Cracking the Code to a More Diverse Tech Workforce
PBS Newshour features All Star Code, founded by Christina Lewis Halpern
Interview by Karla Murthy
KARLA MURTHY: Halpern’s inspiration for All Star Code came from her father, Reginal Lewis. He grew up in the segregated south and made it to Harvard Law School, became a successful Wall Street financier, and the first black American to own a billion dollar company.
After her father died in 1993, Halpern discovered that a summer program for black students at Harvard Law had been instrumental in her father’s path to success.
CHRISTINA LEWIS HALPERN: If my father were a young man today, he would want to be in tech. And that’s why we exist, I wanted a program that could help young men who were like my father, who are talented, who are driven, but didn’t have access.
KARLA MURTHY: Halpern, who is on the board of her father’s foundation, has donated $600,000 to All Star Code. This year, it received almost 240 applications for 40 spots. Most students are black or latino and attend New York City public high schools. And 70 percent are from low income families.
Christina Lewis Halpern and mother Loida Nicolas Lewis attend the All Star Code's Second Annual Summer Benefit on July 25, 2015 at the private residence of Loida Nicolas Lewis in East Hampton. Photo by Rob Rich/SocietyAllure.com