Introducing Jack Keating, UPchieve’s third staff member
Hello! My name is Jack Keating, and I joined UPchieve in March as its first full-time software engineer. I’m excited to help UPchieve build the ultimate online support platform for underserved students! In my role, I’ll be leading our talented teams of volunteer developers and designers, recruiting more of them, and writing some code myself.
My own education was untraditional. I grew up in the Midwest and attended public schools in both Missouri and Wisconsin. I first developed an interest in coding in middle school due to my deep interest in the Internet and all things nerdy. As a result, when my high school launched a pilot program to teach students about CS, I immediately applied. This program would ultimately inspire me to enroll at the University of Minnesota and continue studying computer science, even when so many of my high school classmates chose other paths.
My first year of college was amazing. I got my first taste of social impact while working with a student-run startup called Mobineo to improve land ownership transparency in Kenya. Then, I landed a summer internship at Sony, my dream company at the time. At the end of the summer, I accepted a full-time job offer to work on a complete rewrite of the PlayStation web store.
While I ultimately didn’t finish my degree, I strongly believe that my first year of college was instrumental to my career success so far. I wouldn’t have gained exposure to the social impact space or landed my first job at PlayStation without it. I know it’s corny, but college really did open doors and widen horizons for me.
For the average student in the United States, a combination of luck and the circumstances that they’re born into ultimately determines whether they pursue a higher education. Personally, I was lucky. My high school launched the CS pilot program at exactly the right time and selected me to participate. If not for that program, I don’t know if I would have applied to college at all, and that’s a pretty scary thought.
Education is an equalizing force that isn’t equally accessible. In fact, it’s hardest to get for those who would benefit from it the most.
Not for long, though. At UPchieve, we’re determined to level the playing field for underserved students and give them control over their own outcomes once and for all.