Assemblywoman Irwin receives Tech Champion Award

Assembly Member Jacqui Irwin, CA-44, has been given the 2018 CompTIA California Tech Champion Award for her “consistent leadership and support of the technology industry in the California state legislature.”

Jacqui Irwin

Irwin, chair of the Select Committee on Cybersecurity, has had a focus on the tech-industry and security concerns, having introduced legislation in response to hacking and education in the tech fields since her time in the Assembly.

“We are thrilled to present Assemblymember Irwin with the 2018 Tech Champion Award for her continued efforts and support of the technology industry and tech jobs here in California,” said Kelly Hitt, CompTIA’s director, state government affairs, California. “Assemblymember Irwin is a key player in ensuring that California continues to be a leader in innovation and that the state remains a trailblazer in digital economic policy. Assemblymember Irwin, like all our Tech Champions, is a strong voice for the technology community and is actively working to ensure that the industry continues to succeed.”

CompTIA, the Computing Technology Industry Association, is an organization consisting of over 2,000 member companies focusing on tech-advocacy, specifically regarding the IT field.

“Since my first term in the Legislature I have focused on making sure tech policy is thoughtful and works to benefit all Californians,” said Irwin. “The help of many partners, including CompTIA, has made these tech policy wins possible for the people of California. I am deeply honored by this award.”

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Solar technology course at Westlake High

Westlake High School students had the opportunity to take a class normally hosted at Moorpark College in the fall semester of 2017: applied solar technology.

The so-called “dual enrollment” class, which was open to both Westlake High and Moorpark College students, was a course on photovoltaics, converting light into electricity using semiconducting materials. The course spanned the physics, photochemistry and electrochemistry fields.

Moorpark College Adjunct Professor Dr. Peter Parrish and Westlake High School AP Environmental Science class instructor Jennifer Boyd devised the class after a student project led to the creation of a solar-powered cellphone charging station to be used during lunch period at Westlake High.

A VC Innovates grant from the California Career Pathways Trust, administered by the Ventura County Office of Education, funded the endeavor. The grant supports “economic drivers of our county and region.”

“The solar industry certainly fits that description,” said Dr. Parrish, adding that “the solar industry continues to sustain 20 percent annual growth, and offers very competitive wages anywhere from $20 to $60.”

The class was held four days a week beginning at 7 a.m. and featured presentations from each student profiling professionals in the photovoltaics field.

A follow-up laboratory and lecture will be offered at the Moorpark College campus this spring, and registration is open now, with classes beginning Wednesday, Feb. 7, for the lecture, and Saturday, Feb. 10, for the laboratory. For more information, call 553-4133.

Camarillo high schoolers win app competition

Step aside, Silicon Valley, the next big app is straight out of Rancho Campana High School in Camarillo.

Sophia Taylor and Abigail Creech, students at Rancho Campana, have been named the 2017 Congressional App Challenge winners by Congresswoman Julia Brownley, D-Westlake Village, for developing Connect Me, an app designed to help people who are experiencing domestic violence, suicidal thoughts, eating disorders and other difficult situations by connecting them with immediate assistance.

“I want to congratulate Sophia and Abigail for their excellent work developing this new app,” said Brownley. “These young women have shown us the positive impact that can come from creative thinking, hard work and technological know-how.”

The Congressional App Challenge is a competition organized by Members of Congress across the country for K-12 students who create their own software applications. Taylor and Creech’s app will be featured at the U.S. Capital Building and on the website of the U.S. House of Representatives, and the pair will win a $250 Amazon Web Services gift card.

“I had so much fun participating in this competition,” said Taylor. “I had the opportunity to use my computer science and coding skills and develop an app to help people. I was so thrilled when I heard that the app had won.”