Tag Archives: The Young Hackers

Young Hackers Collaborate with All Star Code on Local Hack Day

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Most high school students would do very little besides sleep in on a Saturday morning. But on October 10th, over 60 high school students traveled to the Flatiron District for a day of coding. Local Hack Day is a global hackathon, and The Young Hackers participated by hosting their own Local Hack Day at General Assembly.

High School students from across the city, many of whom were first time hackers, sat anxiously in their seats waiting for the event to begin. NYC’s CTO, Minerva Tantoco, gave awesome opening remarks, reminding the hackers how important their work is, and wishing them luck.

After our Co-Founder Mamadou Diallo gave some additional remarks, the hacking began. Students were forced out of their comfort zones, as many of them didn’t know anyone at the hackathon. They quickly made friends, and soon after teams were solidified. The atmosphere was electric. A constant flow of snacks kept the hackers energized and a series of introductory workshops ensured that every hacker was well equipped, regardless of their prior knowledge of coding.

We had a particularly intense beginner workshop for hackers starting from scratch. When they finished and re-entered the room, everyone in the space applauded them and welcomed them to the Young Hacker family.

Diverse programming kept the spirit and creativity up, from longboard races with mentors to rap-battles with engineers. The sun began to set when dinner arrived, but crunch time was just beginning. Hackers worked hard to polish their projects and pitches one final time before they presented to our panel of judges.

The hackathon was only 12 hours long, but the outcome was amazing. The projects ranged from iPhone apps that made practicing Math fun, all the way to a 3D Frogger-esque escape game. After taking a massive group selfie with a selfie stick courtesy of Major League Hacking, everyone helped clean up before heading home with a new love for technology.

Check out all of the photos from Local Hack Day!

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Spotlight On ASC Alums: Volume 1

DevonDevon Howell
Age 16
Rising Senior
Bronx High School of Science, Columbia University Class Of 2019

​ASC. Looking back, what was the most valuable thing you learned at the
ASC Summer Intensive?

​DH​. I learned that failure IS an option, so long as it is a springboard for success. I am defined by failures only in the sense that they have added experience to my life.

​ASC​. What tech related activities are you up to now?

​DH​. I am involved in an organization called The Young Hackers. My job is to organize mentors and workshops during our hackathons. I make sure that everyone who needs help gets it.

​ASC​. What piece of advice would you give to the next cohort of All
Stars?

​DH​. Always challenge yourself. If you’re not struggling, you’re likely not learning. Taking on challenges give you valuable experience and an indescribable sense of accomplishment.


EricEric Razor
Age 16
Rising Junior
Academy for Software Engineering

​ASC​. What was your favorite part of the ASC Summer Intensive?

​ER​. My favorite part of The ASC Summer Intensive was networking. I got to meet so many incredible people like Michael Lisovetsky and Jason Marmon, who have a real estate startup called Skylight (Check it out!) I also loved team building every Wednesday with my fellow All Stars. I got to know so many different lives. ASC truly changed mine.

​ASC​. Looking back, what was the most valuable thing you learned at the
ASC Summer Intensive?

​ER​. The most valuable thing I learned at The ASC Summer Intensive was to ask. Along with coding, learning to ask is the most powerful tool you have. One of our speakers, Avi Flombaum of The Flatiron School, was really good at emphasizing the need to struggle. Struggle leads to asking good questions. You never know until you ask.

​ASC​. How did ASC help you find or create your current opportunities?

​ER​. I would have never been able to do what I can do now without ASC. I am a lot more curious. I ask a lot more questions. I want to know why things work the way they work. I tackle problems more slowly. I ask for help. I refuse to give up.


AustinAustin Carvey
Age 16
Rising Junior
High School for Math, Science, and Engineering at City College

​ASC​. What was your experience with coding and tech prior to participating in All Star Code’s workshops and Summer Intensive?

A​C​. Before All Star Code, I completed one Javascript course. The course gave me a high level understanding of many coding concepts, but no real experience with how to implement them, and no real hacking philosophy either.

​ASC​. What tech related activities are you up to now?

A​C​. I co-founded a collective called The Young Hackers with my fellow All Star, Mamadou. We plan hackathons for other high schoolers. Since our inception, we have had four very successful hackathons and over 400 happy hackers in attendance. Most of our fellow All Stars have been involved one way or another as well. I’m also taking AP Computer Science at my school, but it’s been a breeze for me. So I enjoy helping my classmates with their assignments so they too can learn the joy of hacking.

​ASC​. How did ASC help you find or create your current opportunities?

A​C​. All Star Code introduced me to hackathons, and gave me the drive and the team to start The Young Hackers. The algorithmic thinking I developed at the Summer Intensive made my AP Computer Science curriculum really simple to understand. I can break down complex problems into simpler ones and solve those quickly, ending up with an effective solution. All Star Code ignited a fire in me, which has inspired me to create projects outside of school, and keep that joy alive.

The Year Ahead

February brings a cold snap, but our team is humming to begin our 2015 Summer Intensive recruitment drive. We are thrilled that hundreds of people from parents, teachers, school principals and elected officials are clamoring for their youth to be included in our groundbreaking programming.

Personally, I want to highlight some of our most exciting developments moving into 2015.

We’ve had over 76 young high school boys of color participate in our all-day workshops, which we use to generate awareness and interest in our 6-week Summer Intensive program. Over 60 tech professionals have served as mentors to our boys, helping them deepen their knowledge of coding and the careers in the tech industry. And nearly 40 tech companies, schools and organizations have joined our ecosystem as community partners – ensuring that our students receive industry exposure, training, mentor support, and educational resources.

After exposure to our workshops, mentors, and community partners, over 95% of our boys, when surveyed, stated that our program led them to consider strongly pursuing a tech career path.

Our pilot 2014 Summer Intensive is now a proven success, with an independent research firm confirming that we have increased our students technical skills, entrepreneurial confidence and desire to pursue a career in the technology industry. All 100% of our graduates last summer are now planning to pursue a tech-related career post-program, and 95% are now strongly considering a career in computer science. We feel these results are extraordinary, and we’re excited to share our story with the world as we expand in 2015.

Based on these successes, we are now investing significant time and resources into formalizing our Intensive curriculum. Our Intensive is a scalable program, but curriculum investment is required to make it replicable.

We have great plans for the Intensive this year. By the end of 2015, we plan to have graduated at least 60 students through our Intensive program. For context, only 68 African American students passed the AP Computer Science exam in New York State last year, with a passing rate of 33.8%. Our work can make meaningful change in our space.

Most excitingly, our first class of All Stars is doing extremely well. Our students have attended numerous coding events on their own, including Penn Apps, a monthly event at Spotify, and My Brother’s Keeper Hackathon in Philadelphia. One of our students won a $1,500 prize at a Hackathon organized by our community partner Digital Undivided. They are also very actively participating in a shared Facebook group.

Two of our students have even created their own organization, the Young Hackers. Austin and Mamadou, both 16, met during our Intensive and decided to organize a Meetup for high school students. With support from our instructors and team, they ran a hugely successful hackathon for 100 students hosted by our site sponsor, Alley NYC. Six months later, the Young Hackers have partnered with numerous coding education programs, including our curriculum partner, Flatiron School, to run events.

Giving motivated but disconnected students the skills, network and exposure to integrate into the technology sector is at the crux of our programming. And we are gratified to see our unique curriculum and approach bearing fruit so soon.

On the other hand, several of our students have not been able to participate in some fantastic opportunities because they could not afford the travel costs to the event. We have many more good stories to share as our alumni take flight, but we are also mindful that our program must be a multi-year commitment. To truly be an ecosystem of access, we must secure new funding so that we can continue to support our All Stars. Soon, they’ll be able to find employment at technology companies, and start supporting the next generation of All Stars in return.

Christina

PS. On the personal front, my husband and I welcomed our baby daughter Sasha to the world in November. She is providing joy to us and a lot of amusement to her older brother. Bringing forth a new life to the world grounds me and reminds me that while we should remember and learn from the past our eyes must stay on the future, because that is where our potential lies.

© Natalie Keyssar 2013 for All Star Code. All rights reserved.

Design A Startup In A Day Takes Over Google!

DESIGN A STARTUP IN A DAY TAKES OVER GOOGLE!

On Saturday, November 1st, we held our first Design a Startup in a Day workshop of the season at Google. After some enthusiastic icebreakers and random selection of group CEOs, the students jumped right in to designing their own music-themed startups.

With intensive group discussion, mentor panels, and wireframing under their belts, the students ended the day presenting some of the apps they had created to their families and mentors. The judges and audience alike were impressed by the students’ creativity and attention to detail.

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After the workshop, more than 75% of the participants shared that they were satisfied with the overall Design a Start Up in a Day event.

After the workshop, more than 75% of the participants shared that they are interested in applying to attend All Star Code’s 2015 six-week Summer Intensive.

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One student shared: “My favorite part of today’s program was how much teamwork was put into the presentations.”

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For more photos from the workshop, visit the gallery page on our website HERE.

We look forward to our second Design a Startup in a Day workshop of the season, held at General Assembly onDecember 13th.

UPDATE: THE YOUNG HACKERS

The Young Hackers, an organization started by two of our All Star Code alumni (Mamadou Diallo and Austin Carvey), have kept busy and are continuing their outreach and engagement in the tech space. Most recently, they partnered with Monthly Music Hackathon and held an event at Spotify on November 1st. Some of their ongoing projects include: helping StudentRND organize CodeDayNYC and helping to organize a Local Hack Day event with Major League Hacking for December. We are proud of what they have accomplished thus far and look forward to providing continuous support and hearing further updates about their work.

PRESS

“The New York woman inspiring young men from minority backgrounds to code.” Check out a brand new feature on Christina and All Star Code at Nature.com.

BLOG

Have you checked out the new All Star Code blog? This week’s entry, The All Star Code Impact, comes from our Director of Marketing & Events, Michael Schwartz.

Michael Schwartz

OUR FAMILY IS GROWING!

Meet our new Development Manager, Christina Licata!

Christina Licata

Christina developed a passion for connecting people with nonprofits while working and volunteering at various educational organizations in NYC. Taking her work from the ESL classroom to the front lines of philanthropy, Christina has raised awareness and financial support for educational and athletic causes for over six years. After transplanting to Brooklyn from Tempe, Arizona, Christina co-founded the New York Lady Magpies Australian football team and currently serves as the head coach. She is so excited to be joining the team at All Star Code.

In other news, congratulations to our founder Christina Lewis Halpern and her husband Dan Halpern on the birth of their daughter, Sasha! Everyone is happy and healthy.

JOIN OUR MISSION!

We want to give a shout out to the following organizations who have supported our Summer Intensive student’s continued engagement with technology:

Ruby On Rails, One Month Swift, Treehouse, MakeGamesWithUs, Cracking The Coding Interview, Dev Bootcamp, Codiqa, and Twilio.

ASC Fall ’14 Workshop Announcement

DESIGN A STARTUP IN A DAY RETURNS!

After two successful workshops last Fall, All Star Code’s Design a Startup in a Day returns with a November workshop at Google and a December workshop at General Assembly! Applications are now LIVE on our website. We’re excited to share another fun-filled, educational experience with a new group of high school aged young men of color, and we look forward to reuniting with some familiar faces and hosting several new friends from our ASC ecosystem. Here are three ways in which you can help us get the word out:

  • Forward this e-mail to anyone you think may be interested
  • Share the news on social media #AllStarCode
  • Request a printed flyer to post in your school, office, or community

Design a Start Up Flyer

ALL STAR CODE’S SUMMER INTENSIVE METRICS

The 2014 Summer Intensive was a great success. The data from our post-Intensive surveys only confirms the great impact ASC had on the first cohort of students.

100% of All Star Coders self-identified as “hackers” by summer’s end
95% of ASC alums say they are now strongly considering a career in Computer Science
– The number of languages All Star Coders reported being exposed to and using grew from 9 to 20 by program’s end

As Luis Dominguez, 2014 All Star Coder, shared, “I would have been much more reluctant to pursue tech if I hadn’t done All Star Code. ASC has brightened my opportunities for the future.”

All Star Code

THE YOUNG HACKERS


A key component to ASC’s programming is producing students who go on to create their own business models and projects. Two of our All Stars, Austin and Mamadou, have already launched The Young Hackers: an organization dedicated to connecting and empowering young hackers everywhere. Organizations such as Code Day, DroidCon, Teen Tech, and Stony Brook’s Unhackathon have already approached them for assistance. Congrats All Stars!

The Young Hackers

CODE.ORG STUDENT OF THE WEEK

Code.Org Student of the WeekAnother one of our All Stars has been featured as code.org’s Student of the Week! Djassi Julien is the second ASC student to be featured by code.org. Check out his full article HERE.

TECH CONFERENCES

d42ab48e-8556-416c-9e07-6dab5b061e1aLooking back: On September 11th, All Star Code’s Founder and President, Christina Lewis Halpern, participated as a panelist in The Atlantic’s Technologies in Education forum in Washington, DC. The panel discussion centered around preparing today’s students for tomorrow’s jobs. The panel included Tracy Gray, Managing Researcher at the American Institutes for Research, Kwame Simmons, Principal of Kramer Middle School, and Anne Wintroub, Director of Sustainability and Citizenship for AT&T.

d72eaa94-ab39-46b5-9d02-990e7428d4a6Looking ahead: All Star Code is proud to be a community partner at Digital Undivided’s Focus100, “the most diverse tech conference on the planet”. Come swing by our table next month and say Hello! On October 4th, ASC Founder and President Christina Lewis Halpern will also be one of four judges at the 11 am FOCUS Fellow PITCH Session. You can check out the full Focus100 schedule HERE.

PRESS

129ff1f5-4329-4f68-a0b0-71032540edcaChristina was recently interviewed by The Feast about All Star Code’s partnership with GLG. Check out the full interview HERE.

PHOTO GALLERIES

ec2e3c7a-075d-4cab-8cdf-88d2f9bf1cb5From our first workshop to our latest fundraiser, enjoy the brand new Photo Galleries on our website.

JOIN OUR MISSION

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to All Star Code, and support the next generation of tech pioneers! Visit our DONATION page for more info.