Youth in Tech Initiatives at Home

Annamira O'Toole, Executive Director of MetroHacks

By Crystal Brockton

August 14, 2018

Focusing on helping young people become more “tech forward”, Metro Hacks, a Boston based organization overseen by faculty and governed by high school students, aims to provide high school students access to STEM through mentorship, workshops, and hackathons.

Like Soronko Academy, the organization places special emphasis on young girls in tech to conquer gender bias in tech, while also not excluding young men.

Hacking, a term that used to mean when a person illegally infiltrated someones computer, has a whole new meaning in today’s world of tech. Hackathons, competitive conferences where groups of technology based designers and software developers focus on creating new technologies for a cause have become all the rage, and the students of MetroHacks want in!

MetroHacks hosted their first “Girls Only” hackathon in order to spread hackathon culture amongst high school students, with the intent of bringing the often college and professional based event to the younger crowd. Women role models in tech such as Netia McCoy, Sue Mildrum, and Simone LaPray were amongst those invited to be guest speakers at the event. The motivation behind the hackathon was the fact that students felt that schools weren’t well equipped to teach computer science.

Recent high school graduates Annamira O’Toole, Betsy Pu, and Patrick Huie filled me in on their experience.

About Crystal Brockton 4 Articles
Crystal Brockton is a New Jersey native, who completed her B.A. in Mass Media Arts at Clark Atlanta University. During her undergraduate studies, she was a student reporter for Newsbreak, a radio personality at 98.1 WSTU Radio, and Gilman Scholar who went on to study abroad her junior year in Lancashire, England at Edge Hill University. Upon graduation, she completed three internships with CNN, TBS, and 11 Alive WXIA-TV in Atlanta, GA. While studying for her master's at Emerson College, she worked as a research assistant for the Engagement Lab for Civic Media, contributed pieces to Emersons' online student publication JSONS, and completed her thesis research in Accra, Ghana, where she studied the Ghanaian digital technology market for three weeks as a Global Pathways scholar. She credits Emerson College for giving her the opportunity to enhance her journalism skills, and providing the necessary tools needed to advance in her professional career. Looking forward to the future, she plans to keep the art of storytelling alive, delivering honest, bold, and creative stories ... leaving a little sparkle wherever she goes!