December 2020 All-Star Partner Feature: Q2

Picture this: you’re a high school student and have just completed a few months of intensive coding classes. You’re ready for what’s next and per the instructions of the software engineer leading today’s session, have just downloaded and installed Git: a version control system to handle your next project. You’ve successfully created a GitHub account to house your code and you’re ready to check if you have an SSH key. Yikes. You don’t, so you try to create one, but run into a snag. You google your error message and try to troubleshoot but it looks like you’re stuck. So what do you do?

You ask your rubber ducky for help, of course.

This scenario was actually the case for dozens of our Code2College students this past May, as they prepared for a virtual Tools & Practices Session titled “Getting Unstuck: Being Your Own Rubber Ducky”. Created and led by Maureen (Mo) Slavin, Senior Software Engineer at Q2, 25 students, who at the time were about to embark into paid, technical (and VIRTUAL due to COVID health & safety precautions) internships, received hands-on training and learned a variety of professional skills including learning the steps to getting unstuck in a technical environment (aka becoming their own Rubber Ducky).

Our relationship with Q2 started four years ago when Mo joined ten other Tech industry volunteers to become a Code2College Founding Volunteer and supported a pilot cohort of just 30 students. Mo has been an exceptional volunteer and force of nature for our program as evidenced by Code2College students voting for her to win the 2020 Code2College IDEA Award for Mentor of the Year, as well as Volunteer of the Year in 2018.

Fast forward to today, Q2 has brought in over twenty new volunteers to join our program in Fall 2020; a record year for volunteer recruitment at Q2. These “Q2 peeps” serve in a variety of roles ranging from after-school instructors, workshop mentors, resume reviewers and much more. Volunteers like Michelle Vogel, Senior Javascript Developer, who taught our Web Entrepreneurship Essentials (WEE) course which gave students the opportunity to learn and provide pro bono web development services to the community, as well as our Software Engineering Leadership Program (SELP). Or volunteers like Ashley Stone and Jan Acosta who have mentored dozens of our students during our STEM industry case competitions and professional skills workshops as they develop communication skills, STEM industry familiarity and, most importantly, their confidence. Mo, Michelle, Ashley, Jan and many other Q2 peeps have contributed a great deal to our impact by enthusiastically investing in our students and program.

And at the corporate level, Q2 has invested nearly 1,000 volunteer hours in our existing volunteer opportunities since 2016, while also identifying other areas of service including generously opening up their corporate space to hold nearly every volunteer training for Code2College, as well as several of our commencement exercises and even out first Hackathon.

And then, amidst the many health & human crises and uptick of racial strife in 2020, Q2 stepped up yet again by becoming a Champion-level Funder of our new program to empower black and Latinx women in STEM, and forever change the Tech ecosystem: Vision 2024. Vision 2024 is our bold initiative to develop, support and place 200 black and Latinx women into STEM roles by the year 2024, and with a $100,000 commitment to Vision 2024, Q2 has taken a tremendous step in helping to build a strong and diverse community and technical talent pool.

Speaking of talent pool, for the past three summers, Q2 has been involved in one of our most critical program activities: hiring high school technical interns for the Summer. Quintin Mitchell-Reyes was one of those interns, and he shared that he was unquestionably supported AND challenged throughout his internships these last several years. He was also supported prior to his internship Summers with Q2 as he worked along Q2 peeps throughout his Code2College experience; from workshops to after-school instruction and even Mo’s “Getting Unstuck” Tools & Practices Session prior to the 2020 Summer internship season. And now after starting with Q2 as a high school intern after his Sophomore year in high school, Quintin is a freshman at The University of Texas at Dallas studying Computer Science. Quintin considers his Software Engineering internships at Q2 to be his greatest accomplishment to date. Not only did he gain in-depth exposure and access to the Tech industry, but Q2’s company culture and inviting environment affirmed that Software Development was truly where his passion lies and the career path that was meant for him.

A longtime corporate partner, Q2 has made it part of their mission to help build strong and diverse communities in Austin and beyond. Recognized as one of Austin’s Top Workplaces by the Austin American-Statesman for the tenth consecutive year, Q2 has made it a point to invest in their employees and the communities where they operate and serve. In doing so, Q2 is helping the Tech ecosystem get unstuck from the perennial challenge of building a diverse tech talent pipeline. Committed to giving back, Q2 has remained a constant advocate for bringing real change to the future of Tech.