Every spring, Memorial Day gives Americans the opportunity to reflect on the sacrifices made by our nation’s servicemen and servicewomen who have given their lives for our country. What began as “Decoration Day” in the aftermath of the Civil War was renamed Memorial Day during World War II as an opportunity to honor all Americans who died in military service. It became an official national holiday in 1971.
As a veteran myself, I’m keenly aware of the importance of recognizing those who gave their lives for our country. Today, our armed forces numbers over 1.3 million service members across the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard. The sacrifices made by military personnel in our current active military operations are enormous — 52,345 lives lost. You can read some of their stories, and reflect on the sacrifices they’ve made for our country, on the Washington Post’s powerful and heartbreaking Faces of the Fallen site.
After a week spent prototyping and iterating her app idea, Erin Hallerin is using her new technical skills to become a more well-rounded social entrepreneur. She is one of our younger alumni, but still participated in the winter Tech Intensive in Sydney after an inspiring visit to the New York campus with her classmates from The Ohio State University. Now, back at college, Erin is working with a social impact-focused food truck and making plans for the summer while finishing her studies in Business Administration/Finance and International Economic Development.
“The Tech Intensive creates an environment of inspiration and dedication to inspire you to act on whatever business idea has been floating around in your brain with the help of the best brains in the industry.”
Today is Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday (he would have been 87). Our campuses are closed in the states in honor of the holiday, which gives us a chance to reflect on his commitment to social justice and his legacy of activism.
Here at General Assembly (GA), we care a lot about diversity, inclusion, and community. Every week,we bring creators and thinkers together on our campuses to drive social impact and build a more diverse tech ecosystem. Our alumni found startups and nonprofits promoting social change. OurOpportunity Fund scholarship programs empower a new generation of diverse tech talent – over the last year and a half, General Assembly gave out $1.25 million in scholarships.Continue reading →
For Gaby Ruiz-Funes and Sarah Bump, learning web development was not just a pathway to a new career, but a creative spark that would lead them to start a movement. Since graduating, the pair has led the charge of creating a network of individuals comprising the Lady Mafia project. Together, they highlight women and men who are agents of change and who make the world a better place through their hard work and innovation.
Sarah came from a marketing background and Gaby was working as an industrial engineer before enrolling in General Assembly’s Web Development Immersive course in Chicago. “I was a little lost,” Sarah said. “I knew I didn’t want to stay in that field, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do instead.” Gaby was already intrigued by web development but realized she needed a structured environment to learn brand-new skills. “As an engineer I was trained to be able to create the things that were in my imagination,” Gaby said. “It felt frustrating to be limited on the web and I wanted the tools that would help me create the apps and websites that I imagined, especially those I hoped would help make a positive impact on the world.”
When the two met during their course, they started a friendship that would become the basis for their project — Lady Mafia, a website that aims to catalog humans who are “moving the earth.” We caught up with Gaby and Sarah to learn more about their experience as the super-cool founders of the Lady Mafia movement.
Young boys have consistently grown up with a myriad of role models around them, shaping their ambitions and ideas of their future selves. They are met with visions of leadership, confidence, and innovation. From Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison to Steve Jobs and Elon Musk—there has been no shortage of male engineers, scientists, mathematicians, technologists, entrepreneurs, and inventors for little boys to look up to. But what about the women?
Since it’s inaugural year in 2012, #GivingTuesday has grown to encompass over 30,000 organizations around the globe that participate in a movement centered around generosity and gratitude.
This #GivingTuesday, we’re highlighting our mission to empower a global community to pursue work they love by opening up our Opportunity Fund to donors of all sizes. Opportunity Fund is General Assembly’s philanthropic fellowship program which allows individuals from underrepresented communities—with a special focus on women, people of color, opportunity youth, and veterans—to access our immersive courses, at no cost, and help prepare for jobs as junior-level web developers and UX designers.
Our Opportunity Fund fellows have transformative experiences and we’ve partnered with NationSwell to share one of those stories. This documentary follows Lyn, an early Opportunity Fund recipient who took full advantage of the scholarship to change her family’s life and give back to her community.
We’re incredibly grateful that we’ve been able to award more than 100 fellowships through our Opportunity Fund, thanks to the generous support of benefactors like AT&T, Capital One, and McDonald’s. That’s 100 individuals, who like Lyn, might not have otherwise pursued skills in technology. Lyn’s experience is only one of many amazing stories of transformation and we’re excited to continue to increase access to education opportunities and support a diverse talent pipeline.
Donate here to make a tax-deductible contribution to help the next generation of Opportunity Fund fellows. We’ll will match every dollar donated to underwrite the cost of more fellowships for the future leaders in technology and design.
When our co-founders launched General Assembly in 2011, they didn’t set out to start an education company – let alone, an entirely new category of education. To put things in perspective, at the end of 2013, GA had served just over 5,000 students. By the end of this year, over 20,000 students will have completed our programs in technology, business, data, and design.
“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” -Alice Walker
SOLA/HACK was a design hackathon I organized, hosted by General Assembly’s downtown L.A. campus. Participants included current students and alumni from General Assembly and USC. The objective of the hackathon was to apply design thinking and UX design principles to issues specific to the South L.A. community, with an eye toward how appropriate uses of technology could be used to help address social, economic, and environmental problems. While technology can be a powerful tool for change (think of the crucial role of cell phones during the Arab Spring uprising), it was stressed that there is not an easy techno-fix to every social problem. So participants were encouraged to look beyond just apps or websites and employ systems-based thinking on their solutions.
Since graduating from GA DC’s first UXDI course last year summer, Nina has honed her skills with freelance gigs, one of them at a big political consulting firm. When Nina wasn’t freelancing or leading a Code for America chapter, she made time for Visual Design this spring. Since her second GA graduation, she’s been exploring the nonprofit space by working with the Asia Foundation. After her work in Cambodia, Nina is considering other ways she can share the value of good UX in DC and beyond.
It was a Tuesday morning deep in Lower Manhattan, steps away from the World Trade Center and City Hall. While suits swarmed the sidewalks on their way to offices in the sky, we made our way to LMHQ, which hosts events and allows space for coworking.
Fellow startup folks filled the main room, chatting, exchanging cards, drinking coffee, and taking pictures of the whiteboard art. It seemed exactly like the kind of place where Techweek New York would kick off, with none-other than a CTO as the featured speaker. But this wasn’t the kind of CTO the startup crowd is used to hearing — it was Minerva Tantoco, the very first CTO for the government of the City of New York.