From Gold to Bitcoin - EqOpTech Speaker/Workshop Series 6

By Kevin Gao

On August 12, 2017, EqOpTech hosts a sixth tech talk in a series of Speaker/Workshop for students interested in the tech fields. The tech talk features Scott Best, technical director of anti-counterfeiting in the Rambus Cryptography Research Division.

Scott Best, Technical Director, Rambus Crytography Research Division

Scott Best, Technical Director, Rambus Crytography Research Division

**What is Gold?**

Best leads off the meeting by introducing gold: why is it so special? From all the elements on our periodic table, why does gold hold such an important role? 

We all know that gold is a rare and precious metal, but where exactly does it come from? When a star explodes (going supernova!), it scatters precious metals all across the universe. In the form of meteorites, many of these metals landed on our planets hundreds of millions of years ago. Among these were many of our well-known metals today, including nickel, copper, platinum, and of course, gold.

**Money**

Money is something that has been around since early civilization, going all the way back to when Aristotle postulated that a good form of money must be durable, portable, divisible, and have an independent value. For centuries, people have used it as a quick, easy way to exchange goods and to be able to repay a debt without having to bring items of similar values. In his talk, Best describes money as “a matter of functions four: a medium, a measure, a standard, a store”. In other words, for something to be money, it must satisfy the following requirements:

  • Medium: can buy stuff with it?
  • Measure: how valuable is that thing?
  • Standard: how much do you owe me?
  • Store: piggy bank

Two types of money that fits these requirements are our currency and credit cards, both of which we see very often in our daily lives. Before these were created, another type of money used was in the form of gold. Best describes that while other metals may be too abundant or dangerous to serve as a form of money, gold is finite and valuable, fitting the requirements above perfectly. Finally, another form of money has recently come into existence: the bitcoin.

**Security!!**

Best dives into the security of our credit cards; in addition to the magnetic stripes and the 16-digit code with a pattern (Luhn Algorithm), cards are now equipped with microchips that make them even more secure. However, even with all these layers of protection, credit cards can still be hacked. The magical code pattern for the digits of a credit card follows a simple addition algorithm, and other parts can still be replicated. Even if the chance may seem infinitesimal, there’s always a risk of a successful attack. 

In contrary to using addition as a form of security, cryptographers like Best perform what is known as "hashing." In his presentation, Best uses a deck of playing cards to simulate the process of hashing, using random numbers to perform a set amount of operations on the cards, thus generating a final position. When trying to guess the initial number with a final position, however, he demonstrates that it is nearly impossible. Best shows that hashing is “very easy in one direction… and almost impossible in the other”, and explains that while many of the elite cryptographers have tried to break the code, the only method available right now is to guess and check, making it nearly impossible to hack.

**Bitcoin**

Finally, Best covers the big topic: the bitcoin. To many, the term is new or foggy - and it should be. After all, it was launched as a currency in 2009, and has only continued to expand each year. The bitcoin is a form of currency, just like gold or paper money, that can be spent or saved online. To understand the bitcoin, we must also understand the blockchain. The blockchain is essentially a ledger, a group of transactions displayed in a list, and a bitcoin is an entry on that ledger.

What makes the bitcoin so great? For starters, it is much more secure than cash; by using hashing and 256 digit codes, bitcoin is as secure as it gets. Not only that, but it is also more trackable and less anonymous than cash, making it less susceptible to hacking attempts. With the rapidly developing technology today, it’s no surprise that bitcoin continues to grow; transactions and storage are all managed by the speedy and efficient system known as the internet. In addition, bitcoin can only be shut down in one way - by turning off the internet, which certainly won’t be happening anytime soon. 

In retrospect, the bitcoin shares many similar features with gold. Both serve as valid forms of money, and each are finite in value; there is only a limited value of gold on the planet, and there are only so many bitcoins floating around (after all, the amount is controlled). Unlike money, which suffers from constant production, both of these forms of money manage to retain its value and fight off inflation. And finally, gold is extremely valuable to us, and in the same way, so are bitcoins: one bitcoin holds the value of approximately 4,000 US dollars today!!!

**Autodesk Fusion 360 CAD Design Workshop - led by Kevin Gao & Terence Lee**

Last week, students follow instructions to download Autodesk Fusion 360 and learn how to design a fidget spinner. In this week’s workshop, attendees use Fusion 360 to design more complex and advanced designs. Following the big TV screen and live instructions on their laptops, attendees are now able to build and design their own 3D houses and get a better feel for what CAD can do. 

If you miss the Computer-aided Design workshops and wish to learn, access the following PDF documents to download Autodesk Fusion 360 and visit the tutorial for the fidget spinner and house design projects. Enjoy and have lots of fun.

EqOpTech would like to sincerely thank Mr. Best for taking the time to present an intriguing and golden presentation.


Access here for the presentation slide deck:

From Sand to Silicon to Chip... From CAD to EDA - Speaker/Workshop Tech Series #5

By Kevin Gao

On August 5, 2017, EqOpTech hosts a fifth tech talk in a series of Speaker/Workshop for students interested in the tech fields. This tech talk features Grace Gao, Principal Engineer, VLSI CAD Engineering, Rambus.

Ms. Grace Gao, Principal Engineer, Rambus

Ms. Grace Gao, Principal Engineer, Rambus

CAD (computer-aided design) and EDA (Electronic Design Automation)

Ms. Gao leads off the meeting by introducing CAD as a highly versatile field that serves as a cornerstone for how we design and build things. How did CAD come into being? What are its historical milestones? And where is it going next?  A short, animated video, "CAD innovation over the years”, answers these questions and takes us through a brief history of CAD from blueprints to the design horizon, and how it has evolved over the years.

Ms. Gao works in a chip design company, so she emphasizes her talk on how to use computer-aided design in Very Large Scale Integration ("VLSI") to make a computer chip, a process called EDA, or electronic design automation. Another short video, "EDA: Where Electronic Begins”, briefly explains the functions of EDA and how it drives the growth of the semiconductor and electronics industries. The video also unveils the whole process on how computer chips have been designed and manufactured by using electronic design automation.

In addition, our speaker also brought real chip samples with her, so seminar attendees are not only able to learn the topics from the presentation and videos, but can also touch and feel them to help visualize what a real "chip" is like. There were several computer chip dies, chip in the package board, and a 12-inches wafer which cost a half a million dollars from a real tapeout. One small chip has been used in Microsoft xbox, and another small chip has a few billions Transistors count in a small 0.5x1 inch^2 area!

Introduction to Electronic Design Automation

The second part of the seminar covers the basics of electronic design automation. Ms. Gao highlights the 7 simplified steps on how a computer chip can be designed and manufactured with the help of EDA. She also briefly talks about EDA challenges and future trend, the Moore's Law and the technology roadmap for semiconductors. It is through this presentation that seminar attendees gain a greater appreciation on how important CAD software tools are in designing complex VLSI chips with billions of transistors, millions of logic, lots of memory, control and interconnect, etc.  

CAD Engineering

Finally, Ms. Gao tackled some of the larger questions at hand:  What does the CAD job look like? What type of work do these engineers do? Who could be the best candidate to be a CAD Engineer? And how would one prepare to work in this field?  She shares the following observations:

  • CAD engineering career field would appeal to someone who enjoys problem solving in both software and hardware 
  • Someone with a creative mindset, interested in exploring and solving problems 
  • Someone interested in new tech at all levels and want to learn new things everyday
  • Someone who feels great satisfaction when they create something useful or help someone through automation
  • Someone who serves as an “unsung hero in a successful tapeout”

Internship experience

CAD engineering attracts young, self-driven students with an interest in software or hardware engineering. Ms. Gao encourages everybody to apply for an internship. She shares an enjoyable experience with a previous intern at her company, remarking that interns bring in new perspectives, new ideas to the company, and are tech-savvy. "Our intern are just like one of us, under appropriate supervising, not only are interns quick to learn a new programming language, but before the internship concludes, he also takes the initiative to benchmark and compare the pros and cons of another programming language he is familiar with; so we both benefit and learn something new," Ms. Gao remarks. "In an age where technology never stops advancing, young, driven interns are quick to adapt and highly versatile at what they set out to do."

Workplace Communication Best Practice

In a work environment, communication and teamwork play a huge role in helping coworkers advance. A general rule of thumb: it is best to conduct prior research on the subject matter before asking a question. "One of my ex-coworker, always outlined in his e-mail a proposed solution for all questions he raised. This way, we can use that as the basis, brainstorm and collaborate to come up with an efficient and effective solution," our speaker recalls.

Autodesk Fusion 360 CAD Design Workshop - led by Kevin Gao & Terence Lee

Workshop attendees learn from the live presentation, watching the entire process on the big TV screen. In addition, they receive one-on-one hands-on experience during the following CAD workshop, where they are able to build 3D models from scratch and get a feel for what CAD is really like. In our workshop, attendees are able to craft their own fidget spinners on Autodesk Fusion 360.

12-inches wafer

12-inches wafer

VLSI Chips

VLSI Chips

Autodesk Fusion 360 demo

Autodesk Fusion 360 demo

EqOpTech would like to thank Ms. Gao for an informative and eyeopening presentation and to Kevin and Terence for their leadership in the CAD design workshop. Thank you for all the fun props and prizes to keep the tech talk interesting and engaging.


Access here for the presentation slide deck:

EqOpTech Tech Talk #4 & Computer In A Box Workshop

On July 29, 2017, EqOpTech hosts a fourth tech talk in a series of Speaker/Workshop for students interested in the tech fields. The tech talk features Magdalene Lim, a backend software engineer from LinkedIn.  She is quite new to the industry, having graduated from college in 2015. She hopes to inspire others to try coding and truly believes that everyone has the capacity to do it.

Personal journey to becoming a software engineer

Our speaker, Magdalene, a recent Cal graduate with a CS degree and having worked at both Amazon and LinkedIn, was able to relate to the younger audience about her journey and challenges in her quest to pursue a high-tech career as a female engineer. In that regards, she delivered some very valuable information to our audience.

Magdalene described the challenges in getting admitted to a CS program at one of the nation’s top university and thus giving hope to those in the audience with similar aspirations. Given the highly competitive CS program at Cal, she shared how important it was for her to be able to seek the help of professors and upper classmen to help as she struggled and competed among other classmates who were much more tech savvy than her.

Through hard work, determination and the ability to seek peer support, she was able to overcome her initial doubts and succeed in pursuing her career goal.  She also graciously shared with the audience her transcript that despite not having a perfect GPA, she was able to obtain an internship at a highly desirable company where competition is fierce for the few available positions.

Internship Tips For College Students

Getting the first internship was not an easy task as she showed that it took sending out hundreds of resumes just to get a few reply but it was through hard work and persistence that she was able to land her internship position at Amazon.

She gave valuable insights as to how to prepare for a highly technical interview and provide reference to a book that helped her tremendous. These are especially valuable for those seeking future internships as these tips are not usually taught at college.

Magdalene talked about how the internship gave her an opportunity to experience Machine Learning and how it did not appeal to her interest as she had initially anticipated and how she had redirected her career choice to her current position at LinkedIn. This is a very valuable lesson for the audience as it emphasize the importance of not being afraid to experiment and then change course, if necessary, in one’s pursuit of aligning one’s career choices with one’s passion.

Work Life Balance

Magdalene also pointed out some of the rewards and perks for working in the high-tech industries such as the free snacks and also the freedom to have the ability in pursuing other interest and hobbies while keeping a highly demanding career. The example that Magdalene gave of her friend pursuing his dance passion was excellent in showing that there is life beyond work, sharing the concept of “we work to live, and not live to work”. 

Computer In A Box Workshop

Following the Tech Talk, EqOpTech hosted a Computer In A Box workshop to revive and reuse older laptops as a learning tool to enable needy students with an "equal opportunity" access to the cloud (eg. Google Drive) and to minimize unwanted computers going to e-waste. The Los Altos School District has generously donated its first and second generation old White MacBooks to EqOptech. 

The EqOpTech tech team leads both the Los Altos High School, Egan Junior High School EqOpTech school club members and MVLA Scholars to not only refurbish each laptops to its full functionality but also dives into the latest technology to give the old laptops a new life via a Linux/Mac Dual Boot.

The Best of Both Worlds: Dual Boot with a Dual Mission

By installing a second Linux operating system into an old MacBooks or Windows Laptop, students are now able to access the latest Google Applications and other cloud applications. The Linux dual boot not only allow access to the latest tech applications but also boosts system performance of older laptops so that they are usable. The service project not only inspires students to give back to the community, it also empowers and enriches participants' computer engineering skills while helping other students in need. 

"Quiet Hero" Award - Jefferson Award

EqOpTech Founder, Terence Lee has been recognized as a "Quiet Hero" for his nonprofit work by the Jefferson Award Foundation. The Jefferson Award is a Nobel Prize for public and community service by ordinary people who do extraordinary things without expectation of recognition or reward.

During the workshop, CBS/KPIX reporter crew Sharon Chin and Jennifer Mistrot conduct an interview and video shoot of our Founder, Santa Rita Principal, a Santa Rita 5th grader who is a refurbished laptop recipient and a workshop participant. Visit here for the Jefferson Award story.

Soft Skills For Tech Professionals - Creativity, Communication & Collaboration - Speaker Series #3

On July 22, 2017, EqOpTech hosts a third tech talk in a series of Speaker/Workshop for students interested in the tech fields. The tech talk features Shrikant Nasikkar, Entrepreneur, Founder/CEO of Chaperone, a silicon valley startup.  

Speaker Series #3 featuring Shrikant Nasikkar, Entrepreneur, Found CEO, Chaperone

Speaker Series #3 featuring Shrikant Nasikkar, Entrepreneur, Found CEO, Chaperone

Nasikkar kicks off the meeting by sharing the SmartUp app, a platform to help develop soft skills: communication, creativity, collaboration. Students are given a template with 2 different characters: Martian and Teletubby to create a scenario. Based on the exercise, students explore different ideas using imagination and creativity, communicate the idea with one another, learn from one another, collaborate to improve and make it better.

“Every child is an artist”
”Imagination is the source of all human achievement”
Sir Ken Robinson
— http://sirkenrobinson.com/

The takeaway here is that there is no right or wrong answer, everyone is born with creativity. It is the different background and subjectivity that bring forth perspective and imagination that breed success. Do not be afraid to always try something different, see a different perspective or a different path, learn to weigh the pros and cons, and challenge oneself to a better way of doing things. 

Speaker Series #3 - Soft skills: Creativity, Communication & Colaboration

Speaker Series #3 - Soft skills: Creativity, Communication & Colaboration

Knowledge versus Applied Knowledge

Today, ideas and knowledge can be googled easily, the best idea may not be original, but "it is what you do with it that gets recognized in a startup environment," according to Nasikkar. Knowledge is always there, the idea is not worth anything until you take the next step to apply the knowledge to solve a problem. Just like it is not the first time one see the characters on the drawing, it is that open-mindedness, creative thinking, willing to experiment and explore, peer learning and collaboration that makes the idea and activities valuable. 

Creative Engagement in Technology

Nasikka showcases his Teens Take Off at Kaiser Permanente, using Adobe Illustrator, Flash, InDesign to create an interactive game designed to help teens lose weight as a group therapy. The tool is made available to enrolled patients which allow them to learn about healthy habits while having fun.

Nasikka's Ergonomics design utilizes Adobe Illustrator, Flash and Photoshop to help Kaiser solve some of its health challenges. SmartMoves was a program designed to help their 900k employees with Ergonomics at the workplace. 

Thanks to technology, through creative design and content, he can create tools to effectively engage stakeholders to change behavior. "The technology part is easy, it is the content design, user interface, user experience (UI/UX) that takes creative thinking," said Nasikka. "Think out of the box,stretch, go beyond your comfort zone and don't be bound by normal boundaries." He also said that if something is normal, it becomes mundane; it is the only if something fails that creates an opportunity to learn something new.

Changing behavior remains the key challenge to success

When asked about what are the future challenges for start-up like Chaperone, Nasikka said there are 2 challenges, (1) create awareness (2) change behavior. Buying more advertising can address customer awareness. But behavior change takes time and education. Rideshare is a movement, an evangelism; analogous to the green movement of banning plastic bags in California. Overtime, shoppers are now accustomed to carrying their own recycled bags. 

Thank you to Mr. Nasikka for an inspired presentation

On behalf of our attendees, EqOpTech would like to sincerely thank our speaker for taking the time to share his invaluable experiences and words of wisdom.

Speaker Series #3 featuring Shrikant Nasikkar, Entrepreneur, Found CEO, Chaperone

Speaker Series #3 featuring Shrikant Nasikkar, Entrepreneur, Found CEO, Chaperone

Our past and upcoming events are posted on our website here, including topics on networking, cyber security, user interface development, entrepreneurship, machine learning, artificial intelligence, entrepreneurship and CAD engineering etc. Please stay tuned.

User Interface Development - Speaker/Workshop Tech Series #2

On July 15, 2017, EqOpTech hosts a second tech talk in a series of Speaker/Workshop for students interested in the tech fields. The tech talk features Kevin Whitley, Software Engineer from Roadster, a silicon valley startup.  

July 15, 2017, Speaker/Workshop Series #2 - User Interface Engineering

July 15, 2017, Speaker/Workshop Series #2 - User Interface Engineering

The seminar attendees learn how Roadster revolutionizes the car-shopping experience and hear a deep dive discussion with the developer and cofounder, Kevin Whitley, who designs and builds the self-service User Interface (Roadster Express) that gets customers through the entire transaction 100% online with the brand-new vehicles delivered to their doorstep.

Whitley kicks off the meeting by underscoring the importance of being a good communicator, facilitator and team member in addition to technical skills. Having these skill set will not only bring lots of value to any organization but also happiness at work. 

So Many UI Tools, So Little Time

User Interface ("UI") development is changing so rapidly, it is important to be able to learn something brand new every 6 months, according to Whitley. With Javascript and CSS, new libraries and frameworks are released every week, the best way to learn them is to build sample application on a personal website even though the new technology is half-baked and may not be ready for prime time to be used in business. Further, they may not be compatible with all browsers. Given so many Javascript tools and framework (React, Angular, View), Whitley recommends Stack Overflow, a bulletin, wiki forum for UI developers to collaborate all day long where they can learn, share and build careers. 

The Power of More with Less - Amazon S3

What used to take an army of technical staff twenty years ago at Ariba now takes only four people to build a software application at Roadster.

What is the difference: inexpensive software libraries, database and operational deployment now made possible by Amazon Web Services on the cloud.  "Nowadays, a small team can build a good size application and use inexpensive tools to deploy it on cheap software," said Whitley. "This trend will continue with Uber, AirBnB using platform as a service on the cloud. Before long, one person will now be able to build software to design a house, an airplane, send someone to the moon, you can solve a problem with few people, pretty cool!"

Tips on How to Get Started on coding

Besides being a programmer, Whitley writes poetry, he offers the best way to get started is to read a book, google search and find online resources such as courses, forums etc. "Don't just read the course, code, don't copy the code, just do the coding," said Whitley. "Don't forget to reach out to the community for help and support."

Good book and online resources include: HTML for dummies, Coursera, Udacity, Lynda, Code School and Stanford online courses which are often free. Whitley suggests that students should learn both HTML/CSS for design/look and feel; Javascript for programming, algorithm to solve a business problem.

Real Learning versus Textbook Learning

Real learning comes from internship, a portfolio of experience, accomplishments and technical/soft skills one can bring to the table. Whitley also provides students some pointers on resume building and career networking. Generally, recruiters or hiring managers spend less than 30 seconds to scan resumes, he discusses best practices on how to communicate and make the right impression to pass the 30-seconds scan.

When asked what kind of workers will a hiring manager be looking to hire; "someone who is smart; can get the job done and can work with people," Whitley said. "Get the job done, prove yourself, is far more important than graduating from a top school."

Our past and upcoming events are posted on our website here, including topics on networking, cyber security, user interface development, entrepreneurship, machine learning, artificial intelligence, entrepreneurship and CAD engineering etc. Please stay tuned.

Computer Networking & Cyber Security - Speaker/Workshop Series #1

On July 8, 2017, EqOpTech collaborates with MVLA Scholars to launch a first in a series of Speaker/Workshop for students interested in the tech fields. The tech talk features Vijay Talati, VP of Engineering from Juniper Networks on computer networking and cyber security.

July 8, 2017 Speaker/Workshop Series #1 Networking and Cyber Security

July 8, 2017 Speaker/Workshop Series #1 Networking and Cyber Security

An early spark of interest

"The goal of the speaker series is to expose high potential, low income students to explore and pursue interests in the technology field," said Terence Lee, Founder and CEO of EqOpTech. "Likewise, the workshop series are hands-on computer workshops aimed to simulate a real-world challenge so that students can learn how to troubleshoot and think on their feet to problem-solve." 

Following the workshop, participants may apply to volunteer and intern at EqOpTech's program to gain valuable work experience. This will prepare students for other internship and career opportunities when they arise.

The target audience are scholars, low income students receiving scholarships in Mountain View Los Altos and other Bay Area neighborhood as well as students interested in technology. Joining the scholars are EqOpTech's volunteer/intern team who are interested in learning, teaching and mentoring in the computer science/engineering arena.

July 8, 2017 Speaker/Workshop Series #1 Networking and Cyber Security

July 8, 2017 Speaker/Workshop Series #1 Networking and Cyber Security

Thank you for the word of wisdom, Mr. Talati

EqOpTech team would like to thank Mr. Talati for an informative and enlightening afternoon of networking and cyber security.

When asked about whether machine learning changes the career landscape and displaces jobs for new graduates, Talati said that machine learning, deep learning, artificial intelligence and the Big Data opens up opportunities in Data Scientists who can analyze, make sense and predict results.

Talati has this advice to share with students: apply for internships and develop logical thinking and problem solving skills which are far more important than programming language skills.

The slide decks for the Networking and Cyber Security talk can be access as follows:

Our upcoming events are posted on our website here, including topics on networking, cyber security, machine learning, artificial intelligence, entrepreneurship and CAD engineering etc. Please stay tuned.

 

Give the Gift of Technology - Refurbished Laptops

EqOpTech partners with Almond Elementary School to launch a laptop drive to benefit students in need. “Our goal is to promote equal opportunity learning through technology tools,” said Terence Lee, CEO and Founder of EqOpTech. “All donated laptops will be refurbished and deployed to kids who do not have easy access to laptops to do home assignments.”

Refurbished laptops deployment: Erika Benadom, Almond School Principal, Terence Lee, EqOpTech Founder, Jessica Mountz, Almond School’s ELD Teacher (left to right)

Refurbished laptops deployment: Erika Benadom, Almond School Principal, Terence Lee, EqOpTech Founder, Jessica Mountz, Almond School’s ELD Teacher (left to right)

Students in the Los Altos School District often work collaboratively on project-based learning using tools such as Google Docs and Edmodo. This collaborative environment aims at sharpening students’ research and analytical skills as well as teamwork and project management experience expected of them in the real world. For this reason, it is essential that students have easy access to laptops outside of classroom.

To close the gap for students who do not have laptops at home, Lee and his tech team work tirelessly at the weekly school clubs at Los Altos High School and Egan to fix up, upgrade and install necessary software on all donated laptops. Each laptop has been refurbished to its full functionality and all personal data removed prior to redeployment. 

On June 2, 2017, EqOpTech delivered all refurbished laptops to Erika Benadom, Almond School Principal and Jessica Mountz, Almond School's ELD Teacher to deploy to needy students without computer access at home.

"I feel privileged that our school was included in EqOpTech’s program this year. Thanks for all of your hard work and support to our schools. Children deserve equal opportunities to learn and thrive in this tech savvy world," Mountz said. "Technology is something that most of our students have in abundance at home. But for a few, it is something that they could only access at the school or a public library. Having that luxury at home was not attainable for them without help. Thank you for offering that help to our wonderful students."

Embarking on a new journey, not only do refurbished laptops receive an extended life cycle but students are also given an equal opportunity to compete academically. Jumping with joy, each recipient shares their unique story of what the new computer means to them.

 

Thank you so much for this computer. It is really amazing and you have done such a great job to fixing it and I will be so proud to take it home with me soon. Since my older sister has her computer to work on her homework, it has been hard to work on mine. This computer will be really useful for me to work on my homework. Thank you again for this computer and all the hard work you put into it.
— Sincerely, Natalie
I am so so happy about my new computer. I thank you for fixing the laptop for me.
—Yahir
Thank you for the new computer, I really appreciate it. Now I can do my homework at home. Now, I don’t have to go to the library and do my homework. I used to have a computer but then it broke so then I didn’t have one and it was really hard for me to do my homework. Thank you very much for letting me have this computer.
—Sincerely, Leslie
Thank you for giving this computer to me, I really appreciate you spending time on this. I always have to ask my mom for her computer but I don’t use it very often. So sometimes, I have to do the work by hand and I am so so excited to have my own computer. Thank you.
—Sincerely, Sophia
I am really happy for having a computer because, before I had to use my brother’s computer and it was very difficult for both of us. Now that I get to use a computer, it will be very helpful for me because before I had to hand write the assignments. Thank you for all the hard work you have done for me and another students.
—Sincerely, Samantha
I am very thankful and happy that I got a computer. I am very happy because now I have a place to do my homework. This computer is very helpful because if there is ever a time I have to finish things from school or homework, I can use the computer to do all my work on. Thank you so much for all your hard work and all the time you spend preparing this computer. Also thank you for doing this for others and helping lots of other people. I am so grateful for having his computer and thank you for all your hard work.
—Sincerely, Abilene

EqOpTech Collaborates with Stanford Student: Providing Refurbished Laptops for Computer Coding Program in the East Bay

Terence Lee , LAHS junior (left) and Shannon Yan, Stanford University freshman (right)

Terence Lee , LAHS junior (left) and Shannon Yan, Stanford University freshman (right)

The Equal Opportunity Technology program collaborates with the community at large to tackle the important issue of digital divide in education. The nonprofit organization teams up with local schools, boys scout troop, church, service clubs, nonprofits and local companies to (a) run laptop drives, (b) charter school clubs to refurbish and deploy laptops, (c) team up with other nonprofits to either teach STEM classes or provide access to refurbished laptops for coding outreach.

On June 20, 2017, Terence Lee of EqOpTech presented 8 refurbished laptops to Shannon Yan, a 17 years old from Oakland, Girls Who Code and incoming Stanford student, who will be teaching students from Oakland and Piedmont to learn computer coding.

"Shannon discovered her love for coding her sophomore year of high school and since then has focused on teaching herself through online tutorials. Two summers ago, she became involved with Girls Who Code where she spent the summer at Square learning several programming languages. It was through that experience she realized she wanted as many people as possible to fall in love with coding like she did," according to the teenvogue website. 

"I started running programs and camps across the Bay Area teaching coding to elementary school students (many of whom are underprivileged), hoping to inspire young children to participate in the space" Yan said. She has so far mainly taught at local East Bay schools, but during the summer that is not possible, so she is planning to teach at a local community center/ library.

Here is a list of websites/resources Shannon will use in her teachings:

EqOpTech looks forward to continue to team up with Shannon to inspire and enable students to pursue an interest in coding and other STEM fields. Shannon is invited to check back in and share her experience and success stories on how these refurbished laptops help her accomplish her goals. Stayed tuned.

A Summer Solstice Celebration to Remember

EqOpTech attended the Los Altos Community Foundation 2017 Summer Solstice Celebration on June 24, 2017. Held at The Wayman Home (formerly Adobe Creek Lodge), the garden party featured locally produced wine, appetizers, live music, and friends from the local community.

Terence Lee, EqOpTech, Lisa Chung, District Rep Senator Jerry Hill, Clay Volino & Georgia Lyon (Interms at Sen. Hill's Office), left to right

Terence Lee, EqOpTech, Lisa Chung, District Rep Senator Jerry Hill, Clay Volino & Georgia Lyon (Interms at Sen. Hill's Office), left to right

Happy Summer Solstice: here's 3 reasons why we love the LACF summer solstice.

1. Networking with the Community

This is a great opportunity to reconnect and/or meet friends. We have the pleasure of seeing Lisa Chung from the District Representative Senator Jerry Hill's office again and meet the Interns, Clay Volino & Georgia Lyon.

Sana Khader, Leadership Council at LACF E3 (educate, engage, and empower) Youth Philanthropy gave a presentation about its program and vision to bring forth positive social change through service, leadership and grant making activities. Sana is also a senior from Los Altos High School and an active volunteer at EqOpTech's Computer-in-a-Box service project via the National Honor Society.

In addition to the E3 Youth program, we are also introduced to representatives from the LEAD (Leadership, Education and Advancement Program), CAFE (Center for Age Friendly Excellence) as well as Los Altos BAT (Los Altos BAT Action Teams) and other local nonprofits. EqOpTech appreciates and welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with these organizations to make a difference in our community.

Joe Eyre, LACF Executive Director, spoke to the audience about the Foundation, its vision, programs and ways to get involved.

2. It's Summer, Let the Festivities Commence! 

The beautiful Wayman Home and its surrounding 46 acres of architectures and elegant gardens is accompanied by great wine, food, music and company. Our favorite wine friends are: 

  • Bryan Family Vineyards
  • Chateau d'Hitz 
  • Cloudstone Zinfandel
  • Chang Vineyards Sangiovese

Thank you for the great conversations and wine sharing!

IMG_4979.JPG

3. Summer solstice brings more sunshine

Let's welcome the summer and celebrate the longer days of good times.

EqOpTech Bridges the Digital and Education Divide with Community Grant from Los Altos Community Foundation

EqOpTech is proud to announce it has been awarded a Community Grant of $2,500 by the Los Altos Community Foundation (LACF). The Los Altos Community Grants Program supports nonprofit organizations and activities that directly serve the residents of Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, and the surrounding community. 

The LACF Community Grant will be used to bridge the digital and education divide by enabling free, equal opportunity learning via access to technology in under-served community while inspiring and engaging student volunteers to give back and serve as role models to gain meaningful experiences and leadership skills. 

Since inception, the nonprofit has launched various initiatives, including laptop donation drive, Computer-in-a-Box refurbishing program and STEM workshops. These service projects not only aim to provide students with a platform to gain real-world experience and leadership skills but also mentor and train students in computer engineering skills. To date, the nonprofit organization has received approximately 500 donated laptops from individuals, schools and companies. Each laptop will be refurbished to its full functionality with operating system and removal of all personal data prior to deployment.

"Thanks to LACF, this grant will contribute towards missing or defective laptop components such as power adapters, hard disk drives and batteries for the Computer-in-a-Box refurbishing program," said Terence Lee, Founder and CEO. “This will allow us to revive older technology to access the cloud (Google Drive) and provide students with real-world work experience.” He added, “We also plan to offer a series of hands-on computer networking summer workshops for high potential, low income students to gain tech experience and achieve their college and career dreams.”

"Los Altos Community Foundation is pleased to support EqOpTech's work. It is important for all students to have access to the Internet for learning and career preparation," said Joe Eyre, Executive Director at Los Altos Community Foundation.

Joe Eyre, LACF Executive Director (left), Terence Lee, EqOpTech Founder

Joe Eyre, LACF Executive Director (left), Terence Lee, EqOpTech Founder

About EqOpTech

EqOpTech Inc. is an IRS-designated tax exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that enables free, equal opportunity learning via access to technology in under-served community. EqOpTech provides easy access to computer hardware, software, and mentor support in STEM education. For more information, visit www.EqOpTech.org. Follow EqOpTech on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.

About LACF

Now in its 25th year, Los Altos Community Foundation enables residents, private foundations, and businesses to strengthen the community through local philanthropy and civic engagement. The Foundation, its donors, and volunteers provide grants and scholarships, operate leadership and community-building programs, incubate “startup” nonprofits, offer donor-directed charitable funds, and convene groups to solve community issues. For more information, visit www.losaltoscf.org

EqOpTech seeks unwanted, functioning laptops to benefit students in need at Monta Loma Elementary School in Mountain View

Following a successful roll out of Refurbished Laptop Home Loan/Usage Program at Santa RitaEganAlmond and Blach schools in Los Altos, EqOpTech, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is expanding its tech outreach to Monta Loma School (Mountain View-Whisman school district) to benefit students without laptops.

BRIDGING THE DIGITAL EDUCATION DIVIDE

Technology is deeply integrated into project-based learning; students are expected to learn and leverage technology tools, from online research, collaboration using google hangouts or google docs to shooting video, iMovies for TED talks. This collaborative environment aims at sharpening student's research and analytical skills as well as teamwork and project management experience expected of them in the real world. For this reason, it is essential that students have access to laptops both in class and at home. 

Students without laptop access outside of class are at a significant disadvantage. Not only are these students unable to access online research at home, but they also cannot collaborate real-time with classmates to prepare for classroom discussion. Overtime, students without laptop will be lagging behind their peers, learning at a slower pace.

MONTA LOMA LAPTOP HOME USAGE PROGRAM - DONATE NOW

EqOpTech is seeking functioning laptops (Windows & Mac) with appropriate power adapters on an ongoing basis. Each laptop will be refurbished to its full functionality with operating system and removal of all personal data prior to redeployment. 

"Our goal is to promote equal opportunity learning through technology tools," according to Terence Lee, CEO and Founder of EqOpTech. "All donated laptops will be refurbished and redeployed to kids who do not have easy access to Google Drive and other cloud-based applications." 

To donate, please drop off at collection box at the office, Monta Loma School, 460 Thompson Ave, Mountain View, between May 15 to 26. Please disable any password prior to donating. If you wish to donate outside of this window, please e-mail donate@eqoptech.org or lucy@eqoptech.org.

Donations are tax-deductible. Tax receipt will be provided upon request and will be mailed directly from EqOpTech Inc.

SUMMER LAPTOP REFURBISHING WORKSHOPS

A series of laptop refurbishing workshops will be hosted locally over the summer where the EqOpTech technical team will teach students basic PC refurbishing skills (Windows, Mac, Linux, Chromium) such as removal of personal data, restore to factory settings, install drivers, maintenance; operating system & software installation, partition hard drive and dual boot, upgrade and repair; and security etc. This event is open to students who have an interest in technology and want to give back to the community. Email contact@eqoptech.org if interested. 

This project is funded in part by a community grant award from Los Altos Community Foundation, thank you LACF!

EQUAL OPPORTUNITY TECHNOLOGY

About EqOpTech Inc.
Founded in May 2016, EqOpTech is a 501(c)(3) IRS-designated tax exempt nonprofit organization managed by students. EqOpTech promotes and enables equal opportunity free access to technology for computer learning and STEM education in under-served communities.

RECENT PRESS ON EQOPTECH:

'I GIVE THEM A NEW LIFE': HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT TACKLES SILICON VALLEY’S DIGITAL DIVIDE WITH REFURBISHED COMPUTERS, BY REBECCA GREENWAY, APRIL 26, 2017, NBC BAY AREA

NONPROFIT TEACHES TECH SKILLS, FIGHTS INEQUITY, BY JANE RIDGEWAY, APRIL 5, 2017, LOS ALTOS TOWN CRIER

EqOpTech seeks unwanted, functioning laptops to benefit students in need at Blach School

Following a successful roll out of Refurbished Laptop Home Loan/Usage Program at Santa RitaEgan and Almond Schools, EqOpTech, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is launching a laptop drive to benefit students without laptops at Georgina P. Blach Intermediate School.

PROJECT-BASED COLLABORATIVE LEARNING AT LOS ALTOS SCHOOL DISTRICT (LASD)

The 21st century project-based learning is the future of education. Technology is deeply integrated into project-based learning; students are expected to learn and leverage technology tools, from online research, collaboration using google hangouts or google docs to shooting video, iMovies for TED talks. Likewise, teachers use tools like Edmodo, Membean and other Google tools to foster collaboration and student engagement. This collaborative environment aims at sharpening student's research and analytical skills as well as teamwork and project management experience expected of them in the real world. For this reason, it is essential that students have access to laptops both in class and at home. 

BRIDGING THE DIGITAL EDUCATION DIVIDE

The traditional classroom now transforms into a virtual classroom that extends learning beyond the physical classroom. This poses a learning challenge for students who do not have laptops at home. Not only are these students unable to access online research at home, but they also cannot collaborate real-time with classmates to prepare for classroom discussion. Overtime, students without laptop will be lagging behind their peers, learning at a slower pace.

BLACH LAPTOP HOME USAGE PROGRAM - DONATE NOW

EqOpTech is seeking functioning laptops (Windows & Mac) with appropriate power adapters on an ongoing basis. Each laptop will be refurbished to its full functionality with operating system and removal of all personal data prior to redeployment. 

"Our goal is to promote equal opportunity learning through technology tools," according to Terence Lee, CEO and Founder of EqOpTech. "All donated laptops will be refurbished and redeployed to kids who do not have easy access to Google Drive and other cloud-based applications." 

To donate, please drop off at collection box at the office, Blach School, 1120 Covington Ave, Los Altos between May 15 to 26. Please disable any password prior to donating. If you wish to donate outside of this window, please e-mail donate@eqoptech.org or lucy@eqoptech.org.

Donations are tax-deductible. Tax receipt will be provided upon request and will be mailed directly from EqOpTech Inc.

Summer laptop Refurbishing Workshops

A series of laptop refurbishing workshops will be hosted locally over the summer where the EqOpTech technical team will teach students basic PC refurbishing skills (Windows, Mac, Linux, Chromium) such as removal of personal data, restore to factory settings, install drivers, maintenance; operating system & software installation, partition hard drive and dual boot, upgrade and repair; and security etc. This event is open to students who have an interest in technology and want to give back to the community. Email eqoptech@gmail.com if interested in participating.

This project is funded in part by a community grant award from Los Altos Community Foundation, thank you LACF!

EQUAL OPPORTUNITY TECHNOLOGY

About EqOpTech Inc.
Founded in May 2016, EqOpTech is a 501(c)(3) IRS-designated tax exempt nonprofit organization managed by students. EqOpTech promotes and enables equal opportunity free access to technology for computer learning and STEM education in under-served communities.

Recent press on EqOpTech:

'I Give Them a New Life': High School Student Tackles Silicon Valley’s Digital Divide with Refurbished Computers, By Rebecca Greenway, April 26, 2017, NBC Bay Area

Nonprofit teaches tech skills, fights inequity, By Jane Ridgeway, April 5, 2017, Los Altos Town Crier

 

Inspire Mountain View Challenge Finalist - EqOpTech

The Inspire Mountain View is a community challenge to "inspire innovation that makes Mountain View a more compassionate and equitable community, and a better place to work and play."

EqOpTech (short for Equal Opportunity Technology), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit is proud to be a finalist for the Inspire MV Challenge with a proposed innovative project that would inspire innovation that makes Mountain View a more compassionate and equitable community, and a better place to work and play. This contest is organized and managed by the Los Altos Community Foundation and is sponsored by Google, LinkedIn, Symantec and Synopsys.

EqOpTech is planning to expand its footprint to Mountain View schools to provide the gift of technology to disadvantaged youth. To support EqOpTech's efforts to close the digital divide in education, please help EqOpTech in the following ways:

  1. vote for EqOpTech project in Mountain View here before April 21st
  2. help us spread the word 

Three Problems, One Solution

EqOpTech is a Los Altos student-led nonprofit seeking to revive and reuse older technology as a learning tool to enable students with an "equal opportunity" access to STEM education through technology. Older laptops unable to access Google Drive are revived with Linux OS & deployed to disadvantaged students for homework & STEM learning. 

The Equal Opportunity Technology program addresses the following challenges:

1.      Benefit needy students with technology tools and training to significantly enhance their ability to excel academically 

2.      Provide opportunities for youth community to learn important technical and leadership skills while engaging in community services to benefit students in need.

3.      Protect the local environment by reviving and reusing old laptops, minimizing e-waste impact.

EqOpTech makes Mountain View a more compassionate and equitable community and/or a better place to work and play

This project connects the community at large to collaborate and tackle the important issues of digital divide in education and environment. Despite the ubiquity of technology in Silicon Valley, students from low income family do not have easy access to computers and yet, there is an abundance of outdated computers slated to go to e-waste. We seek donation of obsolete/unwanted laptops and give them a purposeful second life by installing Linux OS as a dual boot to access the latest Google applications and to improve system performance. We provide equal opportunity technology learning to all students. Aside from providing disadvantaged students with easy access to laptops, we provide student volunteers with service opportunities to teach, mentor and motivate those in need.  By engaging and empowering student volunteers in laptop drives, refurbish and STEM workshops, we provide leadership experience and the importance of giving back to the community, creating a win-win situation for all.

Technology-Infused Education - 21st Century Learning

Technology is deeply integrated into project-based learning at our school; students are expected to learn and leverage technology tools, from online research, collaboration using Google Drive, to creating iMovies for TED talks. Students without laptop will be at a disadvantage, lagging behind their peers, learning at a slower pace. Aside from providing laptops, our project seeks to leverage technology to teach, mentor and motivate disadvantaged students to effectively compete in STEM education.

The 'target group' - Students helping Students

The target group is the students. This is a program led by student project leaders, in collaboration with other student volunteers for the benefit of the disadvantaged students. Our students-helping-students program provides opportunities for students to collaborate in running laptop drives, refurbish workshops and ongoing STEM outreach to help students in need. The project not only fosters computer literacy in underprivileged youth, but also enriches students' leadership and computer skills.

Making a Permanent Change - Level the Playing field in Education & Technology

In order to prepare our students to compete effectively, it is critical to level the playing field in education technology. To address the root cause of the education divide, the program seeks to empower students with technology tools & service support to learn STEM at an early age. Through partnerships with school clubs, service organizations, libraries, museum etc., we aim to expose these young learners to develop early STEM skills & foster a focused, enriched environment for positive learning

Innovation - Use of Linux Technology to "enable" Older Technology

This project leverages technology to solve a multitude of real problems. It transforms potentially hazardous e-waste into useful education tools. By breathing new life into old laptops with Linux not only allows for access to the latest Google applications but also boost system performance. The program truly promotes equal opportunity technology education to all students: it empowers student volunteers to learn technology and leadership skills, and at the same time, enables disadvantaged students with technology tools to excel in class. The Computer-in-a-Box is open to all students including our youngest interns in 5th grade.  What is unique about this project is the usage of technology to enable technology. In addition to live workshops, we provide the option of a step-by-step instructional user manual, an ISO image burned to a DVD, a how-to YouTube video on loading Linux and all other essentials packed in a box to pass out to students for refurbishing flexibility in time and place.

Partnerships - More than a One-Man Operation

Our program partners with local community to deliver the laptop and services funded by this grant. We plan to partner with school administration, PTA, student body and service clubs to run laptop drives to reach out to individuals and companies for laptop donations. Other potential partnerships may be established from time to time using direct appeal, social media and social private network (Nextdoor) to get the word out for support. We will team up with local school and service clubs to refurbish workshop at schools, library, police department or company meetup groups.  We will also partner with service organizations and school clubs to host STEM-related workshop to teach, mentor and motivate young learners to develop STEM interests and skills. 

Quantitative and Qualitative Metrics that Measure Up

The first metric is “the number of refurbished laptops deployed” which includes (a) laptops for disadvantaged students to use at home or outside of school (b) laptops deployed to teach STEM workshops in the community. The second metric is the number of volunteer hours which includes (i) laptop drives: publicity, marketing, social media and laptop pick up (ii) refurbishing laptops: technical training, removal of personal data, maintenance; operating system & software installation, upgrade and repair; and security (iii) organize & teach STEM workshops. The third metric is a qualitative assessment via survey monkey of how the program positively impacts the student participants’ lives, both for the disadvantaged students and student volunteers.

About EqOpTech

EqOpTech Inc., located in Los Altos, CA, is a 501(c)(3) IRS-designated tax exempt nonprofit organization that promotes and enables equal opportunity free access to technology for computer learning and STEM education in under-served communities. Visit EqOpTech at www.eqoptech.org

Senator Jerry Hill honors Presidential Volunteer Service Awards student volunteers from EqOpTech

Terence Lee, Daniel Lim, David Ding, Randall Lowe, Senator Jerry Hill, Aditi Talati, Arushi Goyal (Left to Right)

Terence Lee, Daniel Lim, David Ding, Randall Lowe, Senator Jerry Hill, Aditi Talati, Arushi Goyal (Left to Right)

On April 10th, 2017, Senator Jerry Hill invited Presidential Volunteer Service Award recipients from EqOpTech to his District Office in San Mateo to attend an award ceremony. The Presidential Volunteer Service Award ("PVSA") recognizes, celebrates and inspires community service leaders and volunteers to make an impact to change the world. EqOpTech, a PVSA certifying organization, shares a similar vision to empower and enable student volunteers with a platform to gain real-world experience and leadership skills and inspires them to give back to the community.

Senator Hill honors EqOpTech leaders and volunteers

Senator Hill proudly presents to the following well-deserving students with the official PVSA medallion, personalized certificate of achievement together with a congratulatory letter from President Obama. During the presentation, Senator Hill proclaims and commends each awardees for their service and commitment to the community in the area of technology and education. 

EqOpTech 2016 PVSA Award Winners:

  • Terence Lee, Gold Award, Young Adult, Los Altos High School
  • Daniel Lim, Gold Award, Teens, Los Altos High School
  • Aditi Talati, Silver Award, Teens, American High School
  • David Ding, Silver Award, Young Adult, Los Altos High School
  • Randall Lowe, Silver Award, Young Adult, Los Altos High School
  • Arushi Goyal, Bronze Award, Kids, JFS Elementary School

PVSA volunteers - thank you for your inspiration

"Thank you to EqOpTech's PVSA volunteers for your passion, leadership and service in improving our under-served communities", said Terence Lee, Founder of EqOpTech. "Your recognition inspires others to make an impact to change the world!" 

"Participating in the PVSA program has been a rewarding experience for everyone, both recipients and certifying organization. This award has helped further our goals as a nonprofit acting as incentive by inspiring our volunteers to go beyond what they would normally do and as a result have learned and developed greatly." Lee said.  He also thanked Senator Hill and Ms. Lisa Chung for hosting and organizing this ceremony and the recipients for putting in both the time and the effort to earn this prestigious award.

EqOpTech partners with PVSA to inspire & recognize volunteerism

EqOpTech Inc. is proud to serve as an official certifying organization for the President's Volunteer Service Award. PVSA is offered to EqOpTech staff and volunteers of different age groups and each level corresponds to a different number of service hours within a 12 month period. Levels include bronze, silver, gold and the highest honor, the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

    For Award Criteria, please visit here. For more information on hours requirements, visit the President's Volunteer Service Award webpage or e-mail eqoptech@gmail.com.

    About the Presidential Volunteer Service Award

    The President’s Volunteer Service Award recognizes, celebrates and holds up as role models Americans making a positive impact as engaged and deeply committed volunteers. In 2003, the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation launched the President's Volunteer Service Award to recognize the importance of volunteers to America's strength and national identity, and furthermore, to honor the deeply invested volunteers whose service is multiplied through the inspiration they give others.

    The President’s Volunteer Service Award recognizes United States citizens and lawfully admitted, permanent residents of the United States who have achieved the required number of hours of service over a 12-month time period or cumulative hours over the course of a lifetime. To learn more about the President's Volunteer Service Award, visit www.presidentialserviceawards.gov

    About EqOpTech

    EqOpTech Inc., located in Los Altos, CA, is a 501(c)(3) IRS-designated tax exempt nonprofit organization that promotes and enables equal opportunity free access to technology for computer learning and STEM education in under-served communities. Visit EqOpTech at www.eqoptech.org

    EqOpTech seeks unwanted, functioning Laptops to Benefit Students in Need at Almond School

    Following a successful roll out of Refurbished Laptop for STEM program at Santa Rita and Egan Schools, EqOpTech, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit company, is launching another laptop drive to benefit students without laptops at Almond Elementary School

    Project-Based Collaborative Learning at Los Altos School District (LASD)

    LASD has been preparing its students for 21st century project-based learning and collaboration using Google Drive and Edmodo. Working as a team, students are assigned homework to share a Google Doc and/or perform online research and collaborate on a project assignment. Likewise, teachers use tools like Edmodo, Membean and other Google tools to foster collaboration and student engagement.  This collaborative environment aims at sharpening student's research and analytical skills as well as teamwork and project management experience expected of them in the real world. For this reason, it is essential that students have access to laptops both in class and at home.

    Bridging the digital education divide

    The traditional classroom now transforms into a virtual classroom that extends learning beyond the physical classroom. This poses a learning challenge for students who do not have laptops at home. Not only are these students unable to access online research at home, but they also cannot collaborate real-time with classmates to prepare for classroom discussion. Overtime, students without laptop will be lagging behind their peers, learning at a slower pace.

    Almond Laptop Home Usage Program - Donate Now

    Almond Used Laptop Drive by EqOpTech

    Almond Used Laptop Drive by EqOpTech

    EqOpTech is seeking functioning laptops (Windows & Mac) with appropriate power adapters on an ongoing basis.

    "Our goal is to promote equal opportunity learning through technology tools," according to Terence Lee, CEO and Founder of EqOpTech. "All donated laptops will be refurbished and redeployed to kids who do not have easy access to Google Drive and other cloud-based applications." 

    Each laptop will be refurbished to its full functionality with operating system and removal of all personal data prior to redeployment. 

    To donate, please drop off at collection box at the office, Almond Elementary School, 550 Almond Ave, Los Altos between March 20 to 31. Please disable any password prior to donating. If you wish to donate outside of this window, please e-mail Donate@EqOpTech.org.

    Thank you for supporting the Laptop Donation Program. Donations are tax-deductible. Tax receipt will be provided upon request and will be mailed directly from EqOpTech Inc.

    Equal Opportunity Technology

    About EqOpTech
    Founded in May 2016, EqOpTech is a 501(c)(3) IRS-designated tax exempt nonprofit organization managed by students. EqOpTech promotes and enables equal opportunity free access to technology for computer learning and STEM education in under-served communities.

    EqOpTech launches Computer-in-a-Box Programs at LAHS, Egan and Sunday Friends

    Egan Junior High Principal Keith Rocha (left) and Terence Lee, EqOpTech Founder

    Egan Junior High Principal Keith Rocha (left) and Terence Lee, EqOpTech Founder

    Many believe that there is a wealth of technology here in the Silicon Valley that is both available and accessible to everyone. Unfortunately, the reality is that many kids from low income families do not have easy access to computers to complete online homework assignments. Despite this, locally, there is an abundance of older computers that are outdated and eventually end up as e-waste.

    Terence Lee, a high school junior at Los Altos High School ("LAHS") and founder of EqOpTech, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, partners with local schools and nonprofit to enable equal opportunity access to technology. The student-run nonprofit refurbishes and deploys old laptops to students in need enabling access to the cloud (Google Drive) to complete homework and projects anytime, anywhere.

    Following a successful phased roll out of a Refurbished Laptop Program at Egan and at Santa Rita Elementary School, EqOpTech is launching a Computer-in-a-Box Program to address the digital divide in the Silicon Valley.

    Bridging the Gap between the Classroom and the Real World

    The 21st century project-based learning is the future of education. Technology is deeply integrated into project-based learning; students are expected to learn and leverage technology tools, from online research, collaboration using google hangouts or google docs to shooting video, iMovies for TED talks. Likewise, teachers use tools like Edmodo, Membean and other Google tools to foster collaboration and student engagement. 

    This poses a learning challenge for the needy students who do not have laptops at home. Not only are these students unable to access online research at home, but they also cannot collaborate real-time with classmates to prepare for classroom assignments. Overtime, students without laptop will be lagging behind their peers, learning at a slower pace.

    Revive and reuse old technology

    EqOpTech seeks to revive and reuse older laptops as a learning tool to enable students with an "equal opportunity" access to the cloud (eg. Google Drive) and to minimize unwanted computers going to e-waste. In November 2016, EqOpTech partners with Egan School to launch a laptop donation drive to support students without laptop. With the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday breaks,  the EqOpTech tech team not only dedicates time to refurbishing each laptops to its full functionality but also dives into the latest technology to give the old laptops a new life.

    On January 20, 2017, Terence Lee, EqOpTech Founder presented 10 refurbished laptops to Egan Principal Rocha in support for its Laptop Home Loan Program.

    Breathe new life into old laptop using lightweight Linux

    With Linux Ubuntu/Lubuntu installed into old white MacBooks and Windows laptops as a dual boot, students are now able to access the latest Google Applications and other cloud applications. The Linux dual boot not only allow access to the latest tech applications but also boosts system performance of older laptops so that they are as good as new. Other options are also available with Neverware, which turns old laptop into a Chromebook or running PIXEL from Raspberry Pi.

    Turn Problems into Opportunities

    "One of the challenges with refurbishing old laptops is time as not all laptops are created equal", Lee said. "It can take a lot of time to troubleshoot and find an optimal solution given the hardware and software constraints of different Windows-based laptop sold through various OEM." The light bulb went off when EqOpTech received the white MacBook 1,1 and 2,1 from Los Altos School District. "What if I document a step-by-step instruction for each MacBook, burn the ISO image into a DVD, record a YouTube video on loading Linux and put everything in a box to pass out to students for refurbishing", he said. This was the genesis of the Computer-in-a-Box service project.

    Computer-in-a-Box Service Project

    The "Computer-in-a-Box" service project has been rolled out at Los Altos High School EqOpTech Club weekly meetings. This event is open to regular club members, LAHS National Honor Society and any students who have a passion for technology and education. No prior computer skills are required. Students can check out a computer box to refurbish. Participants are issued step-by-step instructions to install Linux operating system (OS) to dual boot with Mac OS with all the packed essentials in a box: a DVD, installation guide (or via Youtube), and power adapters ready-to-go. E-mail eqoptech@gmail.com to request a computer refurbish box.

    The “Computer in a Box” project is open to Egan Junior High School students in a series of live workshops. The workshops will take place in Room 29 at Egan School for 8 consecutive Mondays (2/27, 3/6, 3/13, 3/20, 3/27, 4/3, 4/17, 4/24) starting February 27, 2017 from 3 to 4:15 pm. EqOpTech is very grateful to Mr. Peter Swenson for opening up the computer lab to host EqOpTech's Computer-in-a-Box program. Sign up with Mr. Swenson, Egan Computer Science teacher.

    EqOpTech plans to replicate more version of "Computer-in-a-Box" service projects to other students in the Bay Area. The next "Computer-in-a-Box" live event with Sunday Friends is open to all volunteers, where both old MacBooks and Windows laptops will be refurbished to help students in need. It is scheduled on April 23, 2017, from 2:30 - 4 pm at Lowell School, 625 S 7th St, San Jose. Sign up at www.SundayFriends.org/volunteers

    All participants will earn community service hours.

    Computer-in-a-Box instructors: Terence Lee, Daniel Lim, Egan Teacher Peter Swenson (left to right)

    Computer-in-a-Box instructors: Terence Lee, Daniel Lim, Egan Teacher Peter Swenson (left to right)

    The Best of Both Worlds: Dual Boot with a Dual Mission

    Just as dual booting with Linux & Mac OS offers the best of both worlds, the "students-help-students" "computer-in-a-box" project solves two problems at once. The service project not only inspires students to give back to the community, it also enriches and broadens participants' computer engineering skills while helping other students in need. 

    EqOpTech is a "company of the students, by the students and for the students". The nonprofit organization aspires to empower and enable student volunteers with a platform to gain real-world experience and leadership skills and inspire them to give back to the community.

    IMG_4361coloradj.jpg

    Computer-in-a-Box Service Project at Egan - February 27, 2017

    About EqOpTech

    EqOpTech Inc., located in Los Altos, CA, is a 501(c)(3) IRS-designated tax exempt nonprofit organization that promotes and enables equal opportunity free access to technology for computer learning and STEM education in under-served communities. Visit EqOpTech at www.eqoptech.org

    EqOpTech launches Computer-in-a-Box at Egan School

    Computer-in-a-Box Refurbish Workshop

    Computer-in-a-Box Refurbish Workshop

    By Terence Lee

    Following a successful roll out of a Refurbished Laptop Program at Egan School, EqOpTech of Los Altos is launching a Computer-in-a-Box Refurbish Workshop to refurbish old laptops benefiting students in need.  

    EqOpTech, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, promotes equal opportunity learning through technology. The Company refurbishes and deploy old laptops to students in need to enable access to the cloud (Google Drive) to complete homework and projects.

    One person's Trash is Another person's Treasure

    EqOpTech team seeks to revive and reuse MacBook models 1,1 and 2,1 that would otherwise go to e-waste. The MacBook Model 1,1 and 2,1 are old technologies from 2006/2007 that are obsolete and cannot access Google Applications. Refurbishing old MacBooks with Linux operating system not only extends the life of old technology but is also good for the environment. 

    Google Drive and Other Apps on the Linux Operating System

    Google Apps are available on Linux Ubuntu or Lubuntu as most of Google tools work within a web browser. Ubuntu/Lubuntu is a free, open source Linux operating system with bundled free applications such as Firefox, LibreOffice, etc. 

    Depending on the MacBook model, either Linux Ubuntu or a light version called Lubuntu can be installed. Light versions of an operating systems are pared down so that unnecessary applications and processes are not included, reducing the space and processing power required.

    BEST OF BOTH WORLD - DUAL BOOT LINUX/MAC OSX

    Dual Booting is a process that allows for multiple operating systems to be installed on the same hard drive, in this case, Linux allows for the computer to have Google Drive capabilities while still maintaining the original Mac OS. 

    Reviving Old MacBooks 2,1 with Linux UbuntU

    Under this program, White MacBooks 2,1 will be refreshed by installing Linux Ubuntu to enable students to access a web browser to use latest technology such as Google Drive to do homework and learn in the cloud.

    Revive old macbooks 1,1 with Lubuntu - Lightweight Linux

    MacBooks 1,1 will be refurbished to dual boot a lighter version of Linux called Lubuntu that is especially designed for low hardware specifications/older machines and fast performance. This is ideal for older laptops but can be used for modern laptops as well.

    Computer-in-a-Box Project

    “Computer in a Box” project is open to all students at Egan Junior High School. Under this project, each student volunteer will be provided with a MacBook in a box and a kit consisting of a power adapter, installation guide and an installation disk to install dual boot Linux alongside Mac OS. For Refurbish Instruction, a Youtube and/or live training will be given to help walk students through the refurbishing process. 

    "We are very grateful to Mr. Peter Swenson for opening up the computer lab to host EqOpTech's Computer-in-a-Box program", said Terence Lee, Founder of EqOpTech. "Your support to refurbish and reuse older technology will provide "equal opportunity" to foster STEM education and to minimize unwanted computers going to e-waste."

    The workshop will take place in Room 29 at Egan School for 4 consecutive Mondays (2/27, 3/6, 3/13, 3/20) starting February 27, 2017 from 3 to 4:15 pm. 

    Students who are interested can sign up with Mr. Swenson. Live instructions will be provided at the workshops by instructors Daniel Lim and Terence Lee from EqOpTech.

    Community service hours are awarded

    EqOpTech is a company of the students, by the students and for the students. EqOpTech aims not only to mentor and train students in computer engineering skills, but also to inspire students’ involvement to give back and be a role model to needy students in under-served community. Community service hours will be awarded to all participants.

    EqOpTech honors 2016 President’s Volunteer Service Award winners

    President's Voluntary Service Award

    Presidential Volunteer Service Award

    Presidential Volunteer Service Award

    Originally created by President George W. Bush, the Presidential Voluntary Service Award ("PVSA") aims to recognize the best of the American spirit and inspire everyone to live a life of community/volunteer service through presidential gratitude and national recognition. 

    EqOpTech Inc. is proud to serve as an official certifying organization for the President's Volunteer Service Award.

    PVSA is offered to EqOpTech staff and volunteers of different age groups and each level corresponds to a different number of service hours within a 12 month period. Levels include bronze, silver, gold and the highest honor, the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

    Congratulations to EqOpTech's 2016 Presidential Award winners

    • Terence Lee, Gold Award, Young Adult, Los Altos High School
    • Daniel Lim, Gold Award, Teens, Los Altos High School
    • Aditi Talati, Silver Award, Teens, American High School
    • David Ding, Silver Award, Young Adult, Los Altos High School
    • Randall Lowe, Silver Award, Young Adult, Los Altos High School
    • Arushi Goyal, Bronze Award, Kids, JFS Elementary School

    2016 MLK Drum Major for Service Award pvsa

    Each year, EqOpTech will nominate and recognize an individual volunteer who performs extraordinary everyday acts of service with reliability and commitment for the Martin Luther King Drum Major For Service Award PVSA. 

    It is with great pleasure and pride to announce that the 2016 MLK Drum Major For Service Award PVSA is presented to:

    for his tireless service to reinforce the lessons of Dr. King's life by promoting equal opportunity learning and STEM education via technology in under-served communities.

    PVSA volunteers - thank you for the inspiration

    "Thank you to EqOpTech's PVSA volunteers for your passion, leadership and service in improving our under-served communities", said Terence Lee, Founder of EqOpTech. "Your recognition inspires others to make an impact to change the world!"

    For Award Criteria, please visit here. For more information on hours requirements, visit the President's Volunteer Service Award webpage or e-mail eqoptech@gmail.com.

    About the Presidential Volunteer Service Award

    The President’s Volunteer Service Award recognizes, celebrates and holds up as role models Americans making a positive impact as engaged and deeply committed volunteers. In 2003, the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation launched the President's Volunteer Service Award to recognize the importance of volunteers to America's strength and national identity, and furthermore, to honor the deeply invested volunteers whose service is multiplied through the inspiration they give others.

    The President’s Volunteer Service Award recognizes United States citizens and lawfully admitted, permanent residents of the United States who have achieved the required number of hours of service over a 12-month time period or cumulative hours over the course of a lifetime. To learn more about the President's Volunteer Service Award, visit www.presidentialserviceawards.gov

    About EqOpTech

    EqOpTech Inc., located in Los Altos, CA, is a 501(c)(3) IRS-designated tax exempt nonprofit organization that promotes and enables equal opportunity free access to technology for computer learning and STEM education in under-served communities. Visit EqOpTech at www.eqoptech.org

    Computer reuse to benefit Santa Rita Elementary School Laptop Home Usage Program

    EqOpTech, a Los Altos student-run nonprofit, promotes and enables equal opportunity free access to technology for computer learning and STEM education for students in need.

    Terence Lee and Santa Rita Principal Greg Land (left to right)

    Terence Lee and Santa Rita Principal Greg Land (left to right)

    Equal Opportunity Learning via Technology

    Terence Lee, a high school junior at Los Altos High School ("LAHS") partners with Santa Rita Elementary School 5th graders to launch a laptop drive to benefit students in need. “Our goal is to promote equal opportunity learning through technology tools,” Lee said. “All donated laptops will be redeployed to kids who do not have easy access to online educational content.”

    Students in the Los Altos School District often work collaboratively on project-based learning using tools such as Google Docs and Edmodo.

    “This collaborative environment aims at sharpening students’ research and analytical skills as well as teamwork and project management experience expected of them in the real world,” Lee said. “For this reason, it is essential that students have access to laptops both in class and at home.”

    To bridge the gap for students who do not have laptops at home, Lee and his tech team work tirelessly in the weekly LAHS Refurbish Workshops to fix up, upgrade and install necessary software on all donated laptops. Each laptop has been refurbished to its full functionality and all personal data removed prior to redeployment. 

    The Santa Rita laptop home usage program will be deployed in 3 phases:

    Phase 1: 7 refurbished laptops have been delivered to the 5th and 6th graders on November 17, 2016.

    Phase 2: 7 refurbished laptops have been delivered to the 4th graders on December 8, 2016.

    Phase 3: 8 refurbish laptops going to TK through 3rd grades in March 2017.

    A big Thank You

    The EqOpTech team would like to express its sincere gratitude to the donors, Santa Rita 5th graders, Teacher Kathy Day-Bobb, Principal Greg Land, Ms. Alice Lee, LAHS Teacher Sra. Rodriguex, Principal Wynn Satterwhite, Los Altos Town Crier, Nextdoor Community for their support. 

    Terence Lee, Santa Rita 5th graders, Kathy Day-Bobb, Greg Land (left to right)

    EqOpTech launches Congressional Award initiative

    2016 Congressional Award Ceremony, Cannon Caucus Room on Capitol Hill, June 16, 2016

    2016 Congressional Award Ceremony, Cannon Caucus Room on Capitol Hill, June 16, 2016

    EqOpTech, a student-run nonprofit organization promoting equal opportunity learning via technology, is pleased to announce an initiative to promote service and achievement among its students through the Congressional Award Program. The Los Altos-based nonprofit aspires to empower and enable students with a platform to gain real-world experience and leadership skills and inspires them to give back to the community. The Congressional Award program seeks to encourage and empower students to meet personal goals, develop new skill sets, and serve the needs of the local community and beyond.  

    EqOpTech is looking forward to foster a well balanced program to challenge students to a lifelong learning, a passion for community service, an appreciation for health and fitness, a desire to stretch and grow and an enriched professional, personal and civic lives.

    The Congressional Award Journey

    "The Congressional Award journey has been most challenging and fulfilling, but the true reward is the joy of giving back to the community,"  says Terence Lee, 2016 Congressional Award Gold Medalist. "The set goals help propel me to push my limits, expand my horizons, enrich my public service. It is through my active community involvement that inspires me to launch a nonprofit EqOpTech to promote equal opportunity learning via technology. I am honored to be a Congressional Award ambassador, serving as an advisor or validator for local youth pursuing the award."

    For more information on how to get started, visit Community Service Awards on EqOpTech website.