Two alumni from the School of Information Studies (iSchool) have been named to the 2017 Forbes “30 Under 30” list for Education. The two recipients of iSchool master’s degrees, Evin Robinson ’12, G ’14 and Jessica Santana ’11, G’13, created New York On Tech, a nonprofit organization that provides pathways for underrepresented New York City high school students into the field of technology.
Since 2014, the organization has provided opportunities to more than 60 students from nine New York City high schools. Students enroll during their junior year, and receive weekly classes from computer science and technology professionals, as well as mentorship and other professional opportunities. New York On Tech accepted a new cohort of high school juniors for the 2016-17 school year, representing more than 50 high schools in the city.
The pair met off campus, at a summer leadership conference held by Ernst & Young, and they realized how much they had in common. “I went to take the A train back home to Brooklyn and she was taking the A train as well,” recalls Robinson. “We started talking on the train about school, life, ambitions, wanting to give back. Turns out we were getting off at the same stop. We had grown up in the same neighborhood, but never knew each other until college.”
A few years later, after Santana graduated, she came back to campus after starting her career at Deloitte. She met Evin for coffee, and a couple of hours later, they had the concept for what would become New York On Tech sketched out on a pile of napkins.
“When you go back to your neighborhood you realize you can really be a catalyst for change in marginalized spaces where companies are not recruiting from, where mentors are not living in,” says Santana. “That was our call to action.”