Working in Tech and Giving Back


Name, Hometown:
Bryan Seybold, New Brighton, MN / San Francisco, CA

How long have you been a <dev/Mission> volunteer?
About a year

What were you doing before joining <dev/Mission> as a volunteer?
I was a biology student at UCSF and a software engineer at Google

Describe your typical volunteer routine at <dev/Mission> and why it’s important in your life?
I was a biology student at UCSF and a software engineer at Google
My work with <dev/Mission> varies throughout the year. I’m a head instructor of the Internet of Things curriculum at DevMission. I teach about half of the IoT classes for each cohort. Between cohorts, I work to recruit volunteers, procure supplies, and write the Internet of Things curriculum at DevMission.

Volunteering is important for me because it’s an opportunity to give back to and improve my community. I’ve benefited from a great deal of support over the years and I hope to provide that to the students.

As every teacher learns, there is also so much to learn when teaching. The students’ ingenuity always impresses me. Hearing their own analogies that made the material click for them teaches me to communicate better. Developing a curriculum and organizing volunteers is letting me flex a new set of muscles. <dev/Mission> provides a place where I can grow continuously too.

Share any personal anecdotes involved with <dev/Mission>?
That feeling when some new-fangled device just doesn’t seem to work with the WiFi? We get that with a class of 20 students simultaneously. In our pursuit of ever better signals, we’ve climbed on and rearranged furniture, mapped all corners of the room and then the building, and burned through a lot of personal data plans for hotspots. It’s all worth it to see what the students can build and watching them devour new content even if we need to fall back to analogue teaching.

How has <dev/Mission> staff supported you?
<dev/Mission>’s staff has been the key to making this program possible. The encouragement, guidance, and structure they provide for students is outstanding and so critical for the students’ successes. I may be able to teach a class to an empty room without the staff’s support, but I would not be able to make a difference for these students without the staff’s help.

In terms of low-level details, the staff helps me connect better with the students, orders and organizes supplies, and motivates the students to achieve more.

What three words would you use to describe <dev/Mission> if you were trying to convince a friend/peer to get involved as a volunteer?

Has <dev/Mission> positively impacted you? If so, how? Yes, it has impacted, how?
The easy wins are in my ability to create a curriculum, organize a group, connect with students, and teach. More profound is the satisfaction of teaching a good class and seeing the concepts click for the students.

What do you think makes <dev/Mission> different from other organizations you have volunteer before?
One focus of <dev/Mission> that always stands out to me is that training encompasses so much more than just learning to code. Learning to code has been pivotal in my life, but so much more of life has been dominated by soft skills. <dev/Mission> incorporates soft skills training into their curriculum and helps the students understand why these skills open up doors.

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