Bridging the Gap
According to Steven Lindo, there is a huge untapped well of talent when it comes to computer science and subsequent careers. “Young people are intimidated, and we don’t help students see the application of these skills accurately,” he says. “Many students have access to technology, but without the knowledge of how to use it accurately, they can’t ever be true digital natives.”
In order to address these gaps in education, Lindo founded SpringBoard Incubators Inc. “Minorities and women are hugely under-represented in the technology fields, and SpringBoard Incubators tries to help bridge that digital and knowledge divide.” To that end, the 501(c)(3) organization hosts after-school and summer programs and does outreach to schools with students of every age, ranging from elementary school to college. At New York Tech, Lindo teaches Career Discovery, a required course for all College of Engineering and Computing Sciences freshmen students.
“When I was getting started, studying computer science could lead to about five or six different careers. Now, there are hundreds,” says Lindo, who had his own “lightbulb moment” as a junior in high school. “I was in a computer class doing my history homework, and my teacher said, ‘You could be good at this, and there could be a career in it for you.’ I had never really thought of it before because I had the wrong idea of what kind of student you had to be,” he says. “I was not a math genius, but I was, and am, consistent with problem-solving, and as soon as the door was open, I knew it was what I wanted to do.”
Lindo went on to a long and successful career, beginning at Thomson Reuters and later as the director of platform technologies at Wolters Kluwer, a global information services and publishing company. In 2017, he started SpringBoard Incubators with five students, and by the beginning of 2020, the program had close to 200. Having outgrown their small space, SpringBoard Incubators started to partner with schools to bring programming in-house, widening the range of students they could reach. “We take a personal interest in every child’s success, which is why we’re trying to align our program with businesses that are out there,” he says. “One of the things I would like to do is to keep some of the talent pool we’re developing here on Long Island. I love to see our students go out into the world to find their careers, but we would also love people to come back and help us train the next generation.”