Jocelyn Marencik has been engaged in both computer science and community service since middle school, so it seemed natural when, after hearing about the disparity in access to technology across Richmond, Virginia schools, she created Got Tec Richmond to help provide technology to underfunded schools.
“When you combine your passion with service, it makes it life-changing for you and those you serve,” Jocelyn says.
Through fundraisers, corporate donations, crowdfunding, and grants, Got Tech has raised almost $40,000, and has been able to make at least two donations to every elementary and middle school in the Richmond Public School system. More than 2,000 students in 90 classrooms now have access to technology they didn’t before, thanks to Jocelyn’s work.
While Got Tech Richmond started with a focus on increasing access to technology, Jocelyn has grown the organization to include education and mentoring as well. In addition to managing the donation of technology equipment, she also organizes and teaches digital art advocacy classes and “Learn-to-code” classes using Scratch and Python languages. She’s also created an online “learn-to-code” library so that students and teachers can continue to learn. These classes have directly affected more than 600 students.
Jocelyn is a senior in high school and will soon be headed to college, where she hopes to double major in computer science and interactive media & digital arts, a combination of computer science and creativity that some students might not realize is available to them. When asked about this, she explains, “Computer science is not only a way to solve problems, but a way to think creatively…and think from different perspectives and viewpoints of how to solve that problem.” Got Tech, in the meantime, is far from winding down: Jocelyn plans to build it into a college student group where the work can continue to grow.