Three-day event aims to expose Native American students to college and career opportunities in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art Design, and Mathematics)
Published March 22, 2016
ALBUQUERQUE—After the success of launching Oakland’s third annual My Brother’s Keeper Hackathon (#mbkhack), Qeyno Labs and the NACA (Native American Community Academy) Inspired Schools Network will collaborate on the launch of the first Native youth-focused hackathon for My Brother’s Keeper: #nativembk in Albuquerque, New Mexico on April 22-24, 2016, prior to the annual Gathering of Nations.
“Not since President Obama announced ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ has there been, I believe, a more important milestone in this movement to lift the life outcomes of young men of color,” Kalimah Priforce, Headmaster CEO of Qeyno Labs announced at the kickoff for the world’s first Tech EQuity Week held in Oakland and powered by Qeyno Labs in partnership with local organizations in the tech inclusion and entrepreneurship movement. MBKHack: Native Youth, just as every hackathon powered by Qeyno, is open to all genders and ethnicities.
A Qeyno “hackathon” is a weekend-long pop up school that gathers youth to build apps by forming teams that include their peers, professional coders (computer programmers), designers (artists), and innovators (problem solvers and content experts) to rapidly prototype an idea —whose time has come. Average ages of youth participants are 10 – 19 years of age.
Qeyno established “Hackathon Academy” in 2013 with the launch of the first hackathon for Black male achievement, Startup Weekend Oakland (BMAHack), to address the diversity gap in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art Design, and Mathematics). 4 in 5 STEAM college students made the decision to study STEAM in high school or earlier. 30% of jobs in the next decade will require technology and coding skills. 26% of STEAM workers in 2011 were women, with 27% working in computing and 13% working in engineering occupations. 1.4 million computer-related jobs is the projected need for 2020. With current U.S. computer science college graduate rates, the United States can only fill 30% of these projected labor market needs. The future is written in code.
BMAHack was rebranded as the “My Brother’s Keeper Hackathon” following Mr. Obama’s call-to-action for corporations, foundations, and community leaders to work together to provide opportunities for innovation that directly impact young men of color and launched in Philadelphia Pennsylvania and received opening remarks from Philadelphia Mayor Nutter. MBKHack has been on the forefront of integrating My Brother’s Keeper into the global conversation of tech inclusion and creating STEAM access for low opportunity youth.
MBKHack: Native Youth (#nativembk) will be hosted by Native American Community Academy (NACA) of Albuquerque, New Mexico on April 22-24, 2016, just prior to the Gathering of the Nations Powwow; 60+ native youth and 180+ adults will come together for a weekend of learning, fun and inspiration.
In launching #NativeMBK with the City of Albuquerque, Kara Bobroff, Executive Director and Founding Principal at Native American Community Academy shared, “This is an amazing opportunity for Native Youth and our larger Native American communities who convene annually in Albuquerque through the Gathering of Nations to highlight the importance of equity in the technology and innovation sector. Our students innately hold insightful, innovative ideas coupled with strong core-cultural values and Indigenous perspectives that naturally lend themselves to technology-driven, community-oriented solutions for positive change.”
NACA students have worked this past year to identify STEAM-based initiatives and bringing engaging opportunities such as #nativembk to their school and community. Currently, NACA is in the initial exploration of the intersection of student created technology and its untapped potential to lift systemic barriers for Indigenous communities.
Leading up to the launch of MBKHack: Native Youth, Qeyno and NACA will explore partnerships that mobilize local resources and volunteers to support the hackathon school and will work alongside tech companies to provide opportunities for employees to travel to New Mexico and participate as mentors for hackathon youth. In addition to recruiting volunteers and mentors, NACA and Qeyno will reach out to potential sponsors and produce a crowdfunding campaign to close any funding gaps as part of the experience.
“Qeyno is committed to bringing the best possible experience for high potential Native youth in low opportunity settings of what a college and career pathway in STEAM looks like. We provide them with the technology, tools, mentorship, and the best in food and service throughout their Qeyno experience. To make the impossible – possible, we couldn’t have a more perfect partner in NACA in not just making history but creating a new future for our youth, their families, and their community,” said Priforce. “Qeyno’s Hackathon Academy is space camp for teen hackers, and we are making an all hands-on-deck outreach to all our partners to join this historic cause to transform the lives of Native youth.”