FOSSI: Tell us a bit about yourself.
Since I was young, I've always had a major interest in technology, especially computers. Not just because it was and is a prominent place for entertainment, but because I was interested in how it all worked. I wanted to learn more about the software behind the websites and apps I used on a day-to-day basis. Growing up, my mom put me in several weekend computer science camps like Black Boys Code to introduce Black youth, like myself, to computer science. Going to a predominantly Black middle school, my inspiration only grew as I was introduced to the many possibilities in computer science while starting to learn some coding languages myself.
I decided to take my passion even further and joined a program called the Hidden Genius Project, a program whose mission is to teach computer technology and entrepreneurship to young Black men. The rigorous 15-month curriculum taught me more about web and app design and how to develop a business plan for a virtual marketplace.
This program exposed me to even more opportunities in STEM, and I also learned about the lack of VC funding for black startups. I began researching tech startups and was shocked to learn that only about 1.2% of Black startups raise venture capital. This illustrated the growing wealth disparity in this country, especially in California, a state that leads the nation in technology. In college, I will continue to expand my knowledge of different computer science principles and how I will use them to better my community.
FOSSI: Fast forward – where do you see yourself in ten years?
I plan to start a company that expands education to the youth of marginalized communities of color. There exists a plethora of underutilized technology to support academic instruction. Virtual reality, where students can learn within a 3D space, provides new possibilities for how educational content can be delivered. These technologies can reduce the resource divide in education. Low-income public schools often lack the means to provide the same education as private schools, due to the large resource imbalance. Students from these resource-challenged schools could perform experiments and build projects, providing new experiences to learn rather than passively reading.
FOSSI: Share a few fun facts about yourself.
- I have been a vegetarian my entire life.
- Along with computer science, I have a huge interest in visual arts.
- During the pandemic, I taught myself how to paint shoes and I created a business from it. I get commissioned to paint shoes and fulfill my orders.
- I am currently trying to move into custom fashion (more like painting clothing rather than creating it) and possibly make a product to sell.
- I am teaching myself how to make music through digital audio workstations.