While ColorStack exists as a vibrant online community, it was initially conceived as a central organization with in-person college chapters. As COVID-19 lockdown restrictions have eased and many students have returned to some sense of normalcy, in-person ColorStack chapters have had a chance to flourish once again.
Stony Brook University’s ColorStack chapter is marked by strong bonds between its chapter members and mentorship between class years. Hamed Drame, a senior majoring in Information Systems and current chapter co-president, describes finding ColorStack through previous chapter president, Angel Velazquez. “Recognizing the dearth of diversity in our CS program, Angel believed in ColorStack's mission and took the initiative to establish a chapter at Stony Brook. After reviewing the mission statement and observing its alignment with Angel's vision, I decided to join and contribute in any way possible,” says Hamed.
Co-president Ashley Torres, a junior at Stony Brook majoring in computer science, sociology, and Spanish, similarly describes the experience of being welcomed into the community by Angel. She adds that the group of friends she made through ColorStack is one of the big reasons she became more involved. “It's super interesting getting to know other people's stories and seeing how similar we are. This fuels us to work together to push ColorStack's mission,” she says. “I felt seen in the chapter.”
And Ashley, Hamed, and other members of ColorStack have done exactly that. Driven by the mission of creating a home for Black and Latinx students in computer science and related fields, the team has distributed free AlgoExpert licenses, facilitated mock interview sessions, and connected members with opportunities on and off campus. Other highlights include organizing a campus event with ColorStack CEO, Jehron Petty.
While the achievements of the organization are impressive in themselves, Hamed and Ashley are excited for what’s on the horizon. “As we gain more familiarity with other student organizations and university protocols, I see our campus chapter organizing larger and more exciting events,” Hamed says. Both co-presidents emphasize the importance of the inaugural funding ColorStack at Stony Brook received from the university earlier this year. “[We] are able to have the tools/supplies needed to improve the quality of events,” says Ashley.
For folks who are considering joining, Ashley and Hamed note that there are a number of factors that make ColorStack at Stony Brook an unparalleled community for Black and Latinx, students in computing, the most impactful of which is the academically driven and kind group of ColorStack members who are invested in supporting one another.
Hamed emphasizes that “ColorStack offers a safe and inclusive environment brimming with opportunities to learn and pursue a career in various fields such as Data Science, Software Engineering, or Product Management. There are always job postings available for members and always people willing to help you out with interviews. There's a thing for everyone so you shouldn't be hesitant to join!”
Ashley acknowledges that while putting yourself out there in a new group is not always easy, it’s something that she’s thankful she did. “I showed up to the ColorStack meetings by myself, not knowing this would later be a community I love and support. We offer so many opportunities to end that barrier of minorities in tech. As a community, we're pushing for your success and providing you with all the tools you need to succeed!”
Interested students should check out ColorStack at Stony Brook’s student organization page and feel free to reach out to email@example.com for more information.