All Star Code Scholar De Andre King of Queens, New York, participated in the 2015 Summer Intensive in New York City. Today, as a Senior at Lawrence College in Appleton, Wisconsin, majoring in Computer Engineering.
“If it wasn’t for All Star Code, I wouldn’t have discovered the passion I have for Software Engineering and I probably wouldn’t be the young man I am today.”
What brought you to All Star Code?
I learned about All Star Code when it first launched in 2014 through the career center at my high school. I fell in love with the mission statement: “Closing the opportunity gap between young men of color and the tech industry by giving them the skills, networks, and system know-how they need to become the next generation of tech leaders.” I truly felt that it was a program that would invest in my future and my passion for tech.
I applied for the program that first year, but was not selected. But I applied the following year and was accepted into the program. I’m glad I didn’t give up!
Have you stayed involved or benefited since that initial summer training?
Absolutely! I’ve been fortunate to become an AT&T Scholar within the program, which provided the opportunity to opportunity for me to network with industry professionals, and even got to appear in a PBS NewsHour segment about All Star Code. I’ve also worked with new students, serving both as a Teaching Fellow and then a Teaching Assistant with the Summer Intensive Program. I’ve also volunteered at fundraisers. I love All Star Code!
What have been the main take-aways from your All Star Code Summer Intensive experience?
Honestly, the ability to celebrate failure. As a Junior in high school preparing for college and beyond, having those really thoughtful and passionate conversations around failure that spread into other topics like academics, masculinity, personal and professional wellness, etc. really meant everything to me.
I was also surprised to learn about the significant pushes some major companies, especially within their technology divisions, were making to diversify their teams. I felt that there was an awakening, to a certain degree, about how diversifying the workplace can benefit the overall success of the company and inherently have a greater impact on the world. Some of those benefits consisted of increased creativity and ingenuity, having a variety of perspectives, and overall improved performance.
What difference has All Star Code made in your life?
All Star Code has exposed me to so much and enlightened me from such a young age. It has helped shape and mold my confidence around everything I put my mind to. If it wasn’t for All Star Code, I wouldn’t have received my Posse Foundation Scholarship [which provides full tuition to partner colleges for individuals with extraordinary leadership potential]. I truly believe it was me showing my interviewers the projects that I built during my 2015 Summer Intensive Program that demonstrated the love I have for programming and helped differentiate me from other candidates.
What advice would you give to someone your age who is interested in learning more about tech and entrepreneurship?
I would say that even if you are unsure of what exactly you want to do related to tech or entrepreneurship, there is a huge benefit to being around others like you that are equally curious and eager to just learn more. I would say apply to All Star Code – go for it!