After realizing that there was underrepresentation of Black and Latinx college students in engineering and computer science, Jehron Petty ’20 set out to change that – not only at his alma mater, but at universities around the country.
“It motivated me to look at the problem and try to figure out what’s going on,” Petty said. “I really wanted to move the needle within an environment I could influence.”
After graduating, Petty founded ColorStack, which cultivates the largest digital community of its kind to deliver academic support, career development and community-building opportunities. Its goal is to increase entrance, retention and success of Black, Latino/a and Native American computer science students.
So far, the platform has connected more than 1,000 students from different universities. Students connect in an online community that Petty says can help further not only their college experiences, but their career paths, too.
The idea for ColorStack came from Petty’s work as a student on Cornell’s campus, where he was co-president of Underrepresented Minorites in Computing at Cornell. While part of this club, aimed at supporting and inspiring students of color in computing, Petty began mentoring other students. His outreach efforts helped to triple club membership.
Kaitlin Provost is a writer for Alumni Affairs and Development.