Tag Archives: Summer Intensive

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.

My Incredible Ride With All Star Code

As many of you know, these are my final days as Operations & Program Coordinator for All Star Code. Admittedly, it is bittersweet. On the one hand, I am excited for a new opportunity that lies ahead. And on the other, I’ll be leaving behind an organization whose mission is very close to me.
 
Prior to ASC, C++ was just an awkward letter grade for me between a C+ and a B-. Aside from hipping me to the fact that C++ was a powerful programming language, my time at ASC proved incredibly encouraging. ASC showed me that despite the countless news broadcasts that suggest otherwise, there are a world of folks who believe that Our Boys Matter. These supporters are also willing to put their money, time and efforts behind ASC to prove this fact.
 
That alone was enough to get me out of bed and into the office every morning.
 
I’ve met hundreds of students in the past year while raising awareness about All Star Code. This past July, my focus narrowed down to a select 20 who were accepted to our inaugural Summer Intensive.
 
The ASC team is, by and large, a well-prepared bunch. But nothing could have prepared us for the amount of vigor and life the inaugural Summer Intensive class brought to All Star Code. These young men, known as ASC 1, embody what All Star Code is all about: A deep passion for computer science, grit, wellness and FUN. I thank ASC1 for making our first Summer Intensive a blast and for continuing to stay connected with us.
 
ASC1 – Don’t tell the team this, but I have the most fun job of them all. I’m not even sure they’d disagree. I not only get to interface with great young minds like your own, but I get to be around the incredible individuals who make up the ASC team. These are people who couldn’t be more different, yet are joined by a belief that our young men of color deserve just as much access to the tech industry as anyone else.
 
If you are a parent or educator thinking about connecting with All Star Code, rest assured that your child or student are in the best of hands.
 
I couldn’t be more grateful to all who have made ASC what it is today. In such a short time, we’ve been able to garner a great amount of support. I know it will only continue.
 
Thank you for an incredible ride.
 
David
 

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The All Star Code Impact

In September of last year, a chance meeting with Christina Lewis Halpern changed my life. Christina was just about to publicly launch All Star Code.  She was looking for someone to help run her new non-profit’s first event, to be held at Spotify’s headquarters a week later. In talking with her, I felt inspired by her passion, chutzpah, and big picture thinking. So, I dove in.

We met every day that week leading up to the event. And upon successfully wrapping All Star Code’s first workshop, she casually said to me with a smile, “You’re coming back Monday, right?”

I wasn’t lying about the chutzpah.

Of course I came back the following Monday. And here I am now – 4 workshops, 2 fundraisers, 1 benefit, 6 Summer Intensive weeks and 14 months of Mondays later.

In just one year, All Star Code has worked with more than 100 students from 8 different states and 56 different schools. We’ve recruited top industry professionals as teachers and mentors, and built a program that is so unique, so impactful, and so timely that I constantly find myself talking about the kinds of future leaders our All Stars are destined to become.

As the Director of Marketing and Events, I am highly attuned to the narratives that weave in and out of All Star Code. I often tell friends stories about the All Star student who shadowed me when I photographed a website building workshop. He then built an incredible website not only to showcase his own photography, but to get hired out as an event photographer himself. Or I speak of the two All Stars who created an interactive game that was such a hit at our Summer Benefit in July that the head of a museum invited them to showcase it at HIS event. More recently, I tell everyone about the All Star who came into the Summer Intensive with no prior coding experience, only to build a company with his cohorts that hosted a better-attended hackathon than our own. Christina’s chutzpah is clearly contagious.

Christina often tells anyone involved with All Star Code to “live the mission.” For me, that includes helping build an ecosystem of education and access for our All Stars, through both professional and personal resources.

When we were looking at different tech companies to host field trips for the Summer Intensive, I called my brother’s girlfriend, who works at LinkedIn.  I asked her to help me plan a day-long workshop that included student pitch sessions, profile building, and a hike to the top of the Empire State Building (where LinkedIn’s New York offices are headquartered). When we hosted a fundraiser in my hometown of San Francisco, I called upon a high school friend and winery owner to donate cases of wine to the event. When we needed assistant event managers at the Summer Benefit, I called upon three colleagues who had assisted me previously on other non-profit events. And when one of their boyfriends, a computer programmer, found out about her involvement with All Star Code, he rang me up the next day with a mixture of excitement and jealousy and asked how he too could get involved. And so he became a mentor at our last Design A Startup In A Day workshop hosted by Google. I live the mission by recruiting talent and building out our ecosystem because I believe in these boys and their potential to change the world.

Our ecosystem is expanding every day. If you are reading this now, then you are already a part of it. So I ask you, how will YOU live the mission? Will you volunteer or mentor at a workshop? Will you co-host a fundraiser? Or will you do something as easy as share our newsworthy updates on social media? All such efforts carry our movement forward.  We are all committed to changing the lives of our All Stars. What may surprise you is that because of your involvement with All Star Code, your life could very easily change as well.

Michael Schwartz & All Star Coders at Google Workshop

ASC Summer Intensive Commencement

SUMMER INTENSIVE RECAP
 

While the final two weeks of the Summer Intensive focused on the All Star’s final projects, we still scheduled in some fantastic guest speakers.

  • Frederick Hutson, Founder and CEO of Pigeonly, a unique platform that uses algorithms to collect and organize data on the nation’s incarcerated
  • Peter Boyce, an early stage VC of General Catalyst, a venture capital firm focused on Early Stage and XIR/Growth investments
  • Maya Draisin, Associate Marketing Publisher for Wired Magazine, who spoke to the students about exciting, new technologies like 3D printing and Oculus Rift

The All Stars also participated in an Etiquette Luncheon at the Harvard Club, hosted by Summer Benefit co-chair Loida Nicolas Lewis. At the Harvard Club, the All Stars snapped a shot with a portrait of Reginald F. Lewis, who inspired the founding of All Star Code.

All Star Code Summer Intensive

All Star Code Summer Intensive

The six-week Summer Intensive was undoubtedly a great triumph. As co-facilitator Paul Marques remarked, “I saw students come into the program with little or no coding experience, and leave with the equivalent of a full year’s worth of advanced placement high school computer science, as well as a new-found autonomy to educate themselves further and build their own projects in the future.”

SCIENCE FAIR COMMENCEMENT RECAP



All Star Code’s first Summer Intensive Science Fair & Commencement was held last week at Microsoft HQ in Times Square. The Science Fair showcased the All Star’s diverse and highly creative projects, including All Star Blackjack (a fine product of object-oriented programming), the video game mash-up Street Fighter x Tekken, and All Star Projects, a website that organizes and shares all of the All Star’s projects, this year and beyond.

As one of our All Stars, Luis, told us at the end of the Intensive, “ASC really does expand your world-view. I often stayed after the program to talk with the co-facilitators and it just fueled my passion to learn more. It gave me that much more motivation. I was seeing the world in black and white before. I needed All Star Code to provide the color that I was missing. I’m really grateful for this program.”

All Star Code Summer Intensive All Star Code Summer IntensiveAll Star Code Summer Intensive

Looking ahead, we’re already gearing up to host our new Fall workshops on November 1st and December 13th in NYC, led by co-founder of Enstitute Kane Sarhan. Also look out this Fall for a new blog on our website,AllStarCode.org, as well as a short documentary about our Summer Intensive.

All Star Code Summer Intensive

STUDENT-CREATED HACKATHON

As the Summer Intensive progressed, we were continuously blown away by the initiative of our All Stars. Two of them, Mamadou and Austin, even spearheaded and organized their own Hackathon, held at AlleyNYC the day after the Summer Intensive ended. Attended by over 90 high school students from throughout New York City, and featuring more than 15 demos, this student-led programming proved a great success. Mamadou said his favorite part was finally playing a mentor role to others. Check out some photographs of the event below, taken by Nikolas, another one of our All Stars.

Summer Hackathon Summer Hackathon Summer Hackathon

CODE.ORG’S STUDENT OF THE WEEK

We’re so pleased that Code.org has also chosen Nikolas as their Student Of The Week. Check out their blog HERE, which highlights Nikolas’ unique passions and creativity.

Nikolas

HIRING FOR FALL



All Star Code is looking to hire a Development Manager. This person would report to Founder and President Christina Lewis Halpern, and would continue to build upon and execute our development plan. Check out the job description and apply HERE, and please forward along to anyone you think  may be a good fit!

SUMMER INTENSIVE THANK YOU’S

Thank you first and foremost to the incredibly generous AlleyNYC for hosting our Summer Intensive. 

Thank you to our fantastic co-facilitators, Paul Marques and Jonathan Leung, our curriculum advisors, Avi Flombaum and Kane Sarhan, and our teaching fellows, Moustafa Ndiaye and Sam Riggs.

Thank you to Spotify, Google, LinkedIn, GLG, AOL, Microsoft, Chelsea Piers, Dev Bootcamp, and Flatiron School for hosting Summer Intensive site visits, events and field trips. 

Thank you to all the mentors, speakers, special guests, and volunteers who helped make this Summer Intensive such a resounding success.

We are All Star Code.

Microsoft hosts Science Fair and Commencement for All Star Code

Microsoft hosts Science Fair and Commencement for All Star Code (ASC), a Non-Profit Initiative Celebrating Its First Year of Programming Aimed at Closeing the Race Gap in the Tech Sector.

©Boat-Ashore-Photography-24-IMG_425511.23.2013

New York, New York (AUGUST 14, 2014) – In celebration of their inaugural six-week summer intensive, Microsoft will host All Star Code’s Commencement and Science Fair featuring the “All Stars”, ASC’s initial cohort of 20 young men of color, on Thursday, August 14th. Family, friends, and supporters will also be in attendance. The All Star Code Summer Intensive caps off a remarkable summer for the new non-profit, founded by Christina Lewis Halpern, which saw over 130 students from 4 different states apply for its first flagship program, as well as coverage from the likes of Bloomberg and The New York Times, and a sold-out Summer Benefit in East Hampton, NY, which featured appearances from Mayor David Dinkins and Atom Factory Founder Troy Carter.

African-Americans comprise less than 1% of startup founding teams, a critical sector for job growth and wealth creation. While much progress has been made in the realm of racial political and social equality, the average net worth of a black household remains $5,000, whereas white households average $110,000, according to the most recent U.S. Census. All Star Code aims to change that.

All Star Code had lucrative Fall/Winter programming that featured innovative workshops held at major tech companies such as Spotify, AOL, and General Assembly. These workshops doubled as opportunities for student recruitment.

All Star Code launched its first six-week Summer Intensive in July, 2014, hosted by AlleyNYC. Led by co-facilitators Paul Marques and Jonathan Leung, and featuring a curriculum developed by Avi Flombaum (Dean, Flatiron School) and Kane Sarhan (Co-Founder, Enstitute), the Summer Intensive included more than 200 hours of instruction in computing concepts, programming fundaments, mobile phone and web development, robotics and design. Site visits included trips to the tech offices of Spotify, Google, AOL, and LinkedIN.

ASC Summer Intensive Launch

THE 2014 ALL STAR CODE SUMMER INTENSIVE BEGINS

ASC Summer intensive

After a momentous year of workshops, events, meetups and fundraisers, our joint efforts are paying off. It is with great privilege that we launch our inaugural Summer Intensive this Monday with 20 incredibly bright and passionate young men of color. A big thanks to AlleyNYC for hosting our six-week intensive in their fantastic, midtown space.

 OUR TEAM IS GROWING

ASC Team is Growing

With the launch of our Summer Intensive, we’d like to introduce you to three new members of our incredible team!

Amanda Greenberg, Special Assistant To The President (Fun Fact About Amanda: After graduating college, Amanda participated in a fellowship program where she spent 10 months living in Cambodia, teaching English at an NGO school for former street-working children.)

Paul Marques, Summer Intensive Co-Facilitator (Fun Fact About Paul: Paul is currently helping to design the Massachusetts statewide computer science frameworks.)

Jonathan Leung, Summer Intensive Co-Facilitator (Fun Fact About Jonathan: Jonathan is a 5 time organizer of PennApps, one of the largest student run hackathons in the world.)

All Star Code is still hiring a local, part-time graphic designer to join our team. If you or someone you know may be interested, please direct them HERE.

NY IDEAS FESTIVAL

All Star Code had the great pleasure of participating in this year’s New York Ideas Festival, sponsored by The Atlantic in partnership with Aspen Institute. ASC Founder and President Christina Lewis Halpern, along with Taofeek Rabiu, Senior Technical Manager of AOL platforms and ASC mentor, and Nikolas Rassoules, one of our awesome All Stars, participated in a conversation entitled, “Technicolor: Making Silicon (V)alley Look Like America”.

New York Ideas Festival

The segment was moderated by Atlantic staff writer Megan Garber. You can watch the segment in full HERE. From all of us at All Star Code, Happy 4th of July! And have a great holiday weekend!

New York Ideas Festival

SHOUT OUTS

GOOGLE GRANT

As our corporate partnerships continue to grow, we want to give a big shout out of appreciation to Google for their support through a Google Community Grant. Google has a rigorous vetting process for grantees and supports only absolute highest-quality organizations in the computer science education space. We are honored to be among them, and to have the investment of such a major company in the tech space.

Google Grant

SUMMER BENEFIT

All Star Code will host its first summer benefit in East Hampton later this month, co-chaired by Valentino D. Carlotti, Christina Lewis Halpern, and Loida Nicolas Lewis. We’re thrilled to have Troy Carter in attendance as our special guest as well. We look forward to finally celebrating a year of hard work and great fun.

ASC Summer Benefit

YES WE CODE
Congrats to @YesWeCode on their new website. Now you can easily search for a coding organization near you!
Yes We Code

SAVE THE DATE

We hope you’ll join the All Star Code team on August 14th at our Summer Intensive Commencement and Science Fair. This will be the perfect opportunity for us to introduce you in person to our 20 All Stars and their tremendous work.
Save the Date