The First Tech Fund, a non-profit organization which aims to close the digital divide for low income students in New York City, has announced the open application period for its free fellowship program.
The fellowship is open to high school students residing in NYC and is a year-long program which supports the fellows by providing technical tools and mentorship to help students achieve success and access to higher education.
“Our year-long fellowship puts low-income students in NYC on a trajectory for success in college and careers, provides them with free access to technology, and creates a community of support,” said Josue De Paz and Hana Seligman, Co-Founders of First Tech Fund. “Over the last three years, our fellows have been supported through mentorship and career exposure, empowered with increased awareness of professional pathways, and accepted into colleges, career training, and scholarship programs.”
Applications for the fellowship are open until April 1, and this year over 110 high school students will be welcomed into the cohort.
The program itself runs from September 2023 to June 2024 and consists of weekly, virtual evening workshops where students will receive digital skills training, career exploration, financial literacy, personalized mentorship and more.
Students also meet with their mentors on a monthly basis where they are encouraged and supported in solidifying their networking and professional development skills at events with First Tech Fund’s corporate partners.
Fellows will also be eligible to receive free technology, including a laptop and/or wifi hotspot based on their needs. Students will also be able to keep their laptops after the program as long as they complete the fellowship.
“First Tech Fund enabled me to be a part of a collaborative community that supports, uplifts and learns from each other because not only am I surrounded by like minded peers, but my mentor provides personal guidance regarding my future career path and college applications,” said Evelyn C. from Brooklyn, a First Tech Fund Fellow 2021-2022 and Princeton Class of 2026.
Other First Tech Fund students like Carrie from Bensonhurst, Brooklyn received training through virtual workshops and were supported through their college application process and receive mentorship even after their fellowship is completed. Carrie still meets with their First Tech mentor, Hana Seligman, and is now in their first year at SUNY Stony Brook where they study business.
Students who have completed the First Tech Fund fellowship have been accepted into colleges like Cornell University, Baruch College, Fordham University, New York University and more, with students and former fellows saying the fellowship granted them an incredible opportunity to pursue their potential and be successful.
“Every child’s potential is a reality. It takes a village to help educate, guide, mentor and provide support for one’s child to be successful in life,” said Melody Pink, parent of Ansu M., First Tech Fund Fellow 2022-2023. “As a parent I strive to provide the best possible opportunities for my son Ansu, this means finding programs outside of school that provide leadership skills, career exploration, mentoring and more. I’m preparing Ansu to climb the mountaintop for college and beyond. I’m honored to have First Tech Fund as a part of my village raising Ansu.”
Incoming NYC 10th, 11th and 12th graders who come from low income backgrounds and need personal laptops and internet access are encouraged to apply regardless of immigration status by April 1. There is no cost to apply or participate in the program, however students are asked to commit to at least 75% of sessions.
To learn more about First Tech Fund and the fellowship application process, visit their website at www.firsttechfund.com