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Urban Tech Alliance and Qeyno Labs to Host STEM Based Hackathon #MBKHACK

by Milicent Atieno

Urban Tech Alliance and Qeyno Labs to Host STEM Based Hackathon #MBKHACK


Photo Credit: James Shields and Qeyno Labs

Photo Credit: James Shields and Qeyno Labs

Having built and led a successful New York Chapter of the Black Girls Code, the leadership efforts of Donna KnuttPeta Clarke and Quiessence Phillips  lead to the organization successfully securing a big grant from the tech-giant Google. Their work at Black Girls Code coupled with other amazing partnerships has generated rewarding and life-changing opportunities for girls in STEM.

The team in now taking a step further by first stepping down from their leadership role from Black Girls Code and starting out a new organization dubbed Urban Tech Alliance (UTA). Their mission is to establish a life-cycle of mentoring, support, opportunity, advancement, inspiration and change; for the underrepresented youth with interest in pursuing STEM career or entrepreneurship.

Their first initiative, GEN R.E.D (Redefining Expectations Digitally) will be engaging students through mentorship and in-depth coding workshops. Their model of operation will involve students working with local businesses and participating in hackathons that will enable them tackle real-world problems, thus empowering each cohort with an entrepreneurial advantage.

Through a partnership with Qeyno Labs on the first ever Hackathon for President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative. The U.T.A team has been tasked to run the My Sister’s Keeper arm of the event. The hackathon has been slated for November 14th to 16th, 2014 in Philadelphia, PA.

The team’s youth participants, dubbed Trailblazers will include Blacks, Latinos, Native-American and other under-represented Asian and Pacific Islanders. The Trailblazers will spend three days in teams being supervised by professional adults, who will be working with them to build websites and develop mobile apps that add value to the community.

JetStart Consulting11The hackathon’s theme is “Hacking Masculinity.” The young women who will be attending the male dominated hackathon will be given encouragement and support through MSK. They will be developing apps they deem suitable to improve the lives of young men of color, but using their own genius, leadership and designs.

U.T.A. and Qeyno Labs strongly believes that it is only through including young women, do we as a society get closer to an inclusive masculinity forth e 21st century. The team is making sure that the voices of young women too will be heard at the My Brother’s Keeper hackathon which is a White House Initiative aimed at improving the lives of young men of color.

Like most non-profit startups, the team needs all the support it can get. They are planning on bringing 15 young ladies and 45 mentors from New York. The U.T.A team has seen the caliber of talent by these young ladies in the NYC tech ecosystem and intend to have seasoned mentors work alongside their trailblazers.

What U.T.A team needs:

  1. 45 (15 of each) of the following: Designers, Developer and Innovators. Register here.
  2. 15 loaner laptops or even an in-kind gift of a laptop to the student participants.
  3. Transportation to and from Philly.

Participants will be provided the following:

  1. Meals and accommodation for the 3 days.
  2. Travel to and from the hackathon event.

If you would like to participate or make a contribution in any way, please contact the team at

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