the animals name, the noise the animal makes, and more. Not only is this app entertaining for small children but at the same time it is also informative. Let’s just say for a moment that you are on a long car ride and your child keeps screaming and crying and you are very distracted by it. Instead of having to pull over and wait for the child to settle down, you can just hand your child the phone with this app on it, and more times then not the child will begin playing the app and will no longer be a distraction to you. This is just one out of many instances when this app could come in handy. If you have a kid under the age of 10, I would recommend that you get this app.
To learn more about app making and the contest rules check out http://wpstudentapp.com/. Thanks for checking out my blog every week and remember, you (the students) are the future of app making. Continue supporting students making apps and continue making apps yourself!
Author: Haytham My Mood allows you to quickly update your mood on Facebook. Start sharing your mood character with your friends and family! Download now
Here we are at week 6 of the Windows Phone Student App of the week! This week we have chosen to show you an app called My Mood. This app is connected to Facebook, in that once you pick a mood, you are then able to share that mood with your friends on Facebook. This app provides Facebook users with a fun and silly way to share with friends their mood. Not only does it share your mood in writing, but it also has a caricature of the mood to go with it. I would recommend that everyone with a Facebook get this app as you never know when you will want to express your mood in a fun way on Facebook. If your looking for a very serious app with a lot of quality tools this is not the app for you. But, if you already have enough serious apps and you want something fun to play with and share with your friends, then this is your perfect app. Go ahead now and check out this app at the Windows Phone Marketplace!
Creating apps is not as hard as it may seem. Go to the Windows Phone Student app-a-thon site and follow the steps to create an app and be in the running for some great prizes. For a limited time Microsoft is offering all of the tools and help necessary to create apps for the Marketplace. Even if you have never made an app before, it is not too late to start now.
This is a very cool contest that Microsoft is running because they give you everything you need to create apps. They give you prizes just for creating apps and then your apps end up in the marketplace where you can earn money or notoriety. It is a win win situation for you. I strongly encourage you to at least give this competition a chance now while it is still being offered. App making is something that many people do for many reasons. Some people make apps because they feel strongly about a problem so they choose to solve that problem with an app. Others may make an app just because they enjoy the app making process. And yet even more people make apps as part of a business or at an attempt to make money. Let me tell you a little story about a student app maker I met today. I met this 17 year old kid today who is working in a programming internship here at Microsoft. He got to telling me that in his free time he chooses to make apps. He told me that he just enjoyed the process of building apps and that he didn’t expect to make any money off of them. However, last year he entered one of the game apps he created into a competition. This 17 year old kid ended up getting 3rd place ahead of many professional app companies and he earned a whopping 50,000 dollars just off of this one app and one contest. The lesson here isn’t that all of you out there are going to win contests and earn lots of money with your apps. The lesson is that you never know what can happen. You never know, one of your apps could jump to the top of the marketplace and you could become a very successful app maker. Take this story for what it is and have it help you get the passion to make apps!
That is it for this weeks edition of app of the week. Next Tuesday the last of the series will be out. I hop you join me again then because you wont want to miss out on the final app!