Cooley Pays it Forward with Tech 4.0 STEAM Technology Teen Workshop

Computer Science Senior Jasmon Cooley is paying it forward with her non-profit startup Tech 4.0. Born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, Cooley witnessed the absence of engineers and information technology professionals in her environment. She recognized this as a lack of available opportunities and resources. Her goal is to create a pipeline for African American engineering talent, multiplying the number of African American engineers in the United States.

Cooley provides teens in underserved communities with the skills to start their own business. Teens learn the core concepts of software engineering and product design. “Bring an iPhone” is included in the workshop header to instruct students to bring along an old iPhone (if available) to repair and use as a learning tool. Cooley anticipates that Tech 4.0 will eventually offer mobile repair certification to students.

Cooley vividly remembers her father’s pager repair shop, although her father passed away when she was only four years of age. “Engineering and technology are in my blood,” she says, when asked what sparked her interest in software engineering.

Cooley has played video games for as long as she can remember – and she didn’t just play video games. At a young age, she had figured out how to modify her games by changing the attributes. For example, with PC game KUDOS, she explained that “if you understand coding and modding, then you can redesign the game to your liking.”

And of course, Cooley sports an amazing resume. As a Thurgood Marshall Scholar and overall exemplary student, Cooley continuously works towards success. During her freshman year, as a help desk intern for Howard University Enterprise Technology Services, Cooley imaged over 1,000 computers and was responsible for encrypting content and troubleshooting customer issues. She was promoted to Lead Student Technician within a semester.

Since her sophomore year, Cooley has interned for NASA as a software engineering intern. She created the working prototype for NEN Now 3D, a Cesium visualization that displays real time satellite orbits and communication links between satellites and antennas, and using Javascript, HTML, CSS, Cesium and Python, she developed the NEN Now kiosk that displays real time status data, locations and connectivity of antennas and satellites. This past summer, Cooley also displayed her skills as a software engineering intern for Northrop Grumman Corporation.

A glimpse of Cooley's NEN Now 3D project

Cooley has been volunteering her valuable skills as well. She has volunteered as a coding instructor for Code4Life, teaching local middle and high school students in underserved communities how to code and manipulate big data. She also served as community service chair for the Howard University IEEE Student Branch and continues to serve as community service chair, webmistress and scholarship chair for Phi Sigma Rho National Sorority.

And the key to success?

“The key to success for the African American community is understanding who we are and to believe that we are not the stereotype defined by society. If we have access to opportunities and resources, we excel. And for people of all communities, once we understand that we can create and manifest our own destiny, we can do anything,” says Cooley.


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