Diversity is one of the largest problems in the technological industry. Despite making up almost 30% of Americans, Blacks and Hispanics only represent 9.2% of the tech industry. There are 50% percent less African Americans and Hispanics in tech, compared to the rest of the private sector. African Americans make up about 13% of America’s population, yet there are 0 African American CEOs in the top 50 tech companies.
Due to the lack of diversity in the demographics exposed to tech. opportunities, the true merit of humanity isn’t reflected on a global stage. Equify aims to reform the education system and leverage technological development by promoting brilliant minds in technology, not demographic stigmas.
WHAT IT DOES
Equify is a nonprofit organization that aims to support minority groups in their STEM journeys. For Equify, success is inspiring young minds to pursue a passion for STEM and to give everybody an equal opportunity. We believe that with our society’s growing reliance on those in the STEM field, we should create an environment that nurtures and encourages their unbridled curiosities. Diversity is arguably one of the largest problems in the technological industry. Equify aims to resolve this issue by providing high school students of all racial and gender groups with a technologically developed opportunity document customized to their needs.
We hope to give those who have been marginalized, an opportunity that they can seize and capitalize on. We believe, everybody should have an equal chance to experience STEM and to decide whether or not they want to be a part of it. Through our technologically developed opportunity documents, we hope to create an environment that enables young learners all over the globe to immerse themselves in STEM and give them a taste of what the world has in store for them.
The Equify application is a python based software that directs custom opportunity documents to high school students in hopes of diversifying the technological industry. To complete the form students are directed to the Equify incorporations main page which can be found at http://equifyint.me/. Upon arriving at the document users are encouraged to write the forum to receive their custom document. The forum consists of the user’s first name, last name, grade, and interest. Users have the choice of picking 5 different interest categories which include: AI, quantum computing, VR, IoT, and Blockchain. Upon completing the Equify Technology Opportunity form, a document will be sent in approximately 5 minutes.
The Equify opportunity document is broken down into 6 components: internships, courses, hackathons, connections, external programs, and more resources. The form is organized in a user-friendly interface so you can easily access the various components. The Internships section consists of potential Internships a user can apply to based on their entered interest. In addition to internships, the document consists of a course section that provides users with high-quality and credible introductory services. Another element on the form is the Hackathons section. The hackathon section is comprised of three of the biggest upcoming hackathons. Next is the connection section which consists of emails of the Equify employees who have a solid background in the users’ topic of interest. The last two components on the document are external programs and more resources which both contain more information about the user’s field of interest and study.
HOW WE BUILT IT
Among the challenges, Equify faces in promoting equality in the tech industry are not keeping the end-user in mind. We aim to promote diversity in tech by providing opportunities to minority demographics. However, we often failed to contextualize the methods and procedures required to achieve our fundamental objective. Among the repercussions of our product, we risked supplementing the issues we aim to solve → If people of power and influence avail our product more than our targeted demographics, the disproportionate ratios in the tech industry will perpetuate. To circumvent this devastating contingency, we aim to invest time and effort into directing our product to demographically minority communities. We aim to provide incentives such as sponsorship deals, giveaways, and coupons to predominantly minority institutions. In addition, we will sponsor parts of the private sector that consist of greater minority employee percentages. We additionally aim to partner with lead civil rights associations such as the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), which may provide corporate and other forms of support. Another challenge we faced was the limited scope of our web scraper. To mitigate this, we aim to partner with technology organizations and prestigious universities.
WHAT WE LEARNED
One of the biggest obstacles that we faced was our inexperience using the git version control CLI tool. This was a source of great frustration on our end as the communication between the backend and the frontend tended to be disorganized and messy. We had to research many novel concepts regarding the tool including a .gitignore file as well as only creating commits on major changes. There was one instance where there was a file not yet upstream which unfortunately had been overwritten, and thus all progress was lost. As a result, we have learned to be mindful of the power and importance that git has in a development environment.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR EQUIFY
We think that we have a solid concept and useful product that will help increase equality in the world of tech. Moving forward we will consider adding more functionality to the equality algorithm such as increasing the number of parameters for more personalization and optimizing the algorithm to decrease wait times. Promotion of the service through social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook will give us the exposure we need to get it off the ground. Also, in order to test the service, we will conduct some preliminary trials with groups of aspiring techies representative of the demographics we are attempting to help kickstart.