Rocket scientist now working at Google introduces educational toy robot to teach kids how to code

Abu Mubarik October 11, 2023
Terysa Ridgeway, a pioneering African-American computer scientist and celebrated children’s book author. Photo credit: Black News

Terysa Ridgeway is a computer scientist and a celebrated children’s book author. She also serves as a Technical Program Manager at Google and is the creator of the popular Terysa Solves It book series.

Ridgeway started off as a rocket scientist developing code for Exoatmospheric Spacecraft before her current role at Google. Her journey attests to her commitment to encouraging diversity and representation in STEM fields.

The black scientist is now on a mission to ignite a passion for coding among children worldwide, according to Black News. She is introducing an innovative educational toy robot aimed at teaching kids foundational coding skills and problem-solving techniques, the platform added.

The initiative, dubbed, “Terysa Solves It presents Alilo The Explorer,” seeks to bridge the gap between learning and play. The program is designed for children aged three and above, Black News reported.

What is more, Alilo The Explorer seeks to help children develop critical thinking and algorithmic programming skills through its “plugged” and “unplugged” activities. As a result, participants can interact with the robot by programming it through an exclusive app, using the included floor puzzle pieces, or employing the directional buttons on the robot itself.

Explaining the inspiration behind Alilo The Explorer, Ridgeway noted that it emerged from a direct request from children and parents who were fascinated by her previous works, including her debut book “Think Like A Computer.” 

According to her, teaching children to code is like giving them a superpower. She explained that it unlocks endless possibilities and creativity. With the release of Terysa Solves It presents Alilo The Explorer, Ridgeway said she hopes to further inspire a new generation of young coders and show them just how exciting and fun the world of programming can be.

Ridgeway holds degrees in Computer Science and Mathematics from Southern University and A&M College and has also completed Stanford University’s LEAD Executive Education program. She recently received recognition professionally from Governor John Bel Edwards, Senator Clay Higgins, and Mayor-President Joel Robideaux for helping to introduce STEM to youth from underprivileged backgrounds, Forbes reported.

A study by the Pew Research Center showed that Black students earned 7% of STEM bachelor degrees, stressing how Blacks are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and math. Ridgeway is trying to change the status quo with her STEM education programs.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: October 11, 2023


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