Having a Seat at the Technology Table

Having a Seat at the Technology Table

In our current world, many are using the phrase “Seat at the Table” to give merit to their actions or as an opportunity to simply be in the mix but add no value to the table or other serious seat holders. Having a seat at the table should be taken very seriously. If you’re at the table for the wrong reasons everyone in the room will spot it from the beginning.

Thankfully, there are those who weren’t looking for a seat at a table; but when they entered the room immediately, their value was recognized and they were invited to the table.  Today, they head up the table. For the first time in existence, the Foundation for Orange Technical College Winter Park and Avalon Campuses are headed up by powerful, influential and well-rounded African American women.  Nouchelle Hastings, President has been on the board for ten years and was instrumental and hands-on as the then Winter Park Technical Center worked to become an accredited Technical College.  Dr. Shanta Barton-Stubbs, Vice President joined the board in 2017.  Ms. Hastings, shared that when the board went through a transition and a changing of the guards due to retirement and timed tenure; it was important to seek members who had a stake in the community but also members who were doing great things for our youth and making an impact; selecting and unanimously voting for Dr. Stubbs as Vice President made sense.  Dr. Barton Stubbs work with New Image Youth Center and the other mentoring partnerships have gained her recognition on almost every local, state and national platform for youth-serving organizations.

dr shanta stubbs                                                                                                                                                       Dr-Shanta-Stubbs 

A few years ago, a group of former Facebook and Google employees started the Truth About Tech initiative.  The campaign’s goal was to move tech companies to create products less addictive for children. As with all initiatives, come case studies and comparisons.  For instance, if you think middle-class children are being harmed by too much screen time, just consider how much greater the damage is to minority and disadvantaged kids, who spend much more time in front of screens.

According to a 2011 study by researchers at Northwestern University, minority children watch 50 percent more TV than their white peers, and they use computers for up to one and a half hours longer each day. White children spend eight hours and 36 minutes looking at a screen every day, according to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, while black and Hispanic children spend 13 hours.

While some parents in more dangerous neighborhoods understandably think that screen time is safer than playing outside, the deleterious effects of too much screen time are abundantly clear. Screen time has a negative effect on children’s ability to understand nonverbal emotional cues; it is linked to higher rates of mental illness, including depression; and it heightens the risk for obesity.

Having a Seat at the Table

In order to have a seat at the table, one must first be in the room.  In the room, one gains knowledge and information such as the studies mentioned above.  It’s what happens next that determines how valuable your seat will be.  Understanding the data and statistics and seeing the real-time daily reminders; Ms. Hastings and Dr. Stubbs created a subset table.  They invited the village keepers to the table to brainstorm and to discuss how to effectively lead our youth into the next century through technology.  It began with a new Senior Director at the Orange Technical College, Winter Park and Avalon Campuses.  Dr. Capildeo Jadonath.  Dr. Cap as he is affectionately called is a visionary who understands the algorithms that make up the data that goes into reports and research like Truth About Tech, But he also knows that when technology touches the brain of a young person that possibilities are endless.  Dr. Cap met with the then Chair of Greater Orlando CARES, Darrell Butler and they talked about the urgency in getting technology into the urban and lower income communities.

Both Ms. Hastings and Dr. Barton Stubbs began with their own organizations.  Ms. Hastings who co-chaired Greater Orlando CARES with Mr. Butler and Dr. Barton Stubbs began sharing the programs and benefits of Dual Enrollment, a program that allows you to take courses at one of the Orange Technical College Campuses while still enrolled in your high school. The draw, why wait until graduation, when you can start earning college credits and prepare for a career today?

A meeting with Orange Technical College Marketing and Advertising Department Head took place and the birthing of Tech-Talk was born.  With the support of this team, the message could reach more of the urban and lower-income areas sooner than later.  Tech-talk goal is to connect our youth to an evolving world we call information technology and to offer them the advances and opportunity that was formed with Ms. Dorcas Dillard, District Manager - Orlando of POPS, Inc., Ms. Paula Bradshaw, Executive Director of Greater Orlando CARES, Dr. Shanta Barton Stubbs, Executive Director for New Image Youth and Peggy Wilster, Assistant Director at Orange Technical College Winter Park and Avalon Campuses.

Having Village Keepers at the table secures that urban communities and lower-income students will get the information in a timely fashion and have opportunities that their other counterparts and peers have. The seat at the table is critical because these opportunities that are available will also help students become better decision makers and prepare them for global influence and change their financial future and possibly the financial future of their entire family.  Having a seat at the table places these same students in the Orange Technical College culture that is preparing students to enter Orlando’s $5B modeling, simulation, and training industry as visual artists, programmers, designers and more.  Students work with the latest 3D animation and game engine technology including motion capture, 3D scanning, and likeness capture to create realistic simulations used in the modeling, simulation and training industries.

OTC shares that with “the help of our industry partners like the National Center for Simulation, we have created state of the art learning environments like the Launch Site at our Orange Technical College – Mid Florida Campus, a dedicated MS&T facility that houses a collection of simulation, animation, and cinema programs. Preparing students to enter the workforce as animators, modelers, programmers, cinematographers, effects artists, simulation designers, and motion capture technicians. Students work as virtual engineers to create augmented, virtual, and platform learning systems used by the military and educational institutions.  Students also have access to similar programs at the Orange Technical College – Orlando Campus and throughout the many district high schools. These programs of study lead directly to industry certifications and licensures aimed at getting students well-paying jobs and future careers.”

We salute the efforts of these ladies who lead the Foundation for Orange Technical College Winter Park and Avalon Campuses who have sacrificed and continue to sacrifice to do this precious work.  We are ever-grateful to have leaders like this at the table lobbying for equality in education and taking the message of “Change Your Life, Change Your Future” through technology.

To learn more about Orange Technical College Programs and Dual Enrollment visit: and to learn more about the mentor programs referenced visit: Greater Orlando CARES –; POPS, Inc. –; New Image Youth Center –




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