Tumaini Mwangangi, a sophomore in computer engineering at Iowa State University, recently placed as a finalist in a fellows program for a nonprofit organization called Code2040, a program committed to the representation of Black and Latinx people in the innovation economy.
“Code2040 is a program that focuses on getting Latinx and African-American students into the tech industry,” Mwangangi said. “In the fellows program, they help by setting finalists up with start-ups and getting them internships with start-ups while they are in college.”
Code2040 has three programs as outlets for the representation of Black and Latinx people in the tech industry. The Fellows program is one of the three, a nine-week program offering students internships from top tech companies. If Mwangangi successfully makes it through the interview process, he may have an internship in places like San Francisco, Silicon Valley or New York City.
Mwangangi heard about Code2040 when he was a senior in high school and applied this year. The hiring process began in September 2019, and ends in April 2020.
“You’re selected as a finalist based on your application, and then there are companies that partner with Code2040 that then go in and see your application, and based on that they will reach out to you through a portal that Code2040 sets up and decide if they want to move forward in the hiring process,” Mwangangi said. “The opportunity to go out on an internship on the west coast, or wherever they offer, is great.”
But Code2040 offers more than these technical opportunities. Networking is extremely prevalent, and working together builds a community and impactful relationships.
“From what I’ve seen so far and what some of the people I know that have been in it have said, it’s like a family,” Mwangangi said. “Everybody is really close and on the same mission you are — they are like you, so it’s easy to relate and work together on stuff, and build a community and make each other better. And I think that part is really important.”
Mwangangi has an ultimate goal to create solutions through technology that innovate and positively impact the world. And Code2040 could help him get there.
“Right now I try to learn constantly to improve my abilities, gain new experiences by trying new things and exploring different topics, and force myself to get out of my comfort zone and exercise things like leadership skills in different scenarios,” Mwangangi said.