The Digital Harbor Foundation, which was founded by Andrew Coy in 2013, fosters innovation, technological advancement, and entrepreneurship by helping city youth develop digital age skills through maker activities and tech workforce readiness.
Coy himself admits to dropping out of college four times to pursue such diverse real world projects as: founding a non-profit to assist with the 2004 tsunami in Asia, spending two years living all over Hungary (and learning Hungarian), and serving as a missionary for his church. He finally did graduate from Brigham Young University with a B.A. in history and then from Johns Hopkins University with a Master of Arts in education.
What inspired you to start Digital Harbor Foundation?
“One day, I told my students I could get them a job making a website. I knew there was demand; and this was something students could do based on my informal learning and work experience. I also knew this opportunity did not exist for them during the school day.”
“So, I started an after school club to teach them what they needed to know and found a web site client. We got paid; this brought more students knocking at the door.”
“The momentum kept building. Then, when I learned that the city had slated nearly half of the Rec Centers around town to be closed down; I immediately began dreaming up how to transform a Rec Center into a Tech Center to teach even more youth, web and other tech skills.”
How does your educational background relate to your job at DHF?
“The time I spent out of school wasn’t wasted. Each time I ‘dropped out,’ I was pursuing a passion and learning informally. After graduating from college, I then came straight to Baltimore to teach. I love working with kids and helping inspire their creativity and support their passion for learning.”
“Our goal here at DHF is to support informal learning, and foster learning (as opposed to teaching and testing) as the true focus for educational policy.”
How has your education helped to further your career and contribute to your success here at DHF?
“Without my formal degrees, I would have not have been able to become a teacher. My education (both the formal and the informal) has been essential to my career. My passion for continuing to learn is especially critical to my success as an executive director.”
What is some advice you can offer others looking to go into your field?
“The most important thing is that you find, foster, and fight for your passion. Do something you love and don’t be afraid of the twists and turns your path will take. Also, don’t be afraid of learning something without a formal class or teacher. Be willing to dream and be willing to work – become a social innovator.”
Susan Brown originally spent many years in banking/finance before confronting her addictions. She has now been in recovery for 20 years. Her current interests, in which she has several certifications, are metaphysics and the healing arts. She has written for Examiner.com since 2009 and also writes for Om Times.