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About GOKiC

Inclusive. Authentic. Technical.

It’s who we are. GOKiC started in 2016 in Seattle when a group of friends saw an opportunity to strengthen their communities and impact children’s lives. We believe engineering education can help kids of color reach their full potential. We use integrated curriculums that teach computer science and robotics alongside gender and racial equality. We are driven to close the digital literacy gap through intersectional STEM education. 

Strategic Plan

Vision

We work towards the liberation of BIPOC youth from systemic racism and sexism so they can live, love, and enjoy life as they please and stay in balance with the world.

Mission

Our mission is the liberation of BIPOC youth through technology and mentorship, by developing decolonized tech education programs to nurture community leaders of change.

Values

We intentionally work to:

  • Center BIPOC cultures and communities

  • Foster long-lasting relationships

  • Utilize a decolonized approach

  • Use Danza as a framework

  • Create innovative tech education to support problem-solving

  • Design for equitable experiences

  • Seek out and implement youths' and elders' ideas

Meet the Team

The majority of the GOKiC teaching and volunteer staff look like the students we teach. This allows us to connect with the kids in our programs more easily and authentically, and it’s another part of what makes our programming different.

Leading our efforts is a board helmed by People of Color. Our leadership brings diversity of thought and experience to our organization. We are proud to have Women of Color, members of the LGBTQ community, first generation immigrants and youth, students, and college graduates on our team.

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Founders and Board Members

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Pedro Perez

Executive Director

As a critical race theorist, Pedro intersects his technical skills with anti-racist and anti-sexist theory and builds new tech ed curriculums for kids. His family ties are from Texas, Tepehuanes in Durango, Mexico and Yakima, Washington. He is also a cultural bearer of indigenous two-spirit folk dance and knowledge that he shares with his community.

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Felip Ballestero

Board Member

Felip works in the space between marketing, tech, and social justice, serving as a strategist for a multicultural marketing firm in Chicago - Purple Group. He’s a global street food connoisseur and a Pokémon Go Level 40 Trainer. Son of a Mexican, labor activist, he sees geeking out on tech as a form of economic and creative protest. Best way to cut a mango: Bite it. Skin and all.

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Fernando Sanchez

Board President

A proud immigrant from Monterrey, México and coding activist, Fernando is passionate about intersecting computer science and social justice. He is currently a Principal engineer manager at Microsoft building technology in the cloud. He also believes in the power of tech for good and during his free time he is finding ways to use Artificial Intelligence to fight racism and sexism.

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Janell Jordan

Board Member

Janell is driven by their background in youth development work and believes in the essential need of fostering healing spaces for people to build connection, emotional intelligence, and social awareness. Skilled in the research and facilitation of trauma-informed competency workshops through a critical race theory lens, Janell is passionate about nurturing spaces of equity within systems and empowering marginalized voices.

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Priscila Angula

Board Member

I am code enthusiast, passionate about the theory behind software engineer. I believe in education as a means to improve life quality. Some facts about myself: I'm Mexican, I have a PhD in Computer Science, work for Microsoft. I love volunteering.

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Wendy Roldan

Board Member

Wendy is a PhD candidate at the University of Washington where she studies how youth search and broker for information in the home and ways to make human computer interaction education more equitable. Her areas of expertise are co-design, funds of knowledge perspectives, and reflection. She consistently looks for ways to give back to her communities in Chicago. Wendy loves running, eating Talenti ice cream, and going to the top of mountains.

Education & Curriculum

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Pedro Perez

Educator - Leadership

As a critical race theorist, Pedro intersects his technical skills with anti-racist and anti-sexist theory and builds new tech ed curriculums for kids. His family ties are from Texas, Tepehuanes in Durango, Mexico, and Yakima, Washington. He is also a cultural bearer of indigenous two-spirit folk dance and knowledge that he shares with his community.

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George Zhang

Computer Science Educator

For as long as he can remember, George has loved just getting to know people. To hear the stories and experiences of others is a privilege that he recognizes and cherishes greatly. However, George believes that for many students, their stories have never gotten the place and space to be heard. With his degree in computer science and passion for education, he wants to work to make sure that all students can feel safe, understood, and represented in any space, especially the technology space. When he has free time, George enjoys baking, reading, and writing haikus

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Heven Ambachew

Software Engineer Educator

Heven is currently studying Computer Science as an undergrad at Pacific Lutheran University. She is the co-founder and program coordinator of Collective Youth - A youth program with-in Geeking Out Kids of Color. As an instructor at GOKiC, she integrates technology and social justice issues to help build anti-racist and anti-sexist curricula. Her work is deeply influenced by her upbringing in her hometown of Gonder, Ethiopia.

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Carlos Vallejo

Education Team Manager

Project manager by day, superhero by night (while asleep and dreaming about it). Hobbies include video games, patrolling the Internet for grammatical errors, and attempting to determine why existential dread is a thing for so many people on Mondays. Having obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science at the University of California - San Diego has only made him more vocal about things that make people uncomfortable at dinner tables, including discussions about how political influencers are key to disassembling systemic examples of covert oppression. Has the dubious distinction of being GOKiC’s only permanently remote staff member: partially because he lives out of the WA area, but mostly because of his habit of cracking annoying dad jokes to people sitting next to him.

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Mekedes Dejenie

Software Engineer Educator

Mekedes is currently an undergraduate at the University of Washington studying computer science. She is a first-generation, low-income college student who is passionate about technology, innovation, programming, education, and social justice. At GOKiC, she gets to fulfill her passions through building curricula that teach youth both the fundamentals of programming and social justice. Also, she develops, improves, and uses her existing programming skills by contributing to AllyUp and developing Roblox games for the youth. Moreover, Mekedes wants to be a role model to her community and the students she teaches because she wants them to be empowered to explore tech and fulfill their passions. Mekedes enjoys watching youtube videos, coding, taking long walks to the lake with her family, cooking, sweets, and bubble tea.

Data Scientist

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Erica Mallett

Erica Mallett currently serves as co-lead of our Data Committee. Erica is a Ph.D. student in the Education Policy Organizations and Leadership (EDPOL) program at the University of Washington. Her research interests include equitable data use, school finance, and the implementation of education programs targeted towards disenfranchised students. She is passionate about ensuring students of color have the resources they want and need for their future, and believes GOKiC is providing students with just that.

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Jose Alfredo Nava

Alfredo came to the US very young. As a dreamer, he had to discover the adversity of being unable to have a driver's license, a job, or even accept internships while attending college due to his legal status. Computer games led him to understand computer performance which helped create a business reselling custom PCs. He creates distributed computing platforms to process big data and machine learning. He is passionate about wildlife conservation, rock climbing and furthering STEM education for minorities.

Content Writers

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Brian Schutter

Brian is an author and scientist passionate about advancing social justice through storytelling and data science. As part of GOKiC, they write and edit content for the AllyUp app. They believe STEM companies should be mindful of their impact and have a responsibility to leverage their influence for social good. They recently moved to Washington state and love hiking the Cascades, petting all the dogs, and writing science fiction stories.

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Erin Ingram

Erin, a resident of Minneapolis, MN, has a Bachelor’s in English, wherein she focused on various kinds of critical theory. She’s pro-Black, anti-fascist, and believes in a thriving wage, free education, indigenous sovereignty, environmental justice, and healthcare for all. Writing content for GOKiC, she believes, is just one way she can empower herself and other marginalized peoples. Erin enjoys music, film, art, the great outdoors, and hanging out with her rather large cat.

Engineering Team

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Fernando Sanchez

Software Engineer

A proud immigrant from Monterrey, México and coding activist, Fernando is passionate about intersecting computer science and social justice. He is currently a Principal engineer manager at Microsoft building technology in the cloud. He also believes in the power of tech for good and during his free time he is finding ways to use Artificial Intelligence to fight racism and sexism.

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Mekedes Dejenie

Software Engineer Intern

Mekedes is currently an undergraduate at the University of Washington studying computer science. She is a first-generation, low-income college student who is passionate about technology, innovation, programming, education, and social justice. At GOKiC, she gets to fulfill her passions through building curricula that teach youth both the fundamentals of programming and social justice. Also, she develops, improves, and uses her existing programming skills by contributing to AllyUp and developing Roblox games for the youth. Moreover, Mekedes wants to be a role model to her community and the students she teaches because she wants them to be empowered to explore tech and fulfill their passions. Mekedes enjoys watching youtube videos, coding, taking long walks to the lake with her family, cooking, sweets, and bubble tea.

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Ivan Rodriguez

Software Engineer

Ivan is a Software Development Manager at Google and a volunteer at GOKiC. Born and raised in Spain, he's passionate about analyzing how technology impacts society, and regularly writes about it on his blog. He believes technology should be used for good, empowering people to mitigate the effects that systemic inequities have created in our community.

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Heven Ambachuw

Software Engineer Intern

Heven is currently studying Computer Science as an undergrad at Pacific Lutheran University. She is the co-founder and program coordinator of Collective Youth - A youth program with-in Geeking Out Kids of Color. As an instructor at GOKiC, she integrates technology and social justice issues to help build anti-racist and anti-sexist curricula. Her work is deeply influenced by her upbringing in her hometown of Gonder, Ethiopia.

Administration

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You?

Operations Manager

We are hiring for an Operations and office manager for our growing team. 

Apply here: https://www.gokic.org/jobs

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Naima Ismail

Development Coordinator

As a proud daughter of immigrants, Naima has always been passionate about creating a more equitable world. This inspired her to attain her degree in social work and keeps her drawn to the non-profit world. In her role as a development coordinator at GOKiC, Naima is tasked with searching for ways to help GOKiC grow so that we can continue to support kids of color. In her free time, Naima enjoys trying out new recipes, watching documentaries and playing with her daughter.

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Brenda Robles

Development & Communications Manager

Familia taught Brenda how to love, forgive, be resilient and work hard. She is a first-generation college graduate, a Guerrera, systems thinker, mentor, dancer, and writer. Identifying as a lifelong student, she also holds a Biology B.S. and Diversity minor from the University of Washington. Growing up in South King County, WA, her hometown became her favorite playground. Rain or shine, Brenda always tries to find the bright side. She aspires to be a part of a collective community giving back and empowering youth to embrace their authenticity and explore their opportunities in life. Brenda intertwines her passions and recognizes the role that community and culture play as a living discipline to tap into our unique strengths and share love with the world. 

Past Interns

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Suez Gebretsadik

UW Intern and Project Coordinator for WOC In Tech. Suez is currently studying to be a speech pathologist. She is passionate about youth development, building community, and connecting youth to sustainable agriculture.

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Libby Knell 

Libby is a rising sophomore majoring in Computer Science and minoring in Education, Learning and Society at the University of Washington Seattle. She is extremely interested in exploring how education can be aided by technology, whether it be personalizing a learner’s experience or making education more accessible to marginalized groups.

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Rafael Bayer

I am a sophomore studying computer science at the University of Washington. I'm passionate about many things in the field of computer science, especially creating games and artificial intelligence. I also enjoy teaching and working with others, I believe that helping and teaching others is one of the best ways we can all improve ourselves. I hope to use what I have learned over the years to empower others who enjoy programming and other STEM fields.

Connect with Us

Have a great idea? Want to get involved? Let’s chat!