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The Look Ahead: April Christina Curley, engagement and partnerships manager at the Last Mile Education Fund

In the latest episode of our video series exploring lessons from the pandemic year, Curley discusses diversity in the tech talent pipeline and what tech companies can do to add action behind the pledges that were frequent in 2020.

(Technical.ly image)

The last time we spoke to April Christina Curley, it was a few months removed from her departure from Google and the viral Twitter thread that recounted her experience as a diversity recruiter with the company. Her story resonated with the world as a testament to the hurdles Black women have to overcome in tech, especially when they attempt to confront racism in a company’s culture.

In the latest edition of The Look Ahead, our video series on lessons from the pandemic year, we got an update from Curley, eight months later. She talked about what she learned in 2020 after going viral and why it was important to put down roots in Baltimore. She made the decision to join Last Mile Education Fund, a nonprofit that’s fiscally sponsored by the Federal Hill-based Digital Harbor Foundation with the goal to support degree attainment for striving low-income technical students through just-in-time grants and connections to additional resources. Curley will lead student engagement and community partnerships at the organization.

“People saw my story and expected me to go lead diversity and HBCU strategy at like a Facebook or Microsoft,” said Curley. But she chose her own path and went with Last Mile Education.

“I think that folks might look at that and be like, that’s an odd choice. But for me it was very much about the work I can get done here within the organization as one of four employees. There’s a lot of room for growth, for professional development, for exposure. I’m already a speaker for Grace Hopper. Who does that? When I was at Google, I would have never had that opportunity to be a speaker for Grace Hopper.”

For those that don’t know, Grace Hopper was one of the first computer programmers on the Harvard Mark I computer, and helped develop the computer language COBOL. Annually, there’s a Grace Hopper Celebration that brings the research and career interests of women in computing to the forefront. This year’s event is Sept. 27 through Oct. 1.

Check out the full conversation with Curley below:

Here’s the audio version:


Watch our conversation here:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tctNMt54Mzg]

Donte Kirby is a 2020-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation.
Companies: Digital Harbor Foundation / Google

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