Author Archives: Licata

White House #CS4All Initiative Features All Star Code

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Friends,

We live in interesting times. Throughout our nation and the globe, individuals are coming together demanding change, opportunity, and access in order to find sustainable, rewarding careers in the 21st century.

All Star Code is meeting that need by fostering the entrepreneurial talents of one of our most vulnerable and overlooked populations, Black and Latino boys. ASC empowers young men with the skills, networks, and mindsets they need to create new futures through technology. We work towards building a world where every young man has the confidence to dare greatly, the safety to celebrate failure, and the freedom to tell his story.

After three years of operation, ASC students have matriculated at top colleges across the nation, from NYU to Hampton to Stanford; founded learn-to-code organizations, and launched their own web development businesses. 100% of our college-aged alums go to college and two-thirds to top universities.

I am proud to share that today All Star Code has committed to continuing to double the size of our Summer Intensive each year. We have announced a target to deliver coding, technology, and entrepreneurship skills through our Summer Intensive to 1,000 students by 2020, as part of the White House’s “Computer Science for All” initiative. (See the Fact Sheet.)

This growth would not be possible without the leadership of the many funders, educators, social entrepreneurs and policymakers who care about empowering our youth with the skills, networks and mindsets needed to thrive in the innovation economy. Thank you all of the individuals, companies, and other funders for your sustaining support.

Over the coming months, we are speaking with partners to discuss this growth. Please take a moment to think about an individual, company, organization or city that is invested empowering our youth and send them our way.

Second, we will be hiring for a number of full-time positions. Please check our website and follow us on Twitter to see the new positions as they become available. All inquiries can be sent to jobs@allstarcode.org.

As you may know, we have called off our Executive Director search and I feel so privileged and excited to continue to lead the organization into the next chapter.

Best,
Christina

All Star Code Pledges to Deliver Technology & Entrepreneurship Training to 1,000 Students by 2020 as Part of the White House’s “Computer Science for All” Initiative

New York, NY – August 17, 2016 – All Star Code (ASC), a non-profit organization that prepares diverse young men with skills to obtain careers in technology, will announce its commitment to deliver training to 1,000 students by 2020 in coding, technology and career-focused skills as part of the Obama Administration’s “Computer Science for All” initiative.

Computer Science for All, designed to empower kindergarten- through high school-aged students with the resources to learn the computational thinking skills needed to become leaders in the digital economy, is closely aligned with All Star Code’s mission to prepare young men of color for fulltime employment in the technology industry by providing mentorship, industry exposure, and intensive training in computer science.

Since its founding in 2013, All Star Code has worked to close the racial gap in entrepreneurship through hosting educational technology events, hackathons, and an annual Summer Intensive. The six-week summer program provides training in coding languages, such as Python, JavaScript and HTML, to African-American and Latino male sophomores and juniors in High School, through a curriculum geared toward developing direct motivation, resilience and other psychological traits linked to success in all phases of life.

To date, All Star Code has educated more than 700 students. Already the program has proven to foster a lasting impact, with 70 percent of All Star Code’s Summer Intensive graduates going on to pursue college degrees in STEM fields.

All Star Code’s corporate collaborations and sponsorships with some of the world’s top technology companies, including AT&T, Google, and Goldman Sachs, are another sign of the program’s success. The generous contributions of AT&T and Goldman Sachs, and access to on-site resources and speakers from tech companies like LinkedIn and Uber, have helped secure valuable learning opportunities for ASC’s students.

Over its first three years, All Star Code’s applications and enrollment have increased by 235 percent and 300 percent, respectively. In order to reach its goal of doubling enrollment in the Summer Intensive by 2020, All Star Code plans to expand from New York into the Bay Area and other major cities. In addition, All Star Code aims to invest in its student’s continued success by providing long-term alumni services and starting a “train the trainer” model collaborating with related organizations and community groups to inspire all students to dare greatly, celebrate failure and tell their story through coding.

“We are heartened by President Obama’s investment in computer science and STEM learning, which we believe are not only critical skills in today’s workplace, but also an ideal medium for students to build the life-long characteristics of perseverance, curiosity and confidence needed for future success in business and life,” said Christina Lewis Halpern, founder and Executive Director of All Star Code. “In collaboration with Computer Science for All, we look forward to continuing to grow our program, and joining the national conversation about how to ensure minority males have an equal opportunity and, ultimately, fair representation in the tech industry.”

In addition to the support of key corporate partners, the federal government’s ability to promote and raise awareness of technology-focused programs like All Star Code will be instrumental to ASC’s ability to sustain its growth. Joining Computer Science for All helps expand All Star Code’s network to reach not only a greater number of potential students, but also influential members of the tech and government communities and new corporate partners.

About All Star Code
All Star Code empowers young men with the skills, networks, and mindsets they need to create new futures through technology. We work towards building a world where every young man has the confidence to dare greatly, the safety to celebrate failure, and the freedom to tell his story. We are fostering entrepreneurial talent.

Media Contact
Christina Licata, licata@alstarcode.org

All Star Code’s Summer Benefit Raises over $740K!

unspecifiedOn Saturday, August 6th, All Star Code hosted its Third Annual Summer Benefit to raise funds and awareness of the organization’s mission. All Star Code raised more than $740,000 at the sold out benefit.

The rain held off throughout cocktails, so guests could enjoy the ocean view and play with the student-designed interactive game stations. All Star Code students and alums from all three years of the Summer Intensive program designed and ran the gaming stations. This year’s featured stations included Trigger Safe, a security technology for firearms that uses fingerprint scans to avoid improper use, the the All Star Website Showcase, and The Young Hackers, where guests got to experience what it’s like to organize and attend a hackathon as well as learn about the history, mission and future plans of The Young Hackers. Djassi and Zaire had a particularly popular station with Finchlympics, where guests competed in three games with Finch robots.

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Dinner followed provided by Chef Marcus Samuelsson of Red Rooster Harlem and awards ceremony with Master of Ceremonies, Maurice DuBois, award winning anchor of CBS. Previous honoree and 2016 Summer Benefit Co-Chair, Frank A. Baker, presented the Visionary Award to Hilton Romanski, Chief Strategy Officer of Cisco, for his outstanding work in the tech sector.

Elliott Breece, Product Manager at Google Play and co-founder of Songza, received the Community Award presented by previous recipient and Google colleague, Marcus Mitchell. Elliott shared the critical importance of the tech industry and our students’ place within it saying that, “The world around us is being rebuilt with 1s and 0s, an increasingly connected and digital world. It’s natural that the people who are rebuilding this world will at some level rebuild it in their own image. It’s critical that young men of color are among the most active builders.”

Co-Chair Valentino D. Carlotti welcomed All Star Code’s Founder & Executive Director, Christina Lewis Halpern, to the stage. Christina spoke to the crowd of over 300 people about the core tenets that All Star Code embodies: Dare Greatly, Celebrate Failure, and Tell Your Story. She spoke about All Star Code’s mission saying, “We empower our students to attack new problems with confidence. We give them the tools to work on problems that lie beyond what they’ve already done. We give them the skills, networks, and mindset to create new futures through technology. What we want, really, is for them to figure out the future.” And we believe that they will meet the challenge.

All Star Code alumnus and current Summer Intensive Teaching Fellow, John Abreu, walked the crowd through his journey of finding All Star Code, and eloquently explained how the program has changed his future career path. Abreu will be attending Boston College this fall. “I believe the true value of this program lies in its placement of young men of color, with ambitions greater than their opportunities, in an industry that drives innovation around the world. An industry where people like me are the overwhelming minority,” John said.

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The evening closed with an exciting live auction presided over by auctioneer Alex Berggruen of Christie’s raising over $70,000. Attendees took over the dance floor with MICK keeping the party lit until the lights under the tent dimimed, and another Summer Benefit was successfully behind us.

Countless notable celebrities and personalities took part in the evening including: Jessica White, Maurice DuBois, Jay Williams, Elliott Breece, Hilton Romanski, Nassau County Legislator Carrie Solages, Dr. Nadia Lopez, Anna Throne-Holst, MICK, Alma and Charles Rangel, David N. Dinkins, Founder & Executive Director Christina Lewis Halpern, and Co-chairs Frank A. Baker, Valentino D. Carlotti, and Loida Nicolas Lewis.

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You can still bid on exciting auction items included in All Star Code’s CharityBuzz online auction or donate today.

A special thanks to the Benefit Co-Chairs, Event Committee Members, guests, supporters, and Alimay Events for making the evening such a success!

Check out all of the photos from the event.

All Star Code at SXSW

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On March 11, All Star Code’s Founder and Executive Director, Christina Lewis Halpern will be a key speaker and panel moderator at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. The session is entitled Cracking the Codes: Why Black & Latino Boys Matter.

Christina will be accompanied by Marisa Renee Lee, Managing Director of My Brother’s Keeper Alliance (MBKA) and Marcus Mitchell, Senior Engineer Director at Google. She will be part of a session, which answers the questions:

    Why are some boys falling behind in the 21st century economy?
    What are the consequences of a diversity debt within a startup?
    And how are boys’ needs different from those of girls?

Though the exciting interactive panel, Christina, Marisa and Marcus will be providing insight into the projected deficit of highly skilled workers in the US. By 2020,123 million highly skilled jobs will be available with only 50 million workers with the skills to fill them!

Boys of color in the US will soon be roughly 25% of those entering the workforce. The panelists will discuss how investing in these boys across the US, is an overlooked opportunity and can affect a business’ bottom line.

Christina will take the audience through the exciting movement of closing the opportunity gap for Black and Latino boys across the country with a unique focus on tech sector. All Star Code is very excited for this upcoming event and I hope to see you there!

To find out more about All Star Code’s session, visit SXSW Interactive.

Going to be at SXSW? Contact amanda@allstarcode.org to let us know!

All Star Code Hosts First Hackathon, All Star Hacks!

On December 12th, over 70 high school students traveled to General Assembly’s offices in NYC for a day of learning and coding. All Star Hacks was All Star Code’s first hackathon focusing on the diversification of the tech sector.

I helped to organize the hackathon in collaboration with All Star Code. It was smooth, simple, and easy. We didn’t have a lot of time to organize the event, but it was an incredible success in no small part due to the participation of the wonderful All Stars and staff at All Star Code.

My favorite part of All Star Hacks was the Intro to Coding workshop. Many of our participants were first time hackers. Watching the excitement on their faces, capturing their feelings of wonder on camera, and seeing their finished hacks of awesomeness was amazing.

I invited a number of students from my school. Seeing them enveloped in the workshop, keeping themselves involved and amazed was beautiful to behold. Seeing Charles, a freshman from my school, making friends with other first time hackers made me incredibly happy.

Though we ended the hackathon a bit early, bringing together a large number of diverse first time hackers was enough to solidify the success of the event. At All Star Hacks, we gave students a taste of beauty in the tech world. I saw them leave General Assembly that day with a feeling to cultivate that into something bigger.

Written by Surendra, 2015 All Star

All Star Hacks

A special thanks to the All Star Hacks team including all of our alumni organizers and leader mentors, Isaiah Greene from Google and Phil Marshall from the Paley Center for Media as well as our generous hosts at General Assembly!

All Star Code Partners with JPMorgan Chase’s The Fellowship Initiative

All Star Code is happy to announce a partnership with the JPMorgan Chase’s The Fellowship Initiative, also called TFI. TFI enrolls high school males of color in a comprehensive, hands-on enrichment program that includes academic, social and emotional support. TFI was piloted in 2010 with one cohort in New York City and has since expanded to Chicago and Los Angeles.

Through this partnership, ASC provides free, full-day workshops to TFI Fellows. ASC instructors introduce basic business planning and modeling, wire framing and business pitching. ASC has conducted workshops in Chicago and New York and is headed to Los Angeles in January!

In Chicago and NYC, students were excited by the opportunity to create and pitch a business based on their unique ideas. Examples of pitches included a mobile application that helps musicians to showcase their talent and book gigs, and an application that helps student athletes filter their college search based on the quality of the sports program and geographic location.

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Join us for All Star Hacks!

Successful technologists are measured by their effectiveness as collaborators and communicators. The notion that nothing great is accomplished alone is especially true in coding. Even the most senior web developer needs a second opinion when it comes to approaching a complicated problem. As coders, we learn the most about our projects and ourselves by taking a step back and asking our peers for constructive input.

As a mentor for All Star Code and All Star Hacks, I get to see the power of collective effort firsthand. A hackathon is the ultimate exercise in collaboration and communication. I truly feel lucky to have a helping hand in formulating the structure for their ideas to flourish. Make no mistake, All Star Hacks is a hackathon put on by young hackers, for young hackers. Every detail of the 12hr day of activities was thought of and planned by these young men. It inspires me to work with them…I’m reminded of how important it is to stay hungry.

On Saturday December 12, high school students from all over New York City will have a chance to dive into the exciting world of opportunities that technology has to offer. The best part is that they get to have fun while challenging themselves, their peers, and their mentors.

What else can students look forward to at All Star Hacks?

  • Meet All Star Code staff and learn about programs
  • Speak with graduates of All Star Code programs
  • Project based coding workshops for all skill levels, even beginners
  • Plenty of food, snacks, and swag


  • If you know of a talented young hacker, or any NYC area high school student interested in learning more about web development, register now.

    All Star Hacks
    Saturday, December 12th
    9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
    @ General Assembly

    Spaces are filling up fast. Reserve your spot today!

    This post was written by All Star Code mentor, Phil Marshall. Phil works as Web and Social Media Producer for The Paley Center for Media.

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    Team All Star Code Raises Over $11K



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    Team All Star Code joined forces to run the 2015 TCS New York City Marathon on November 1st. Andrea Casillas, Elliott Wiley, and Sahmra Stevenson generously donated their time and months of training to raise funds for our boys. Not only did all three members finish the race with flying colors, but Team All Star Code raised over $11,000 to support All Star Code’s programming. A special thanks to our runners and all those who helped them cross the finish line. Learn more about Team All Star Code below!


    Andrea Casillas

    Drea copyHometown
    Born in Albuquerque, NM and raised in Mesa, AZ

    Current Residence
    Brooklyn, NY

    Why did you run for Team All Star Code?
    I work in technology, have a teenage son who is an underrepresented minority in tech/science, am an athlete and really love the mission of All Star Code. It also helps that Christina Licata is my sister!

    Number of Marathons Completed
    2

    What was special about this one?
    This time I was able to combine all my worlds and contribute to a cause that creates meaningful change.

    Anything else you would like our community to know.
    Watching all the videos and interviews of the young men who participate in this program brings such a smile to my face. The kids are incredibly smart and extremely excited to learn, create and share their work with the rest of the world. I’m happy knowing that these are future leaders in tech.


    Elliott Wiley

    ElliottHometown
    Baltimore, MD

    Current Residence
    New York, NY

    Why did you run for Team All Star Code?
    The students who participate in All Star Code’s programs are amazing! Seeing their passion, creativity and ability to design and implement tech driven ideas is inspiring.

    Number of Marathons Completed
    4 (3x New York City Marathon)

    What was special about this one?
    Raising nearly $12k for All Star Code and running through every New York City borough is a next level feeling! It was also special because our entire team was able to exceed fundraising goals and finish the marathon.

    Anything else you would like our community to know?
    Please continue supporting All Star Code!


    Sahmra Stevenson

    Sahmra
    Hometown
    Born in Philadelphia raised in Wilton, CT

    Current Residence
    Maryland/DC

    Why did you run for Team All Star Code?
    Because Elliott told me to (smile). No…because when I learned about what a unique and inspiring charity it was I couldn’t say no.

    Number of Marathons Completed
    This makes 8 full marathons and 7 half marathons

    What was special about this one?
    It was in New York! I noticed more water stations than any other race I’ve ever seen, but over all the crowd participation and energy was off the chain.

    Anything else you would like our community to know?
    I would do it all over again.

    Don’t Miss Local Hack Day!

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    Originated by Major League Hacking, Local Hackday is a series of hackathons that take place around the world and our boys are leading one in New York City.

    On October 10th, graduates of All Star Code’s Summer Intensive will lead LocalHackDay NYC at General Assembly in cooperation with the Young Hackers, a hacking organization founded by All Stars Austin Carvey and Mamadou Diallo. Hackathons have become an exciting way for All Stars to build their CS skills, network, and engage in friendly competition.

    All Star Code is thrilled to support our boys as they establish themselves as leaders in tech community.

    What can students look forward to?

  • Meeting ASC staff and learning about our programs
  • Speaking to graduates of our Summer Intensive Program
  • Peer-teaching and learning
  • Lunch and snacks!
  • ​If you or someone you ​know is interested in attending, please register now! No previous coding experience is necessary.

    Space is limited. Secure your spot today!

    REGISTER

    AT&T Aspire Awards 7 All Stars with Scholarship Award

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    Seven students from All Star Code were named AT&T Scholars, as part of a scholarship program AT&T is funding in order to educate, inspire and equip high school boys of color with the skills to pursue careers in tech. The seven students, most of which are from the New York City area will serve for the next year as All Star Code Ambassadors. They will have the opportunity to network with industry professionals and receive free laptops and other supplies. Students were selected based on a combination of leadership, positivity, work ethic and a demonstrated desire to learn and apply classroom concepts.

    “Confident, qualified young men of color who are ready to enter STEM careers are essential to the future of our business and our community,” said Marissa Shorenstein, New York State President of AT&T. “All Star Code works to grow the field and we are thrilled to support the program and our AT&T scholars.”

    “Our boys are a tremendous pool of untapped talent. Teaching them to code is an investment that has unlimited potential return, whether in new ideas and innovation or increased economic opportunity, and we’re tremendously excited to have AT&T’s help in fostering the next generation of tech pioneers,” said Christina Lewis Halpern, Founder and Executive Director of All Star Code.

    The seven All Star Code/AT&T Scholars are:

    • Anand Karmaker, a rising junior at High School for Math, Science and Engineering. He lives in the Bronx.
    • De Andre King, a rising senior at Urban Assembly Gateway School for Technology. He lives in Queens.
    • Uzair Vawda, a rising junior at William Cullen Bryant High School. He lives in Queens.
    • John Abreu, a rising senior at Horace Mann School. He lives in the Bronx.
    • Kofi Adu, a rising senior at Deerfield Academy. He lives in the Bronx.
    • Kwaku Kessey-Ankomah Jr., a rising senior at Cardinal Hayes High School. He lives in the Bronx.
    • Sebastian Galvin, a rising senior Proctor Academy. He lives in Norwalk, Connecticut.

    “I’m proud to be an AT&T scholar because I met a lot of wonderful people and it’s an honor to represent them,” said Sebastian Galvin, a rising senior Proctor Academy. “To be surrounded by people with similar mindsets as myself in the Summer Intensive, and being able to relate to them as fellow young men of color is truly a gift in and of itself.”

    AT&T awarded All Star Code $100,000 through AT&T Aspire, the company’s signature initiative that drives innovation in education to support student success in school and beyond. Through Aspire, AT&T has invested in several innovative education organizations, tools and solutions and engaged its employees through student mentorship.