FOSSI | Meet Neranti Gary: 2022 FOSSI Scholar Attending Howard University

Meet Neranti Gary: 2022 FOSSI Scholar Attending Howard University

February 2, 2023

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.