Closing the Technology Gap: Washington Physicians Association Donates Laptops for Presidential Scholars
The Greater Washington Association of Physicians of Indian Origins (GWAPI) recently donated 25 new laptops to Montgomery College students enrolled in the Presidential Scholars Program, which works to increase the representation of African American men in high-wage, high-demand careers. The donation of the new laptops supports a longer-term goal for MC and many of its community partners—to break down technology barriers that hinder student success.
“Having access to educational tools and modern technology is a right every student must have to ensure an equitable and valuable education,” said Dr. Remi Bhatnagar, chair of the GWAPI Philanthropic Committee. “In today's time, having access to laptops to complete assignments and participate in courses is absolutely necessary. GWAPI is honored to be able to support students of our community and help them achieve their educational goals.”
This is the second time that the local chapter of GWAPI, led by Dr. Sudhir Sekhsaria and Dr. Remi Bhatnagar, has donated laptops to MC students. “We [GWAPI] were trying to do more for the MC Foundation and to help students with digital learning needs. We really believe we have made a good impact. And we hope it will make a difference,” said Dr. Sekhsaria, an allergy immunology physician.
For students who are part of the Presidential Scholars Program, the donation is essential in helping them meet academic goals. “Having technology supplied brings me a step closer to achieving success in my journey at MC. The laptop was all I needed and I am grateful for it,” said Cleenton Raphael.
Having access to a laptop, Chromebook, or any technology for students is as critical as needing paper and pencil for school prior to this technology age, according to Dr. Carmen Poston-Farmer Travis, director of student affairs and initiatives: “It is literally impossible for students to be effective in class when they do not have the tools they need to complete assignments, whether they need to ‘Zoom into class,’ do research online, or design a project by way of Microsoft Suite or other online platforms.”
The challenge, Travis said, is that many students are unable to purchase the educational technology on their own unless they sacrifice something needed or go without. “A student without a laptop would be dependent on computer lab hours and availability in those labs. The Chromebooks donated to the Presidential Scholars and other students could be a major factor in determining whether a student passes or fails.”
MC student Abdulmalek Hayredin, said he had a MacOS but needed a different option that was compatible with Windows, Chrome, and Linux. “This donation will literally change my life and will be a great help in achieving my educational goals. I am really thankful and appreciative of this opportunity,” Hayredin said.