This week we chat with Alex Qin, founder and CEO of Code Cooperative, about her organization's efforts to teach computer science and software development to formerly incarcerated individuals.
Alex graduated from NYU with a degree in computer science and worked as a developer and engineer at several startups in New York City, eventually assuming senior roles like engineering team lead and director of technology.
Along the way, however, she found herself face with discrimination and harassment. In 2016, she dramatically altered her appearance, an experience she discusses in a humorous and poignant talk - Shaving My Head Made me a Better Developer.
In 2016 she read the book The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander and was inspired to do more to help people impacted by the justice system. She began organizing donations of unused laptops, and then moved on to help found the Code Cooperative in October of 2016. the group describes itself as a community of people who learn, use, and build technology to create life changing possibilities for individuals and communities impacted by incarceration.
If you want to get involved, you can donate a laptop or make a financial contribution here. If you would like to volunteer as a mentor, you can apply here.