Four Bronx All Star Code students named AT&T Scholars

John Abreu worked with his teammates in developing ‘Howl’, a school-based study group mobile app connecting students with their peers needing help with academic subjects.
Photo courtesy of All Star Code

Meet four of the Bronx’ future tech developers-in-the-making challenging the issue of diversity in the tech industry.

At Thursday, August 13’s All Star Code’s Demo Day and Graduation Ceremony, seven students, including John Abreu from Castle Hill and central Bronx residents Kwaku Kessey-Ankomah Jr., Kofi Adu and Anand Karmaker were named AT&T Scholars, a scholarship program AT&T funds to educate, inspire and prepare high school boys of color with the skills necessary in pursuing a technology career.

They will serve for the next year as ‘All Star Code Ambassadors’ able to network with industry professionals and receive free laptops and other supplies.

Marking the end of a six-week long summer intensive program, students showed their finalized mobile apps before a group of leading tech industry experts.

ASC prepares qualified diverse young men for full-time employment by providing mentorship, industry exposure and intensive training in computer science.

Abreu, a top-performing Horace Mann School senior leading a video production team catered to his school’s student body.

He worked with fellow ASC students Ayinde Castro and Efmajackson Rosario in developing ‘Howl’, a school-based study group mobile app connecting students with their peers needing help with school subjects which will be launched this fall at all three’s respective schools.

Abreu likened its development to “a tree branching out with different ideas, chopping down some features, adapting what we have and further developing it with our collective strengths” and is inspired to create apps by the concept of “everyone carrying a smartphone serving as a key to the world wide web.”

Kessey-Ankomah Jr., a top-performing Cardinal Hayes High School senior works at the non-profit Sankofa Tech which empowers African youth through tech.

He and teammate Adriel Ortiz developed ‘Collab Code’, a website app emphasizing collaboration while coding by using text chat, video conferencing and live editing capabilities.

The app was inspired by an experience he and a friend had working together on a coding project in which they had to email their changes in separate files.

Kessey-Ankomah Jr. hopes to continue ‘Collab Code’ and have either an alpha or beta version released by mid-September.

Adu, a top-performing Deerfield Academy senior, developed a hobby for browsing the web and a desire in learning to advance the skills he learned at ASC.

Working with his peers Anslem Cambridge and Uzair Vawda, they created ‘YouNotes’, a split screen website app students can view YouTube videos reinforcing their knowledge from school on one side and write notes on the other.

A time stamp capability marks a certain time in the video in the note pad after hitting the enter button and clicking the link allows users to view it at that time.

‘YouNotes’ separates itself from competitors in that users can prioritize notes by importance labeled red for high, yellow for medium, and green for low.

“My favorite part of ASC was touring the tech facilities and learning more from the Q and A sessions,” he said.

Karmaker, a top-performing High School for Math, Science and Engineering junior, worked with peers Shaun Haque, Evan Mays and Cesar Alvarado as part of the ‘Keppler Apps’ company, to develop ‘Word Bubble’, a fun, cross platform gaming app which rewards players for seeking out and tapping bubbles with misspelled words awarding them with extra time as the game progresses. They hope ‘Word Bubble’ will enter the iOS store and to expand this app into other languages.

“We’re incredibly impressed by the creativity of this summer’s students and are extremely hopeful for their futures in this industry,” said Marissa Shorenstein, New York State AT&T president.

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