C4Q GRADUATE PROFILES
 

Madelyn Tavarez (11.29)    //    Kadeem Maragh (12.6)    //    Christella Dolmo (12.13)    //    Moawia Eldeeb (12.20)    //    Paola Mata (12.27)

 

Kadeem Maragh

C4Q 2.1 Graduate

Kadeem is a technical analyst and software engineer at JP Morgan. He’s passionate about developing socially-beneficial products, like a transportable device capable of scanning food for nutritional value. His dedication to changing the world through technology is most apparent in his advocacy for the Internet of things or IoT. We talked about C4Q, his future, and IoT.

 

Q: Where are you from originally and what was life like growing up?

A: I was born and raised in Flatbush, Brooklyn. To be honest, while growing up, life was rough for me and my family, but I always had a roof over my head and never went hungry. One of the biggest things I learned was how to use what little resources I had to solve massive problems. Ultimately, that struggle is what’s led me to tinker with technology since I was young and it’s what’s made me so creative.

Q: What are you doing now? What are your plans for the future?

A: My goals are to build my experience at JP Morgan and then start my own company. During my time at C4Q, my team was working on a project called Mozie. It helped bridge the gap between mobile development and IoT. The point was to teach kids how to code by building a robot that they could control via a mobile device. With my own company, I would try to go into hardware programming, robotics, and IoT.

Q: What is a problem in the world (big or small) that you would like to solve using technology? How would your solution work?

A: Third world countries lack technology because they lack funds. I’d like to create products like Raspberry Pi so that people in these countries could access the Internet. Closing the knowledge gap, or at least access to information, would do huge things for the world.

Q: What advice can you offer to others from underserved backgrounds who are trying to break into tech?

A: Network, always work on improving your craft, and never let anyone dissuade you. In this day and age, it is easy to find information on just about anything. Learning to utilize the resources out there, you can obtain experience by working on passion projects or by volunteering. And don’t be afraid to reach out to people you don’t know for help or advice. There are a myriad of people in this world who are willing to help if you are just willing to reach out and say hey. Lastly, there will always be times where you feel discouraged or that this industry isn’t for you. In those moments, it’s imperative that you continue to strive towards your goals. Never let self doubt cripple you from following your passion.

 
 

Madelyn Tavarez

C4Q 2.1 Graduate

Madelyn’s determination and talent helped her overcome insurmountable odds: She’s gone from working as a waitress and commuting 3.5 hours in pursuit of higher education to being Pinterest’s first Android Apprentice. She is now a full-time developer at Pinterest. We asked her a few questions about Access Code, Pinterest, and solving problems through technology.

 

Q: Why did you want to enroll in C4Q?

A: I was always very interested in coding but never thought I could actually make a career out of it. During the days of Myspace, I would spend hours upon hours adjusting the code on all of my friends’ webpages in order to add cool features. Playing around with HTML and CSS was fun, but I never imagined I could turn it into a job.

A few months before obtaining my degree in economics, I realized that I did not want a career in banking or finance. I wanted to pursue a career in a field that would allow me to solve tough problems while being innovative, autonomous, and creative at the same time.

Q: How did you come to get hired by Pinterest?

A: C4Q informed me about a new apprenticeship program they were piloting in 2016 to help transition diverse, qualified, and trained individuals from non-traditional tech backgrounds into new engineering careers in technology. I was ultimately selected as one of three students from across the nation to join the program. I was the only one selected to work on Android.

Q: Describe a difficult situation in which you have persisted despite obstacles. How did you overcome this challenge?

A: In order to make ends meet while chasing my dream, I worked as a waitress in New York City three days a week and commuted 3.5 hours to college in upstate New York the other 4 days. My mother is a single mother of three who tried her best to provide us with everything we needed and more; but as the oldest child, it has always been my responsibility to help her by filling in where she needed me. I love my family and would do anything for them.

Q: What is a problem in the world (big or small) that you would like to solve using technology? How would your solution work?

A: My dream is for other girls like me who have a passion for learning—in any field—to be able to reach their goals and live up to their dreams, even without a formal education. There are many girls in my family’s country, the Dominican Republic, and in many other third world countries who cannot receive a proper education because of socioeconomic constraints. If we could find a way to bring computers into the homes of these families, and create effective self-paced, skills-based educational programs, we could impact people's lives and global economies for decades and centuries to come.

Q: Why do you think diversity is essential to technology?

A: Amazing things are taking place in science and technology and they are such exciting fields to contribute to. There are a million problems left to solve and they cannot be solved by one specific subset of people—that is why diversity is essential to our industry.

People from diverse backgrounds have a variety of experiences and knowledge at their disposal that others, who have been traditionally represented in technology, do not have. These diverse folks should be given the opportunity to use that knowledge to help impact and improve the world.

 
 

Come back on 12.13 to meet the next C4Q graduate.