The NCB Foundation Sponsors the 2018 Calico Challenge

Santa Clara, California: August 18, 2018 – The N.C.B. Foundation (NCBF) announces its US$5,000 sponsorship of the Palisadoes Foundation’s third annual Calico Challenge. This demonstrates NCBF’s commitment to nation building by strengthening all levels of Jamaican education through a partnership that provides practical experience to students in using cutting edge STEM methodologies which are vital to the country’s international competitiveness in the field. Further, this marks the successful alliance between NCB Jamaica Ltd., the Jamaica Computing Society, the Palisadoes Foundation, the UWI Computing Society and the University of Technology IEEE Student Branch.

The Calico Challenge is a summer work study program for computer science students in Jamaica. Each selected student works on enhancing open source software used internationally under the guidance of a Jamaican mentor. Participating students receive US$1,500 for their successful progress. This stipend is incrementally paid based upon the achievement of specified milestones. Calico is also a feeder program for the similar Google Summer of Code.

NCBF’scontribution was used to both fund student stipends and special awards, which will be announced at a later date.

“The N.C.B. Foundation shares our goal of developing a stronger nation by providing new opportunities for the growing Jamaican technical workforce.” said Peter Harrison, President of the Palisadoes Foundation, “This support proves once again how Jamaicans collaborating around the world can positively advance education and the country’s emerging engineering leadership.”

More information can be found on the Palisadoes Foundation website: http://www.palisadoes.org

About the Calico Challenge
Calico was conceived by The Palisadoes Foundation in conjunction with the Jamaica Diaspora Technology Task Force. There has been close technical collaboration between the Foundation; the University of the West Indies (UWI) Department of Computing, Mona; the UWI Computing Society; and the University of Technology IEEE Students Branch to identify open source projects, student sub-projects and mentors.

About the N.C.B. Foundation
The Foundation was formalized in 2003 as the philanthropic arm of the country’s largest home-grown bank, National Commercial Bank Jamaica Limited. It provides opportunities for future generations to lead wisely and participate meaningfully to Jamaica’s development.

The Foundation invests in scholarships at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels and funds various educational programmes across the island. It also helps to improve the physicalconditions of schools to create safe and healthy environments that encourage learning.

Youth entrepreneurship is another focus area with the Foundation partnering with several skills-based projects to enhance trainee skills in data entry, IT training and small cottage industry development.

The Foundation supports programmes that develop the leadership skills in Jamaica’s youth and encourage active citizenship.

About the Palisadoes Foundation
The California-based Palisadoes Foundation aims to provide new avenues of promoting Jamaica’s technology businesses and talent by using a series of programs which create increased awareness of the island’s abilities in the global marketplace.

About the University of Technology IEEE Student Branch
Like the IEEE, the branch’s core purpose is to foster technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity. It is the first IEEE student branch to be registered in Jamaica and meets regularly to develop the young minds that will create a better Jamaica.

About the UWI Computing Society
The vision for this society is to become a launching pad for the development and exposure of the computing students of the University of the West Indies, with particular focus on undergraduate students. This Society is also envisioned to be a medium by which the university population and the wider society may become more computer literate as well as educated in the efficient use of ICT in the industry and the wider society.

About the Jamaica Diaspora Technology Task Force
The Jamaica Diaspora Technology Task Force is a group of expatriate Jamaicans interested in assisting in the continued development of new and existing technologies in Jamaica. It is a member of the Jamaica Diaspora Movement

Shannika Jackson – 2018 Calico Challenge Participant

Today we feature Shannika Jackson one of our 2018 Calico Challenge participants.

Shannika Jackson is a Kingston based student of technology who holds a BSc. in Psychology and a Graduate Diploma in Information Technology. She presently pursues an MSc. in Computer Science from the University of the West Indies and has worked for eight years as a Business Analyst with the Jamaica Public Service Company where she documented and digitized the returned bill process. She also established a framework for trans promotional advertising via their printed and electronic customer bills, earning the company 5M in profit in two years with zero added capital. Shannika currently works to implement a Business Intelligence and Analytics platform as part of the Analytics and Enterprise Solutions Team. She enjoys cooking, creative writing and the hypnotic sounds of Macy Gray. Her most immediate endeavours include the development and expansion of her skills in programming, data analytics and writing poetry.

Calico Volunteer Silicon Valley “Selfie Tour”

Palisadoes Foundation volunteers Orandi Harris and Jamel Reid recently visited Silicon Valley for business. They both work for QualityWorks in Jamaica. Orandi gave a presentation at the international Node Summit on advanced software testing techniques. We took them on a fun selfie tour of Silicon Valley after the presentation!

Orandi Harris (L) and Jamel Reid (R) at Facebook

 

Orandi Harris (R) and Jamel Reid (L) at Apple, Infinite Loop

 

Orandi Harris (L) and Jamel Reid (R) at the Googleplex

 

Orandi Harris at the Googleplex

 

Jamel Reid at the Googleplex

 

Jamel Reid at the Googleplex

 

Jamel Reid at the Googleplex

The GraceKennedy Foundation Sponsors the 2018 Calico Challenge

Santa Clara, California: July 7, 2018 – The GraceKennedy Foundation announces its US$1,500 sponsorship of the Palisadoes Foundation’s third annual Calico Challenge. This step furthers the GraceKennedy mission of enhancing the well-being of Jamaicans through educational opportunities. In addition, this commitment celebrates the successful collaboration between GraceKennedy, the Jamaica Computing Society, the Palisadoes Foundation, the UWI Computing Society and the University of Technology IEEE Student Branch.

The Calico Challenge is a summer work study program for computer science students in Jamaica. Each selected student works on enhancing open source software used internationally under the guidance of a Jamaican mentor. Participating students receive US$1,500 for their successful progress. This stipend is incrementally paid based upon the achievement of specified milestones. Calico is also a feeder program for the similar Google Summer of Code.

The GraceKennedy Foundation’s contribution was used to both fund student stipends and special awards to be announced.

“This emphasizes how Jamaican organizations are taking new approaches to advancing technical education. GraceKennedy’s endorsement of the Calico Challenge will help augment an already strong talent base by helping students transition to the working world for Jamaica’s benefit,” said Peter Harrison, President of the Palisadoes Foundation, “We are proud that GraceKennedy
is willing to expose young Jamaicans to the rapid software development cycles and large scale collaboration that Jamaica needs to both compete and flourish.”

More information can be found on the Palisadoes Foundation website: http://www.palisadoes.org

About the Calico Challenge
Calico was conceived by The Palisadoes Foundation in conjunction with the Jamaica Diaspora Technology Task Force. There has been close technical collaboration between the Foundation; the University of the West Indies (UWI) Department of Computing, Mona; the UWI Computing Society; and the University of Technology IEEE Students Branch to identify open source projects, student sub-projects and mentors.

About the GraceKennedy Foundation
The GraceKennedy Foundation aims to have a positive impact on the quality of people’s lives by actively promoting well-being, primarily by supporting educational and environmental programmes and processes.

The GraceKennedy Group is one of the Caribbean’s largest diversified conglomerates. It comprises a varied network of some 60 subsidiaries and associated companies located across the Caribbean; North and Central America; and the United Kingdom. Their operations span the food distribution, financial, insurance, remittance, hardware retailing and food-processing industries.

About the Palisadoes Foundation
The California-based Palisadoes Foundation aims to provide new avenues of promoting Jamaica’s technology businesses and talent by using a series of programs which create increased awareness of the island’s abilities in the global marketplace.

About the University of Technology IEEE Student Branch
Like the IEEE, the branch’s core purpose is to foster technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity. It is the first IEEE student branch to be registered in Jamaica and meets regularly to develop the young minds that will create a better Jamaica.

About the UWI Computing Society
The vision for this society is to become a launching pad for the development and exposure of the computing students of the University of the West Indies, with particular focus on undergraduate students. This Society is also envisioned to be a medium by which the university population and the wider society may become more computer literate as well as educated in the efficient use of ICT in the industry and the wider society.

About the Jamaica Diaspora Technology Task Force
The Jamaica Diaspora Technology Task Force is a group of expatriate Jamaicans interested in assisting in the continued development of new and existing technologies in Jamaica. It is a member of the Jamaica Diaspora Movement

Silicon Valley Event Raises Funds For Calico 2019 Students

Palisadoes Foundation Treasurer, Tennyson Williams explains the goals of the Calico Challenge.

The Palisadoes Foundation had its first Silicon Valley fundraising event on June 9, 2018 in San Jose. Enough funds were raised via social media, email campaigns and the event itself to fully sponsor one of our 2019 Calico Challenge students.

Catering was donated by two stellar Bay Area establishments, Kingston 11 Cuisine whose jerk chicken and fried plantains were cherished by all, and Flavas Jamaican Grill, who provided delicious rice and peas.

Calico is a Palisadoes summer internship program for Jamaican university student programmers. Their work is supervised by software industry volunteers with an interest in helping students transition into the work world. Calico stipends are paid when students achieve of pre-defined goals assigned by their mentors. The software code our Calico students produce are actually contributions to various open source software projects. The results of their work are public on the GitHub website and publicly show the quality of their work. This can be used by potential employers as an addition to the students’ resumes.

Open source software is created through the collaboration of volunteer programmers to make apps that are free for use by all. Popular open source projects include the Chrome and Firefox web browsers, the Android operating system used by 80% of all mobile phones, the freely available LibreOffice and OpenOffice alternatives to Microsoft Office, and many of the free apps available on the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Calico is very closely modeled on the Google Summer of Code (GSoC) initiative. Google has run GSoC for over ten years and in 2016 over 1,500 students around the world are expected to participate. A primary goal for Palisadoes is to make Calico a feeder program for GSoC.

It is hard to believe that this is our third full year of being a charitable organization. We have come a long way. The donations received today will help Jamaican university students transition seamlessly into the work world through our Calico Challenge mentorship program.

Peter Harrison, President of The Palisadoes Foundation.

I’m very encouraged by the turn out for the event. It shows the great commitment of the community to our cause that is truly helping the development of the island. We have often spoken about expanding Calico to the rest of the Caribbean, the time to do so is getting closer by the day.

KG Charles-Harris, Company Secretary of The Palisadoes Foundation

We continue to increase our donation base through these sorts of events, and look forward to even better outreach programs in 2019. Our core volunteer team is growing and I’m confident that we’ll be able to expand regionally in the near future.

Tennyson Williams, Treasures of The Palisadoes Foundation

Stay tuned to the Palisadoes Foundation website’s news feed for updates on our activities.

 


Donations were eagerly provided by keen attendees who understood our core mission.

Denise McCalla-Creary and Cassandra Campbell enjoy the moment

Palisadoes Foundation Treasurer, Tennyson Williams and the Foundation’s Company Secretary, KG Charles-Harris discuss plans for 2019.

Donors learning how the Palisadoes Foundation uses its funds to help prepare Jamaican students.


About Kingston 11

Kingston 11 Cuisine is an environmentally friendly, community-oriented, innovative restaurant. Its mission is to provide consistent high-quality, delicious blends of Jamaican and Californian cuisines using local and organic ingredients. It is a contemporary urban dining oasis known for great service, cultural exchange and the nexus of great relationships. Our goal is to use these qualities to positively transform the lives of our patrons, employees, and greater community.

the restaurant has been the lifelong dream of Owner and Chef, Nigel Jones. Growing up in Kingston 11, one zip code away from Trenchtown, Nigel was surrounded by the smells, sounds, culture, and taste of urban Kingston. He was trained in the kitchen of his beloved grandmother, Gwen “Miss Gwen” Larmond who taught him to cook by balancing the flavors of the most local of ingredients—fruits and vegetables from the yard. His extensive travels also taught him that the kitchen innovations of poorer communities—the hearty home cooked meals—are the best, most flavorful and therefore most satisfying. For years he has sought to bring his appreciation for his native food and culture together with his desire for a sophisticated dining and lounge experience where all are welcome. Kingston 11 Cuisine has become that place. From their days as a pop-up restaurant in Berkeley, CA to the new space in Oakland’s Uptown, Nigel and his partner Adrian Henderson have seamlessly combined Miss Gwen’s legacy of simple home cooking, Jamaica’s rich culinary tradition, and the global practice of community-building around food, drink, and music.

About Flavas Grill
Flavas Jamaican Grill is a mid-scale restaurant established with a mission to serve delicious authentic Jamaican cuisine in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.

The Chef has a passion for flavor and a desire to satisfy the taste buds of all lovers of Jamaican food. You may have tasted some of these dishes on a vacation to the Island, or if you are just exploring for something new to savor, the Chef will guarantee your return to Flavas for more delicious Jerk & sweet reggae music.

Flavas owner, Leroy Douglas began his cooking career at the early age of ten, at home in Jamaica cooking for his family. That early love of cooking led him to one of the top local colleges in Jamaica. After a few years in the industry, Chef Leroy went to further his studies in the field at the George Brown College in Toronto and Hocking College in Ohio. In Jamaica he worked as a chef at the Super Club Resorts, Sandals Resorts and Swept Away Resort. In America his work at the Skyline Club in Southfield Michigan; the Marriot Hotel Renaissance, Detroit and the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, Detroit is known.

Chef Leroy has participated in many food shows and competitions and has won several medals. He uses his experience and skills to tantalize the taste buds of South San Francisco with the freshest ingredients and tastiest Jamaican style preparations. Whatever the occasion, Chef Leroy will customize your menu exactly to your specifications.

Focus on Cleon Mullings – 2018 Calico Challenge Participant

Today we feature Cleon Mullings one of our 2018 Calico Challenge participants. Here is some insight into Cleon’s views on technology.

“My name is Cleon J. Mullings, a first year student at the University of the West Indies who is pursuing a double major in Software Engineering and Medical Physics. I enjoy math, and tinkering with electronics. I also enjoy learning new skills that might be useful in the future. Recently I started learning LATEX, and Jupyter Notebooks, which will be useful in the future for my second-year physics courses which will require, me to do graphs and other types of data analysis. I am looking forward to my second-year as I will begin the courses specific to my majors , begin my tenure as the Technical Advisor for the UWI Computing Society and pass on my knowledge to the incoming first years. In the future I plan to use my experiences and knowledge in Software and Medical Physics to contribute to the respective fields in Jamaica.”


About The Calico Challenge

Calico is a Palisadoes summer internship program for Jamaican university student programmers. Their work is supervised by software industry volunteers with an interest in helping students transition into the work world. Calico stipends are paid when students achieve of pre-defined goals assigned by their mentors. The software code our Calico students produce are actually contributions to  various open source software projects. The results of their work are public on the GitHub website and  publicly show the quality of their work. This can be used by potential employers as an addition to the students’ resumes.

Open source software is created through the collaboration of volunteer programmers to make apps that are free for use by all. Popular open source projects include the Chrome and Firefox web browsers, the Android operating system used by 80% of all mobile phones, the freely available LibreOffice and OpenOffice alternatives to Microsoft Office, and many of the free apps available on the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Calico is very closely modeled on the Google Summer of Code (GSoC) initiative. Google has run GSoC for over ten years and in 2016 over 1,500 students around the world are expected to participate. A primary goal for Palisadoes is to make Calico a feeder program for GSoC.

Focus on Jhamali Vassell – 2018 Calico Challenge Participant

Today we feature Jhamali Vassell one of our 2018 Calico Challenge participants. Here is some insight into Jhamali’s views on technology.

“My name is Jhamali Devante Vassell, 22. I went Glenmuir High from 2008 t0 2015. I currently attend the University of the West Indies(UWI), Mona, Majoring in Computer Science and Electronics.

I became a volunteer for the Palisadoes Foundation September 2017.
My interests cover a wide range, but my main goal is to get into the field of robotics and AI development. Though most people are still skeptical about smart machines, I believe they are necessary for continued advancement, which may eventually become stagnate due to human limitations. If designed well, machines would be able to complete task with more precision and speed than humans, allowing the research and development process to go by more quickly. Another thing I’m quite interested in is robotic body parts, for the disabled, such as spine alignment technology, new limbs, and even eyes.
Currently I’m mainly focused on low level development, embedded systems and communication between them. I’m hoping to eventually go to Japan, where Robotic development is occurring on a large scale, and at a fairly fast pace. Other places I’m interested in are DeepMind, Google, Open AI, Tesla, IRobot, Touch Bionics.”


About The Calico Challenge

Calico is a Palisadoes summer internship program for Jamaican university student programmers. Their work is supervised by software industry volunteers with an interest in helping students transition into the work world. Calico stipends are paid when students achieve of pre-defined goals assigned by their mentors. The software code our Calico students produce are actually contributions to various open source software projects. The results of their work are public on the GitHub website and publicly show the quality of their work. This can be used by potential employers as an addition to the students’ resumes.

Open source software is created through the collaboration of volunteer programmers to make apps that are free for use by all. Popular open source projects include the Chrome and Firefox web browsers, the Android operating system used by 80% of all mobile phones, the freely available LibreOffice and OpenOffice alternatives to Microsoft Office, and many of the free apps available on the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Calico is very closely modeled on the Google Summer of Code (GSoC) initiative. Google has run GSoC for over ten years and in 2016 over 1,500 students around the world are expected to participate. A primary goal for Palisadoes is to make Calico a feeder program for GSoC.

Interview with Javon Davis, Jamaican Software Engineer

We interview software engineer, Javon Davis, a past participant in the Calico Challenge. He speaks about his impressions of the Jamaican software industry focusing on how both employees and companies can become globally competitive given the online resources now available.

Javon also discusses job search strategies to be recognized by international companies as potential employees or contract customers. He explains the concept of new massively open online courses (MOOCs) offered by leading universities and their impact on education and the industry. Social media sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter are also shown to be valuable tools when seeking contract or permanent jobs.

The discussion is engaging and informative.

Can you Market a Nonprofit on Social Media?

The Palisadoes Foundation was conceived by a group of Jamaican technology professionals interested in assisting in the continued development new and existing technologies in Jamaica. We know Jamaica can produce world class software engineers and have been proving this in our outreach activities since 2014. A signature program of our nonprofit is the annual Calico Challenge where software engineering students in Jamaican universities are awarded an internship to work on open source projects over the summer under the guidance of an industry mentor. Students are paid a stipend based on the achievement of predefined goals. To date over 18 students have graduated.

Even with our success, our public awareness and donation base needs to be improved. Our presence on our website, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram needs to be more effectively used to target persons interested in our philanthropic goals. We are seeking a part-time contractor to assist us in creating and implementing the marketing campaigns to do this.

The person will need to present a plan that outlines:

  • Recommended approaches to improve our existing portfolio of social media properties.
  • Strategies to be used for each type of social media platform based on the audience each attracts.
  • The appropriate use and creation of audio, video and still images
  • Expected quarterly targets for success based on either experience or data found on the web. This would include, but not necessarily limited to, the numbers of followers and inbound donation dollar amounts.
  • The categorizations of posts for each platform. We have seen where tailored combinations of industry, technical, career and fun categories of posts are required for success on each platform.
  • Social media calendars with weekly targets for posts for each identified category
  • Ways to attract influencers to the cause
  • Maintaining private and public donor relationships
  • The sources to be used in re-posting the content on social media.
  • A reevaluation of our blogging strategy to see if there may be ways to make the content more engaging, if at all.
  • Methods to create a steady stream Jamaican imagery of software engineering students and professionals for use in our posts with targets.
  • Possible new approaches to email. We have a general monthly newsletter. We are open to having more targeted email audiences.
  • Promoting opinion pieces found on the Internet related to the Foundation’s work
  • Ways to better use our LinkedIn company page and interest group with over 800 members.

The person will need to be based in the Kinston corporate area of Jamaica. Please contact us though our website if you are interested in making a proposal.

Jhamali Vassell – Palisadoes Student Volunteer at UWI

My name is Jhamali Devante Vassell. I went Glenmuir High, established in 1955, and remains one of the top performing schools in Jamaica. I currently attend the University of the West Indies(UWI), Mona, majoring in Computer Science and Electronics.

I became a volunteer for the Palisadoes Foundation September 2017. I became familiar with the organization through the Calico Program, a venture started by the them to help students gain experience in software development and get a feel for the industry at a professional level. Currently, my task is being an intermediary, along with another student, between the Palisadoes Foundation, and UWI as well as the UWI Computing Society. So far, we’ve mainly assisted, in confirming and organizing events, and relaying necessary messages from the Palisadoes Foundation to some personnel at UWI or the Computing Society.

My interests are varied, but my main goal is to get into the field of robotics and AI development. Though most people are still skeptical about smart machines, I believe they are necessary for continued advancement, which may eventually become stagnate due to human limitations. If designed well, machines would be able to complete tasks with more precision and speed than humans, allowing the research and development process to go by more quickly. I’m also interested in is robotic body parts for the disabled, such as spine alignment technology, new limbs, and even eyes.

Currently I’m mainly focused on low level development, embedded systems and communication between them. I’m hoping to eventually go to Japan, where Robotic development is occurring on a large scale, and at a fairly fast pace.