Shaping the Next Generation of STEM Entrepreneurs
Felecia Hatcher is being honored as an African American STEM Champion of Change.
Our kids and our nation are in a state of emergency. Most of our youth regardless of economic standing have a mindset shaped by materialism and the consumption of technology with a total disregard to understanding tech, becoming technology producers, and community change agents. The lack of interest in tech fields is exasperated by institutions and youth organizations that get kids excited about technology or entrepreneurship only to give the youth tons of information, tell them to come up with an idea, never to help the student go through the actual process of turning their idea into a tangible product. Parental involvement is also not a focus in most tech programs even though studies have shown that parental involvement is a major factor in the academic success of students, a source of direction, and inspiration. These problems are more prevalent in African American and Caribbean communities due to a lack of resources such as: a desire to “help, build, and connect with” such communities, continual brain drain and urban flight since desegregation, lack of funding and understanding of the funding requirements of organizations, tech informed organizations and institutions, facilities, trained professional volunteers, and leadership knowledgeable of the tech industry and focused on the future life of the students.
Code Fever was founded in April 2013 and offers weekend trainings, winter and summer boot camp sessions, and has completed a full-fledged six-week program that took place in Broward County Schools in January 2014 with South Florida Cares Mentoring Movement. At Code Fever we’ve merged technology and entrepreneurship in our programs to shift the mindset of young adults and adults from technology consumers to technology producers and community change agents. With our heavy entrepreneurial focus in the program curriculum the students learn not just ideation and technical training, they gain insight into bringing their product to market with pitch training, and a demo day with community leaders and potential investors. Tech professionals and startup founders motivate both parents and students through our panel discussions about technology, the trajectory of technology careers, and entrepreneurship in tech.
Our sole objective is for the students to have something tangible to walk away with at the end of our programs, be prepared to fill tech positions or create tech jobs, see tech in every industry of a digitized nation, and to inform those that influence conversations at home and in organizations.
Code Fever is a passion project for Felecia Hatcher and Derick Pearson. Without passion in the leadership of an organization the missions of the institution will fail and the future of the students will suffer. We have created a program that focuses on equipping low-income, high-potential kids in our community with the technology and entrepreneurial skills needed to write their own meal tickets. These TUAs, Targeted Urban Areas, are predominately made up of people who look like us, are African American and Caribbean, and deserve a chance. Chances can only be given by those willing to give a helping hand or an opportunity. Code Fever is willing to continue giving a helping hand along with our many partners, volunteers, and financial supporters.
Felecia Hatcher is the Co-Founder of Code Fever, an initiative that trains African American youth in the areas of technology and entrepreneurship.