CEO and Entrepreneur invests in early childhood STEM education
With over 30 years in the Information Technology (IT) industry, Danny Chu is passionate about the importance of computer science curriculum in today's schools. To Chu, the future depends upon it.
"Computer knowledge in the 21st century is just as important as electricity," Chu said. "Without it, everything shuts down." This strong belief motivated him to start the nonprofit 5C Academy in 2017 to address the growing shortage of qualified IT workers. The Academy teaches computer coding to early learners, working at the local level to educate K to 12 students in the field of computer and robotic science.
With his experience working as a programmer, CEO and entrepreneur, Chu also knows how to solve problems. When he met obstacles during his early endeavors to provide computer science and coding lessons to elementary schools, he worked to find a new approach. Initially, he delivered curriculum for teachers to use in their classrooms, but found students were quickly outgrowing the lessons. He realized that the model wasn't sustainable. Chu then found a partner in the College of Education and Human Services at UNF and focused on ways to provide professional development for teachers and future teachers in addition to providing more STEM curriculum in classrooms.
Thanks to a generous gift from Chu, the College created the position of assistant professor of Childhood STEM Learning position in July and hired Dr. Meghan Parkinson. In collaboration with 5C Academy, Parkinson is now leading efforts to develop and cultivate problem-solving, computational, critical and logical thinking skills in students at an early age.
Chu sees his donation as a chance to give back to the community. An immigrant from Hong Kong, he moved to the U.S. when he was only 15 years old, and believes if you have been given opportunities, you should pay it forward to help others succeed. "Doing well in life should be your minimum goal," he said. "If you're fortunate enough, you should try to pay it forward to others."
Now retired, Chu resides with his wife in Ponte Vedra Beach where he enjoys his work with 5C Academy, which he fondly refers to as his "favorite hobby."