One of the most interesting and rewarding roles I’ve held was as an enginner and program manager for The Last Mile, a non profit providing technology training to incarcerated individuals.
The challenge was to teach font-end web development to a classroom of students legally barred from accessing the Internet.
Within a year, our volunteers assembled a sophicticated server rig, worthy of a high-frequency trading hedge fund, to install inside San Quentin. We deployed as much as we could to the server for the students. From stackoverflow, to GitLab, chat apps and file sharing, it felt like Prometheus bringing fire to a cold and dark place.
Here is a short video made by one of our sponsors who provided the storage solution.
Now three of my former students are out of prison and working at tech companies in the Bay Area. No longer hand-writing code in their cells, these dedicated men are providing for themselves and their families, setting an example for what it means to rebuild oneself. I am so proud of their hard work.