One of Fullstack Academy’s core values is to accelerate meaningful and enduring diversity and inclusion in tech—and justice in educational access is fundamental in that journey.
The systemic challenges that Black communities have faced with access to education continues to be a root cause of many of the injustices that we see throughout society today, which is why, in June 2020, we launched a new scholarship initiative to address the issue: the Opportunity Fund.
Aiming to diversify the industry, make it more equitable, and drive innovation through new perspectives, the Opportunity Fund offers full-tuition scholarships to our full- and part-time web development and cybersecurity programs.
Applicants simply complete a standard Fullstack application and, upon acceptance, submit a video explaining their passion for tech, their role models in the industry, and why now is the best time for them to launch the next phase of their careers.
From a new parent who wants to launch a fulfilling career as a cybersecurity expert to an IT repair technician who wants to build a better tomorrow to a dreamer with a deep love of technology, meet our first 12 scholarship recipients below.
Laquacha Bienaime will be joining the Cybersecurity Bootcamp. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and loves animals, reading, and trying new foods. She is new to learning cybersecurity but is looking forward to learning more and meeting everyone.
Laquacha says, “I am excited to start a career in tech, so I can create something that will help others. With a career in cybersecurity, I want to make technology safe and secure for everyone to use.”
Warren Burke is a big science fiction fan. He absolutely loves Star Trek and Star Wars and he is very excited about the new Dune movie that’s due for release later this year. His passion for computer tech began as early as junior high school, and he wrote his first computer program as early as the sixth grade. In addition, he was a math and science geek, which is why when it came time for college, he decided to be a computer engineering major.
He shares, “I wasn’t really able to work in the field that was my true passion and I was always on the lookout for some way to do so, and then came Fullstack and the Opportunity Fund, which will allow me to pursue a career in Cybersecurity, which is currently among the most exciting areas within computer tech. I am ever so grateful and just can’t wait to get started!”
Eugina Rannette Clarke has served as a professional debt collector for top international clients for over six years. With a passion for helping others, she has volunteered with numerous community service and social justice projects. As a true Floridian, she enjoys the outdoors and prefers trips to the springs over trips to the beach.
Eugina says, “I’m excited to commit myself to a whole new world that’s constantly evolving and striving to be better.”
Sebastian Leighton Cooper
A former Division I athlete, theatre artist, and master of ceremonies, Sebastian Leighton Cooper is no stranger to traveling new paths. Through it all, he has steadfastly embraced hard work. Now he embarks upon a new journey feeling prepared to dedicate himself to long hours building both new skills and new projects! Born and raised in the District, Sebastian remains excited about the Nationals’ World Series win, despondent about the Football Team, and through it all, he’s dedicated to caring for his grandma.
Sebastian says, “It’s so exciting to think that I could go from consuming tech to creating tech. It’s just as exciting to know that I’ll be building skills toward a rewarding career!”
Tasha Holloway has a B.S. in Business Administration. Her previous experience consists of sales, customer service, account, and project management in the E-commerce industry. Although she was successful in those positions, she always had a special interest in IT. As she learned more about the different sectors in technology, she became intrigued by cybersecurity. This led her to the wonderful opportunity at Fullstack Academy. At this time, Tasha is an IT Repair Technician who is certified in Samsung and Google and is working toward being certified in Apple repairs.
“I am ecstatic about building a safer and more secure infrastructure for a better tomorrow,” she says.
Latifah Johnson, who goes by “Tifah” for short, is from New York. Prior to her journey into Cybersecurity at Fullstack Academy, Tifah studied theater and had roles in television shows Law & Order: SVU, Odd Mom Out, and other productions. She discovered Fullstack Academy through her family friend Janel Grant, an alumna from the Grace Hopper program. Tifah attended the Cybersecurity info session and was immediately captured by learning about ethical hacking and the various roles of cybersecurity. She looks forward to developing and growing her skills at Fullstack and being another success story.
She shares: “I am excited about launching my career in tech because it gives me the opportunity to build and problem solve the cybersecurity world creatively.”
Keon Jukes is a tech-enthusiast from Newark, New Jersey, who has been on the business side of tech for the last five years. Keon has built his own tech startups, completing Y Combinator's online startup school, as the business co-founder, and recently has begun to create his own software for smart speaker devices. He is ambitious and hopes to use technology as a tool to solve the world’s biggest problems.
Aram Martin has spent his life using personal and professional experiences to bridge the gap between critical theory analysis and praxis. At this point in time, his focus is on creating a theoretical framework for Black Liberation and Power that pulls from such schools of thoughts, including Pan-Africanism, Afro-Pessimism, Decolonization theory, Black Anarchism, and Marxism-Leninism. As the son of a military veteran, he spent his life moving around from state to state, being introduced to new regional cultures, but one thing always remained the same: The dispossession of Black folks.
He graduated high school from the Miller School of Albemarle in Charlottesville, Virginia, where he excelled in basketball. After receiving several scholarships to compete at the varsity level, he chose Brown University, where he studied Cognitive and Neuroscience and received his Bachelor’s Degree. He then undertook the Communications graduate program at Bryant University, where his interests in mediated communication and communication theory grew.
Aram is currently living in Chicago, Illinois, where he hopes to continue doing community work that improves the material conditions of those in it.
“I’m excited to start my tech career because I believe there are necessary problem-solving skills I’ll be able to develop doing the coding bootcamp. Aside from the learning process, I’m eager to transition my career into engineering and look forward to what opportunities lie ahead,” Aram says.
Brandon Newell, a 24-year-old security officer from New York, decided to further his career after he welcomed his baby girl into the world. With a passion for technology in his early teenage years, he quickly became interested in the tech beneath the display. With the increase of threats in the cyber world, Brandon is ecstatic by becoming a recipient of Fullstack’s Opportunity Fund. He takes pride in accomplishing what needs to be done effectively. Committed to Fullstack’s ethics and upon completion of this course, Brandon looks forward to a longstanding career as a cyber expert.
“Nothing excites me more than learning a whole new skill or language in a time frame I’m able to excel at,” he says.
Edwin Rodriguez Ortiz
Edwin Rodriguez Ortiz is a first-generation Bronxite and college graduate born in the Dominican Republic. Edwin has amassed two years of technical experience working as a Desktop Analyst at Marvel Entertainment. In his spare time, he enjoys bike riding, watching anime, and traveling.
“I am excited about launching a career path as a developer because of all the meaningful and impactful work I will be able to work on. Being a developer would allow me to create tools that could inherently affect the lives of many people in positive ways,” he says.
Hamsatou Sacko emigrated to the US at the age of four. Her parents wanted her to have the opportunities they never had and so they encouraged her to be all that she can. She’s always had a drive for success, especially since her parents wanted her to live the American dream. Throughout the years she has worked in healthcare and recently felt the need for a career change. She decided to dive into cybersecurity and give the tech world a chance. She strongly believes that to succeed you have to be willing to push your limits and she knows the sky is the limit.
“I am excited to launch a tech career because I want a change and definitely ready to learn new things and grow as a person. I have always believed I would have a lifelong career in healthcare and have no other interests. After taking a few prep classes at Fullstack I discovered my passion for tech and know I am ready for the challenge,” Hamsatou says.
Siray is from the South Side of Chicago. She’s always had a deep love of technology, often using computers to escape the harsh realities of growing up in Englewood. She’s always been a big dreamer, choosing “CEO of Apple” as her dream job in the eighth grade. And she still has big dreams, hoping to inspire future generations as a Black, transgender leader in technology, and an advocate for technological education in underrepresented communities.
Siray shares: “It excites me that I’ll actually be a part of teams that build applications that people use in the real world!”
If these stories inspired you, learn more about Fullstack Academy’s Opportunity Fund and apply for the scholarship today.