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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 curricula that teaches 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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Meet the team

Founders and Board Members

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Pedro Perez

Executive Director

Pedro@gokic.org

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

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

Fernando@gokic.org

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

Jordanjanell@me.com

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

Priscila@gokic.org

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.

Education & Curriculum
 

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Emily Morado

Program Coordinator
Collective Youth

Mentorship has always been one of Emily’s biggest passions. It’s a very special moment when you are able to help guide someone and get them one step closer to their goals. As a first-generation college student who didn't have the necessary support from her family, she often turned to community members and teachers for mentorship.

 

Mentorship is the reason why Emily was able to graduate from the University of Washington with a double major in Law, Societies & Justice, and Political Science. Emily now gets to give back by bringing mentorship and tech education to the youth both at the high school and college levels.

 

She enjoys baking, cooking, and visiting her family back in Skagit Valley.

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Jocelyne Herrera

Educator

Jocelyne is from Los Angeles California, with familial roots in El Salvador.

 

I am passionate about education and giving back to my community. With a background in education, one of my biggest passion is teaching, cultivating an environment of belonging and learning. With GOKIC being able to bring curricula filled with social emotional learning, social justice, and technology literacy is truly rewarding. When I’m not teaching I enjoy traveling, reading, crocheting, and spending time with family. 

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Andrea Talamantes

Curriculum Specialist

Hi I’m Andrea (she/her/ella)


I’m from SeaTac, WA. I’m currently pursuing a degree in teaching at Western Washington University. I like to spend my free time weight lifting, painting, listening to music, journaling and reading!

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Prasadini Gross

Assistant Educator

Prasadini is a recent transplant to Seattle from San Diego, CA. Her background lies in restorative justice and restorative practices, tools and skills that she practices with every interaction. She’s led hundreds of circles within San Diego and nationally.

 

In previous roles she served as a facilitator and trainer for community building and re-entry spaces with the National Conflict Resolution Center, University of San Diego Center for Restorative Justice, and the Restorative Justice Mediation Program.

 

Her degree in Ethnic Studies and Environmental Studies from UC San Diego has inspired her to view the world through a social justice and environmentally conscious lens that prioritizes placemaking, love for people and the planet, and resistance to systems of oppression.

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George Zhang

Tech Curriculum Coordinator

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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Ronnel Abrigo

Assistant Educator

Ronnel is a creative individual who enjoys sharing his passion for dance, music, performing, and technology with others. His roots in facilitating community events started in college—where he hosted and helped run meetings, dances, workshops, festival nights, and conferences. Even then, he incorporated his for the arts into this work by filming and editing videos for community organizations and occasionally hopping on stage to perform. He’s since taken this experience into creative spaces. In 2019, he danced, played guitar and keyboard, and performed scenes alongside cast mates for Urban Poverty Forum. More recently, he’s filmed for the dance event, "Battle For The Ballot" (held on Beacon Hill) and competed in The Good Foot Arts Collective’s “4 The Luv Of It” at Franklin High School. After his most recent role at an Apple store, he received a certificate in Full Stack Development. He hopes to share his experiences in tech and mentor youth that are underrepresented in the industry.

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Hanan Sherka

Assistant Educator

Hanan (she/her) was raised in South Seattle where she currently lives. She loves attending poetry readings, taking walks along water, and spending time with her friends and family. 

 

She recently graduated from Macalester College where she received a Bachelor’s degree in psychology. 

 

Informed by Black education frameworks, Hanan believes that education is a potential tool for liberation. This belief guides her work and how she shows up in the classroom.  

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Ana Mendoza Ramos

Educator

Recently graduated from the University of Washington with a triple major in Medical Anthropology & Global Health, Dance, Anthropology of Globalization and a minor in Diversity, Ana is diving into the field of education thrilled to engage with BIPOC youth as she reflects growing up in the Seattle Public School system.

 

Her interest in GOKiC aligns with her personal goals to support communities of color beyond the Greater Seattle area. She hopes to share and utilize her knowledge and experience as a first generation college student in order to nurture the interest of higher education of the BIPOC youth.Her collaboration as an assistant educator propelled her to be prepared with the essential skills to become an active Educator within GOKiC.

 

Ana aspires to implement community building and engaging opportunities for youth to feel open and voice their opinions.

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Esmeralda Bonilla

Assistant Educator

I graduated from Seattle Pacific University with a BA in psychology. I was born and raised in Washington, and currently live in Federal Way.

 

During my free time I love to spend quality time with friends and family and enjoy spending time out in nature and watching sunsets

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Jackie Tran

Assistant Educator

Hi, I'm Jackie! I was born and raised in Tacoma but currently reside in Federal Way. I love working with youth and am happy to be a part of GOKiC. I am currently pursuing a major in Informatics and plan to explore the world of product management in tech after graduating.

Administration

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Lidia Sanchez

Program Director

Lidia Sánchez, a transformational and educational leader who takes immense pride in her Mexican American heritage. She was born and raised in the heart of Texas with deep familial roots in Durango, Mexico. Her educational journey led her to earn a Bachelor's degree in Education, Communities, and Organizations from the University of Washington. As a First Generation College student and mentor, she holds a strong commitment to working alongside youth and community organizations from diverse backgrounds. Her purpose is to dismantle educational and systemic inequities, thereby forging a path of progress for future generations. Beyond her professional pursuits, she finds solace and inspiration in hiking majestic mountains, indulging in the world of literature, and relishing the outdoors with her beloved Chihuahua Pit Mix companion, Millie.

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Suki

Accountabilities Manager

Suki is Maria's dog, although it could easily be argued that Maria is simply Suki's human.

Suki is tasked with holding our team members accountable to deadlines, project completion, taking program attendance, and ensuring t's get crossed and i's get dotted.

With a strong passion for social justice, chasing ducks, and zoomies, Suki is particularly vexed should timesheets not get completed on time, or if the wonderful work we do doesn't get documented in program highlights.

Will bite if the aforementioned isn't accomplished.

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Maria Muñoz Contreras

Operations Manager

María Muñoz Contreras, a Queer Xicana from Detroit with familial roots in Guadalajara, is the first Operations Manager for Geeking Out Kids of Color. With over two decades of experience as an activist and involvement in non-profits, María has advocated for a range of issues such as animal rights, food justice, and support for LGBTQ service members and veterans. Their professional achievements span diverse areas like operations, efficiency, customer relations management, leadership, Human Resources, and fundraising & events coordination.
María received a business degree from the University of Washington Foster School of Business and served as a Nuclear Engineer and Victim’s Advocate in the Sexual Assault Victim Intervention Program during their time in the Navy. They are an active member of Seattle's animal activism community, organizing for Veggie Mijxs and facilitating a dog foster and adoption program in partnership with Mexico-based rescues. Additionally, María is passionate about literature and organizes two book clubs: Seattle Latinx Book Club and a bilingual English/Spanish book club.

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Carlos Vallejo

Education Manager

Team 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.

 

Carlos 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.

Favorite thing: world travel!

Engineering Team

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Fernando Sanchez

Senior 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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Fana Hagos

Software Engineer Intern

Computer science student at Paul G. Allen School of computer Science and Engineering. 

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Anam Hakim

Software Engineer Intern

Hey everyone! My name is Anam Hakim. I am a current Second Year Student at the University of Washington, studying Computer Science! I am interested in learning more about software engineering and Machine Learning and understanding how to incorporate DE&I into my work!

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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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Ramla Abdi

Software Engineer Intern

Computer science student at Paul G. Allen School of computer Science and Engineering. 

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Ivan Rodriguez

Senior 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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Juliana Feliciano

Software Engineer Intern

Computer science student at UW Bothell

Data Scientists

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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.

Past Interns

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Heven Ambachuw

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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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.

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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.

Connect with Us

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