Two Northern Essex Community College students from Haverhill and one each from Methuen and Lawrence were recently chosen for New England Venture Capital Association’s Hack.Diversity Fellowships.
The selective fellowship program is focused on addressing the underrepresentation of Black and Latino talent in STEM, short for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.
Those selected were Haverhill’s Ana Veloz Parks and Pedro Gutierrez Rincon, both CIS: Computer Science majors; Heather Brillant, also a CIS: Computer Science major, from Methuen, and Adonis Almonte of Lawrence, a graduate from Northern Essex’s Computer Information Science Transfer Program in the summer 2021.
Parks, a 2008 graduate of Lynn Vocational-Technical High School, is on a data analytics track. She said she knows what it’s like to not fit the mold, but she’s found a way to harness that.
“My greatest motivator is the satisfaction of overcoming an obstacle,” she said. Parks first worked in healthcare and became interested in data science when she began working with health insurance. Now at a start-up, she’s been instrumental in implementing new software to help the business and its clients.
Language is at the root of Pedro Gutierrez Rincon’s interest in software. “I think software is the perfect way for humans to merge language and pure math to express things that otherwise were impossible or very limited in any other medium,” he writes. He said where he grew up in Mexico, finishing high school was rare, let alone going to college. He’s proud of this opportunity to pursue his dream of getting a degree and starting a career in the tech field. Gutierrez Rincon is a 2013 graduate of Haverhill High School.
Brillant, a 2018 Lawrence High School graduate, is studying web development. She taught herself English before moving to the United States several years ago. “I am most proud of this because, being self-taught, it showed me that if I made good use of my time, I could learn something that would make my, and someone else’s life, a lot easier.”
In his bio, Adonis Almonte said, “My interest in technology started in my high school years when I was introduced to coding by a friend of mine.” He finished his associate degree at Northern Essex and is now pursuing a bachelor’s in software development. He’s already working on a warehouse management tool.
During the eight-month fellowship, students will have access to mentors, professional development workshops, an expansive alumni network, and full-time, paid, summer internships with Boston’s fastest growing technology companies. The goal of the program is to help talented individuals who are part of underrepresented populations, attain careers in STEM fields.