We believe that everyone should have an opportunity to pursue a career in technology and become an entrepreneur.
“The increasingly efficient technology sector is accelerating social mobility for those with access to the right education. Access Code is daring to make this path accessible to those who came to our country to pursue the American Dream.”
Mark Peter Davis, VC at High Peak Ventures

Access Code 2013 Demo Day

We want to empower talented individuals and underserved communities by increasing access to tech education.

NYC Tech Challenges & Opportunities

Although there are 900 NYC tech companies actively hiring, only 1 out of every 4 developer jobs is currently filled. We see this hiring challenge as a tremendous opportunity. There are incredibly talented individuals and underrepresented communities in Queens and throughout New York City who have the potential to excel at these jobs and contribute to the booming tech economy.


We foster tech in Queens but we believe our work has broader impact and will tackle current trends in tech. Across the United States, women make up only 12% of the developer workforce. Hispanics and African Americans make up 7% of the tech workforce and only 1% of startup founders. Immigrants in NYC own only 1.5% of tech businesses compared to 52% across the United States.

The wealth of diversity that exists in Queens can help create a tech community that is more reflective of NYC and our society. These new ideas and new experiences will help build better products and use technology to solve unaddressed problems that may exist in these communities.


We wanted a program where students could learn from each other in a collaborative environment. We are extremely proud to say that our inaugural class is 57% female, 52% underrepresented minorities, and 40% immigrants. To find the most promising students from a range of backgrounds, we partnered with local community institutions such as Upwardly Global, Chhaya, Queens College, and the CUNY Macaulay Honors Program.


Our students come from all over the world, as well as from the East Bronx, Harlem, Jackson Heights, and the Queensbridge Housing Projects. In addition to being culturally diverse, our students also have a wide range of experiences and backgrounds, from a Queens Public Library instructor to a venture-backed startup founder to graphic designers.

The Course

Access Code focuses on practical, hands-on learning. Students worked in a pair programming environment and teamed up together to build applications. The course started and ended with weekend coding marathons, with students hacking away for 16 hours over two days.


In addition to helping students develop programming skills, we wanted to encourage them to build their own ventures. It was important to have industry experts visit the class to discuss the ins-and-outs of entrepreneurship and application development.

VIN VICANTI, Co-founder & CEO Yipit
PATRICK MOBERG, Founder of Dots
JALAK JOBANPUTRA, Managing Partner at Future Perfect Ventures
CAMERON KOCZON, Founder of Fictive Kin
Demo Day

Over the course of 10-weeks students learned how to build the core functionality of four different types of iPhone applications. They then chose to build out a specific application type from scratch, personalizing and creating new features.

Student Projects

BusyBee is a quick and easy way to keep track of your to do’s. You can make a task quickly and on the go. When you’re done, simply check off your task and bask in your accomplishment. You can also set due dates, reminders and add notes for each task. Whether you want to create a quick grocery list or organize your next road trip, BusyBee can help you stay on task.

Team Members

  • Angelica

    Angelica Contero

    I am pursuing a Masters degree in computer science at CUNY Queens College. I have worked on two apps. The first, iBox Remote File Access, I created while working with the tech startup TeliApp in NJ. I am currently interning at Dash Labs, Inc., an NYC startup focused on creating a connected car platform between your car and your smart phone and big data from cars and driving behaviors. I have enjoyed being a teaching assistant for Access Code as I am very excited about developing for iOS and sharing my knowledge about it with others.

  • Donysa

    Donysa Vacharasanee

    I am currently an HR Specialist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). In my six years at MSKCC, I have always worked to automate and upgrade whatever I could in order to make the client experience more positive and seamless.
    I did not expect that learning Objective-C would train my problem-solving skills as I never experienced it before. Most of my learning took place in the journey to solve problems, particularly as I spent time on online libraries, forums and tutorials, as well as engaged in paired programming and group work. I am currently working with fellow Access Code teammates to create an app that helps people organize tasks and projects. My colleagues and I see the value, especially in a fast-paced world where people feel overwhelmed and need a way to stay on task.

    Being a part of Access Code demystified the field and helped me connect with smart and dedicated people who come from various experiences and journeys in order to end up here, building something great together.

  • Hasan

    Hasan Priyo

    I was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh and immigrated to United States in 2005. Having a natural interest in technology, I invested my academic career in a field that involves analytical thinking. After high school, I joined City College of New York and graduated this past February with a BE in Mechanical Engineering.

    After finishing Access Code, I plan to utilize my skills in the NYC startup community. In addition to gaining experience in entrepreneurship, I hope to contribute to the booming startup community.

    The most enjoyable thing about Access Code is the positive classroom space, where students are constantly engaged in a participative learning atmosphere.

  • Jasmine

    Jasmine Baker

    A recent graduate from Hobart and William Smith Colleges with a Bachelors Degree in English, I now work as a Technical Support Aide at the Queens Public Library where I teach beginner and intermediate computer classes. These classes help boost economic development for communities where there is limited access to the Internet, computer training, and job readiness training.

    My position as a Technical Support Aide has really opened my eyes to the importance of technology in our world today. It has made me more inquisitive–I now have the desire to create, as opposed to simply consume. I want to create the apps I love to download on my iPhone, and I would like for the knowledge I gain through Access Code to be a first step towards making more coding classes available at public libraries.

    I am interested in tech because it has become the primary way that people interact with each other, and so I see the value in promoting digital literacy. Once I complete Access Code, I plan on continuing to study iOS development on my own and use my newfound knowledge to pursue a career in the tech industry.

    The analytical thinking and problem solving that is required to code is what makes it so challenging, but those aspects are also what make it so rewarding!

delockr gives users the ability to organize accounts into “lockrs” or categories (ex: work, school, shopping, finance), which are skeuomorphs of physical lockers.

Team Members

  • Heba

    Heba Elsayed

    I am currently an application developer and database administrator for Hostos Community College of the City University of New York (CUNY). I received my B.A., Summa Cum Laude, in Computer Science (CS) from Fordham University, where I received honors for Outstanding Achievement in Computer Science. I also hold an M.S. in CS from Columbia University.

    I am the recipient of three CUNY Productivity Awards for my role in developing innovative systems that streamline processes. I have also contributed to the publication Cases on Higher Education Spaces: Innovation, Collaboration, and Technology. As part of the Information/Learning Commons Committee that effectuates this technology, the primacy of integrating iPads in the classroom was discussed, sparking my interest to join Coalition for Queens’ Access Code program so I can build apps for the college and the community at large.

    I was delighted to be invited to join the program as a TA where I can assist individuals on their journey to learn development and build apps that ultimately enhance people’s lives. I found the experience immensely rewarding and wish to continue mentoring/teaching students.

  • Andrew

    Andrew Bennie

    Originally from Miami, I am an experienced Business Development and Community Strategy professional currently living in New York City. After graduating from the Wharton School of Business in 2004, I worked and consulted in the educational technology sector for eight years. In 2005, I helped build BioCareers, a life sciences career site, which now represents over 50 universities across the US. Most recently, I managed Relationship Strategy and Community Insights for Mendeley, a research collaboration platform, which sold in April 2013 for $100 mm.

    I applied to the Access Code program to balance my business experience with technology know-how and to enable me to build mobile applications for college students across the country. I am currently building a minimum viable product for my first mobile application, SliceShares.

  • Rebecca

    Rebecca Kleinberg

    My career background in the Travel Industry has led me to have unique experiences all around the world. Pursuing my interest in technology, I am exploring a different kind of experience. This class appealed to me because of it’s exciting, challenging nature and endless opportunities in the mobile web environment. After this class, I intend to continue my education though internships, projects, and more classes.

    Access Code has a collaborative spirit, dedicated educators, fascinating speakers, and opens the door to opportunities I otherwise would not have access to.

  • Paola

    Paola Mata

    I was first introduced to programming at Brooklyn Technical High School, where I had the opportunity to learn various programming languages. At Hunter College, CUNY, I pursued my love of language and literature and earned a BA in English. Since then, I have served in administrative roles within academic and non-profit research settings. I have also done some freelance copy editing, most notably for The Daily Muse website.

    My love of writing brought me back to my programming roots. While exploring a career change, I started a personal blog, and in doing so, realized how much I enjoyed the customization aspect of blogging. I decided to relearn to code, starting with HTML and CSS, which ignited my a passion for technology. Since then, I have been rapidly absorbing new tech knowledge and skills.

    Upon completing the course, I hope to quickly start gaining real world iOS experience and eventually apply my skills toward solving problems faced by women, minorities and immigrants. I feel my own background makes me especially suited for this undertaking, and I am very proud to be representing these traditionally underrepresented groups in the tech community.

    Learning and struggling together has been a rewarding experience.

  • Frank

    Frank Rivera

    I’m currently a freelance designer working in NYC. I primarily work on brand identities, online and mobile. Originally from Los Angeles, CA, I attended ArtCenter College of Design. Since then I have worked for ad agencies, start-ups, and as a freelancer for corporations and small businesses in LA and NYC. I got my first taste of communication design creating fliers and posters for performing arts shows at my highschool and eventually decided to pursue working in design.

    My goal is to have as many tools possible in an array of technologies to meet the needs of my clients. Having this knowledge allows me to work with others more effectively on projects. I have taken many classes in programming and interactive design and I find the future of technology and how we interact with it in our daily lives fascinating and ever-changing. I’m particularly interested in mobile technology and how it’s quickly becoming our preferred source of information. I want to be a part of shaping that future. Upon completing this class I hope to be able to develop apps for exiting and new clients. And if the right idea comes along, possibly develop a start-up app of my own.

ShutterChef is an app to share your dining experience with friends and family. A ShutterChef user can upload an image, add a filter and link an associated recipe. A feed shows recipe images from other users. An user can also follow their favorite chefs. Additionally, they can also view recipes for items they like.

Team Members

  • Ana

    Ana Coronado

    I’m currently a web designer at WorldNow. I have designed websites for TV news stations from all around the United States. Graphic design is one of my passions; the more I worked in web and the more sites I designed, the more interested I became in learning the code that brought my designs to life. I wanted to learn the challenges of creating my own projects from the ground up. After this class, I plan to pick up a few other programming languages and pursue a career as a front-end developer where I can use both my design and coding skills to create beautiful and functional user interfaces.

  • Sky

    Sky Davis

    I received my Bachelors in Writing and Rhetoric, then moved on to attend Pratt Institute for a Master’s Degree in Communications Design. While in college, I became interested with learning how computers functioned, and more so; learning how humans could ‘talk’ to computers. This interest led me to delving into programming languages and building small things with code.

    Attending Access Code allowed me to learn Objective-C in a supportive environment. After this class, I plan to continue building a personal project I’m working on which teaches STEM subjects to middle school students.

    What did you enjoy the most about Access Code?

    Access Code is unique because it contains individuals from a variety of backgrounds. The thing I enjoyed most was studying alongside people who held a multitude of viewpoints and histories.

  • Chris

    Chris Piazza

    My name is Chris Piazza and I grew up in Flushing, Queens. I am a financial industry escapee, an MBA grad and an entrepreneur. Two years ago, after graduating business school and travelling extensively through Europe and Asia, I co-founded WeHostels, a mobile app to help travelers book hostels and budget accommodations on the go.

    I am on the business side and prior to Access Code, I had zero experience coding. Having always been fascinated by how things work, I have always wanted to learn to code, but just never had the time. When the opportunity to learn how the app my company was building actually worked, I jumped on it. I am really glad I did. The Access Code experience has been great and I have learned skills that will only help me as I move forward in my career.

    I plan to use my newfound skills to help develop the WeHostels iPhone app as well as develop some app ideas that I have been holding on to.

  • Felicia

    Felicia O’Garro

    I am a front-end web developer who, after being inspired by tech innovation in New York, decided to teach myself how to code. Prior to web development I worked in the financial services industry for various Fortune 100 companies managing middle market and national accounts, building relationships and providing products to individuals and families.

    I am also one of the co-founders of Code Crew, an organization that provides support to individuals learning how to code and hosts coding sessions every week. My curiosity and passion for mobile applications lead me to take the course. I plan to start work on a mobile application for a project started at TechCrunch Disrupt 2013 and continue to learn more about Objective C and iOS development.

    What did you enjoy the most about Access Code?

    I enjoy the learning experience at Access Code. It’s very challenging, but pushes you to learn this stuff and to become a better programmer.

  • Eric

    Eric Romano

    I am a front-end web developer who, after being inspired by tech innovation in New York, decided to teach myself how to code. Prior to web development I worked in the financial services industry for various Fortune 100 companies managing middle market and national accounts, building relationships and providing products to individuals and families.

  • Shawn

    Shawn Dotty

    Five years ago, I joined a tech startup in Beijing which helped customers order local services such as SPA and KTV online. After two and a half years of hard work and struggle, we finally didn’t make it. However, I learned more from this experience than four-years of college study, and that was when I found my passion for technology and entrepreneurship.

    After my first journey, I became a front-end developer at Lightinthebox. I focused on front-end technology and teamed with my co-workers to make a front-end framework for our company. Those were exciting days for me as a developer.

    What did you enjoy the most about Access Code?

    Fourteen months ago, I quit my job and moved to the United States for my wife. As a volunteer for Queens Tech Meetup, I learned about Access Code. iOS is new to me, and I always want to learn something new.

Score is an iPhone application that aggregates information from each user that signs up. After signing in users can view a feed of photos and choose whether to like or dislike users. If two users like each other a chat will become available between the users. The app also features a leader board that displays the most liked and disliked persons.

Team Members

  • Eli

    Eli Bierman

    I am a born and bred Brooklyn boy, and graduated from Stuyvesant High School and the Macaulay Honors College with a degree in Geography. I currently freelance as a computer tutor, am a self-taught web developer, and I write as much music as I can make time for.

    As a musician coming of age in the digital age, I am brimming with ideas of how we can broaden musical expression with the help of technology. Despite the vast capability of music technology today, I often wish there were better tools for intuitively creating and manipulating complex sounds.

    I hope to develop imaginative apps for musical expression that deepen our understanding of music and sound and inspire people to ignite their creativity. With the skills developed through Access Code, I plan on joining ambitious projects along these lines and striking off on some of his own as well. I have written small music apps in self-taught languages including Wolfram Language, SuperCollider, and Pure Data, but hopes to captivate a wider audience through iOS.

  • Moawia

    Moawia Eldeeb

    My name is Moawia Eldeeb and I am an immigrant. The first 10 years of my life were spent helping around the farm in Egypt. I grew up in and am still currently a resident of Queens Bridge Public Housing. I started working weekends when I was in fifth grade. In high school, I started realizing that delivering pizza wasn’t what I wanted to do my whole life. My new found interest was finding out which days were garbage collections days so I could collect things that people threw out and just tinker with them. This led to a new obsession with fixing things that didn’t work. I went to Queens College and completed a B.A in Applied Mathematics and now I am admitted to Columbia’s Fu Foundation School for Engineering to complete a BS degree in Computer Engineering for the class of 2015. I am interested in tech because it revives a part of me, that same part that made me go out at night as a kid and collect things people threw out and fix them. After this class, I plan on working on my iPhone app and completing my engineering degree.

  • Michelle A.

    Michelle A. Fernandez

    I am currently a dev intern at DreamIt Ventures, a startup accelerator, where I assist 16 different startups on a project-basis. Working there has included projects such as building databases, designing front end layouts, exploring new programming languages, and the opportunity of applying what I have learned from Access Code to work on iOS apps for Miner and Trippin’In. I studied Architecture at Barnard College and switched over to the tech scene after working at a New York startup, first as a marketing intern, and then as a project manager. After a year, I decided to go back to school and I have recently finished up a Post-Baccalaureate in Computer Science at Columbia University. Beyond the technical side of programming, I am highly active in the tech community and frequently attend various tech events and meetups. My family emigrated from the Philippines to Germany, where I was born, and then relocated to Washington State, where I grew up. Because of Washington’s strong tech economy, I was encouraged to attend math, science and computer camps that were offered by local companies.

    What I enjoy most about this program is being surrounded by people coming from different career backgrounds who are eager and excited to learn to code.

  • Lena

    Lena Jacobs

    I recently graduated from the NYC Lab High School and I am looking forward to attending Middlebury College this coming February. Ever since I was young, digital technology and its changing ecosystem has always excited me. This year, as a member of The Future Project, I developed an exciting and innovative idea for an app but quickly learned that looking for an experienced developer was very difficult. As a result, I decided that I would develop and code the app myself, taking on the challenges of learning a new language.

    Throughout my time with the Access Code course, I have learned the foundational skills in becoming a seasoned app developer, as well as the necessary steps to start an innovative company. Upon completion of Access Code, I look forward to creating a trial version of my app: Babylon. I am also eager to put my new skills to work perhaps through additional partnerships or full time jobs in the app-development world.

    Access Code has offered me the opportunity to really engage in the fast paced startup tech environment and has exposed me to an amazing group of students that are just as passionate about the emerging world of technology as I am.

  • Kuhan

    Kuhan Puspanathan

    My name is Kuhan Puspanathan. I came over to the United States from Malaysia back in 2008 to attend the University of California, Berkeley. My years at college were an eye-opener as I adapted to the many cultural differences. I learned how to stay ahead in a competitive environment and the value of a strong work ethic. In 2012, I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. Since graduation, I have worked as a database management consultant; however, I realized that better opportunities existed in mobile applications. This led me to the Access Code program. As the course progressed, I realized I become more proficient in developing iOS applications. My aim at the end of this course is to have a fully functioning Facebook Dating app in the App Store and to have a full-time position as a junior programmer.

    Through a dynamic class experience and the multitude of available resources provided by the Coalition for Queens, the instructor, and the teaching assistants, I am confident to finish this program as a proficient iOS Application developer.

  • Weiwie

    Weiwie Shi

    I am currently a Statistical Clerk at Amtrak Sunnyside Yard. Ever since I took a C++ class in my last year of college, I dreamt of becoming a programmer. Although it was too late at the time to change my major and I graduated with a Finance degree, it didn’t stop me. When I heard of Access Code, the first thing that grabbed my attention was how accessible and affordable it was. Having researched many other programs before, I knew that similar programs can cost twice as much. Later during my interview with Ben I learned that it was because everybody who gets accepted to the program automatically gets a partial scholarship. This makes learning to program easier for low income people.

    After this class I hope to work for a startup company so I can apply what I learn from class to the position. I plan to take additional classes on the side to further improve my programming skills.

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