A life long Philadelphian, Jocelyn C. was introduced to Coded by Kids this past summer when she joined our Tech and Innovation Internship program. In addition to staying on this fall to work for Draft Studios in UI/UX design, Jocelyn decided to grow her leadership skills and become an Innovation Coach and tech mentor for CBK’s Innovation League, a program for entrepreneurial and creative Philadelphia high school students looking to build their entrepreneurship skills. We checked in with Jocelyn to hear about her experience so far and what advice she has for our teams as they prepare for the Innovation Bowl.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m Jocelyn, and though half of my family is from Taiwan and the other half from China, I was born in PA and have been raised in Philadelphia for all my life — that includes going to Anne Frank Elementary, and Masterman for middle and high school. Right now, I’m taking User Experience & Interactive Design at Drexel University, so I pretty much know the ins and outs of Philly!
Outside of academics, I started doing a lot of artistic activities in middle school, and have continued throughout high school. That includes violin — I’ve been in a lot of orchestras, because Philly has excellent music programs — but I also taught myself digital art as a hobby, and that’s helped a lot in me picking up UI/UX at Draft Studios.
How has your CBK experience been so far?
One of my favorite parts of CBK and its programs is the diversity that you’ll find everywhere. In an industry like tech, it gives me a lot of hope when I’m surrounded by people that look like me or share similar experiences. Being a part of the community that will grow in the future keeps me optimistic — it’s part of what keeps me going as both a UI/UX designer and Innovation League coach.
I’m also grateful to CBK for the opportunity to have such professional experience in a blooming industry while surrounded by incredibly supportive people who are passionate about things like me. I want others to see the same kindness that I’ve been shown when they’re in similar positions because it makes the idea of having a career so much more approachable and genuine than I expected it to be.
What made you want to be an Innovation League coach?
The Innovation League program mirrors what I did this past summer for Draft Studios. Part of me volunteered to be a coach because I wanted to pass those experiences along, and the other part of me wanted to see students younger than me succeed. It’s a privilege to be able to participate in such a program with amazing people teaching and a stellar curriculum.
How has the transition been for you from being part of the internship program to taking a more leadership role and coaching high school students?
Even though it’s quite a different position than the Draft Studios internship, the transition was very smooth and allowed me to continue exploring the fields from a different perspective.
The internship went a long way in teaching me the ropes of the curriculum that I’m passing along to the students; in fact, over the course of half of the internship, we did an exercise quite similar to what we’re doing in Innovation League, so I can relate my experiences to the students I’m coaching.
It helps that the internship was so recent, because it gives me the incentive to make such new ideas more approachable since I was in their position — with little to no prior experience in anything, and developing the skills throughout the program — just a few months ago.
Is there anything you hope the students got from your collaboration?
I think it’s worth noting that I can relate to most of these students, who are in high school, as a college freshman. I’ve been in their shoes not too long ago, with the weight of college applications and the general restrictions of school, and I admire their resolve to go out of their way and explore programs like the Innovation League.
It’s not always easy to set aside so much time to learn completely new ideas relevant to specific fields, like entrepreneurship in such a competitive industry. As someone who was there just a year or two ago, I want to make Innovation League an experience worth the time and effort outside of school, passing along skills I picked up in the Draft Studios internship, and give them the courage to keep pursuing such opportunities at such a young age in the best way I can.
Experience — working together in teams, going through the curriculum, and hearing stories from people who work in the industry — is the most valuable thing that I can offer. That’s why I make it a point to try to make myself approachable throughout the program: to make it understandable and relatable to students like me just less than a year ago, so they can go home and put their incredible potential to use.
Do you have any advice for the students before the Innovation Bowl?
Everyone that I’ve talked to, all the projects I’ve seen, and all the stories I’ve heard from you all throughout the program are outstandingly impressive.
Keep carrying that spark I see in all of you — I know what it’s like to get stuck, and I’ve seen it in all of you at different stages throughout the past few weeks. But what matters more is that I’ve seen you power through those low points, perhaps learning new things about innovation but also sometimes gaining insights into yourselves in the process. It takes a lot of strength to get through that, and if you just keep holding on to that resolve, it’s gonna make the Innovation Bowl less intimidating and merely just another way to challenge your brilliant self to grow. I’m rooting for all of you!! :)
What about advice for students hoping to get in tech?
Tech is weird, because everyone talks about it all the time, but it’s also so broad that at this point there are thousands of ways to pursue a career in tech. Whether you’re a programmer, designer, project manager, or entrepreneur, remember that tech is never the end-all-be-all. Keep your personal experiences close to you and let them show through the work that you do because every small decision you make based on the way you perceive things contributes to the growth of the field and gives you a reason to keep growing, both professionally and personally.
Overall, I can say that you should always keep an open mind. Keep asking questions, even when you think you know everything about the various branches within tech, because there is always more to learn and perceive in different ways, just as there is always more to create.
How has being a part of CBK changed how you think about your career? About technology and your role in it?
CBK has given me the valuable experience of working in the field at such a young age, and has given me more than I can say that ultimately contributed to my personal growth alongside my professional growth. I’ve come from a place where I feel proficient with technology, but CBK allowed me to grow into a confident person in everything I do. It’s something that I hope I can pass on as an Innovation League coach to students like me.
The Innovation League was made possible by contributions from our sponsors: Comcast NBC Universal, TD Bank, Penn Mutual, Comic Relief, BossTech, SEI, Seer Interactive, Listrak, Independence Blue Cross, WSFS Bank, Guru, and Morgan Lewis.
Interested in sponsoring future programs? Contact us by emailing email@example.com.