When I moved to Oakland in 2013 I knew I wanted to further my career as a designer. After doing some research, I discovered a tech event being held in San Francisco called a hackathon. Anyone could participate. The experience was great. I networked with professionals, gained UX/UI design experience, and came away with insight for where I wanted to take me career. After attending numerous hackathons I met Kalimah Priforce. We connected over our passion for technology and mentoring young people. Later that year I joined his startup Qeyno Labs as the Design Director. Our mission is to expose underserved youth to careers in technology as developers, designers, and innovators.
During our 2-3 day Hackathons, youth from all over the country pitch ideas to solve problems by building web and/or mobile applications. The students (usually middle school to college) are also joined by adult mentors who are experienced professionals in their respective industries. They then form teams, build prototypes of their apps, create business plans, and present their ideas to a group of judges to conclude their competition.