Meet the Fellows of Access Code 4.4

Welcoming new talent to the tech community

In September, the Fellows selected for C4Q Access Code cohort 4.0 began their journeys to become software developers.

We asked them to share a little about themselves, their backgrounds, and their goals for this year. We’re excited to present a few of the 4.4 Android (Nights and Weekends) stories with you.

Victoria Leon

I am a first generation Mexican-American woman, born and raised in East Harlem.

I am known as a motivated, hard-working and reliable individual who brings a positive, friendly and dedicated attitude to everything I do. My goal of becoming a Software Engineer is driven by my desire to empower and give back to my community. I plan to advocate for a more inclusive and diverse tech industry for Latinx women as well as for more tech educational outreach in underrepresented and marginalized communities in New York.

Being very passionate about human rights and social justice, I had first considered a career in law. After receiving many rejections from several paralegal positions and being unemployed for months, I accepted a job at a small Information Technology Executive Search firm, where I was asked to assist with the ongoing development of the company’s database. Although I’ve always had a natural affinity for science and technology, I never had the professional nor educational mentorship to encourage me to pursue a degree in the fields. Moreover, I didn’t have the courage nor the motivation within myself to go for what I wanted, until now.

After graduating from C4Q, I hope to find an environment where tech, human rights and social justice intersect — an environment that allows me to continue expanding my technical skills and contribute to a greater cause.

I also aspire to become the mentor I wish I had for girls and young women interested in and wish to pursue a career in tech. Coming from very humble beginnings, I know first hand how far hard work and perseverance can take you. It is my goal to not only lead by example but to empower the next generation to find the courage to follow their dreams.

Connect with Victoria

Github: vcrleon
Twitter: @vcrleon

Boubacar Bah

As an individual, I use technology to make my interests more tangible.

As a software engineer, I aspire to create tools that bring people together. Coming from Newark, New Jersey the city has taught me how to be resourceful. Since learning this inner-city virtue, I’ve embraced challenges and adversity in order to succeed.

Recently passed Newark Poet Laureate, Amiri Baraka, once said of poets, “[They are] interested in registering experience immediately or giving you the sense of immediacy and directness.” This too could be said of coders like me, seeking to bring their wild thoughts into reality in hopes of making the world around us more accessible, if not more immediate.

I came to C4Q to develop the technical skills that would facilitate my creative side, the part of me that greatly appreciates culture, music and writing. After the C4Q fellowship, I want to create and refine digital platforms which bring artists and other creatives together through mobile app and front-end development.

I recognize that goals are often not accomplished alone, and I hope that my time at C4Q creates a stronger and more diverse tech community. I believe in openness; in the diversity of ideas, ethnicity, and gender, helping to pave the way for the next great batch of entrepreneurs who strive to make a difference.

I plan to make an impact beyond technology. I want to get to a place where my accomplishments are not only a reflection of myself but a reflection of people like me. I want to inspire those from humble beginnings and show them that their dreams are valid, and their ambition can lead them to success.

Connect with Boubacar

Github: bbah93

Amirah “AJ” Oxendine

My particular algorithm is more modular than it is static.

I’m in a constant state of growth and change toward a better version of my previous self. My appetite for knowledge — not just to attain knowledge, but to apply it willfully and proficiently — has taught me to continually push the edges of my potential and constantly redefine what’s possible. It is this passion, or more fittingly this compulsion, that has lead me to application development.

Nevertheless, being a successful developer requires more than passion; it requires a process. My process relies on trial and error, experience, research, and most importantly, a determination to find proper and appropriate solutions.

I treat obstacles as challenges. Having had more than my fair share of challenges, I’ve developed a unique array of problem solving skills and strategies. I’ve sharpened my artifices on those rough edges.

I utilize my skill sets creatively and rhizomatically. I start by taking a step back and seeing how a program functions or should function as a whole. I analyze how the parts work together. Then I can disassemble and dissect it in order to build or rebuild it favorably. Through this process, I find more than just what works — I find what works best. In these ways, my particular brand and approach sets me apart, making me far from ordinary.

Connect with Amirah

Github: ajoxe
Twitter: @AmirahOxendine

Tariqua Nehisi

“Lights, camera, action!” is anything but the beginning of a dance performance.

It had come to mean the end of a laborious process filled with rehearsals, contracts, equipment rentals and pounds of Icy Hot; just the kind of balancing act that I looked forward to tackling at work.

However, my exodus from a career in performing arts management meant recalibrating my technical skills and refocusing my creativity which led me to the capable arms of the technology sector.

To code is synonymous with creating a great piece of choreography—one must have a vision, some agency, a modicum of restraint along with an unabashed attitude for problem solving; whether addressing societal woes or tedious everyday tasks.

The rise in financial technology and its inherent ability to bring robust services to our fingertips has influenced my resolve. Having the ability to invest, buy cryptocurrency and or maintain a budget with just a few swipes on a smartphone is rather impressive and intuitive. Herein lies my reignited purpose for creative solutions, community development and lean operations to distribute financial management information to those in need, from the unbanked to severe debtors. The future of financial empowerment is bright and I want to help light the way for many towards ultimate freedom.

Connect with Tariqua

Github: TechTai
Twitter: @tnehisi
LinkedIn: TNehisi

Thanks for reading and getting to know a few of our Fellows. This is the last in the series and we hope you stay tuned for more as we dive deeper into the program.

We’re looking for volunteers to teach, mentor, and lead workshops for our current Access Code cohort! If you’re looking to give back learn more about volunteering opportunities.
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