Nailah Akbar

How did you hear about JTC?
A New Way of Life

What made you want to apply?
I've always wanted to learn to code and I wanted to challenge myself, as well as, carpe diem, take the opportunity to learn a new trade and be great!

Do you have any previous coding or technology experience?
Not coding experience however, I do have digital film and video production experience, which includes experience with Final Cut Pro, Avid Editing, Pro Tools, Adobe Flash, Adobe Photoshop and the like.

How has mass incarceration impacted you?
Negatively it impacted me by the many years of undesired separation between me and my children's, family's and friend's lives. It eliminated certain opportunities, created barriers to achieving certain things, also birthed a deep sense of shame, despair and destruction of motivation. Positively though, I chose to dig deep and overcome the negativity, with and by the Grace of God. I also discovered a new way/depth of self discipline. I used my mental and spiritual efforts to maintain my sense of sanity and to improve upon my intellectual strength and grit. With my healing and renewed self esteem and worth I have been empowered. Especially with educational/ training opportunities such as JTC I definitely have moved from place of setback towards a hope and sustainable plan for my future.

What has your experience of reentry been like?
It has been pretty good because of the re-entry help I have received. Yet, I do know that if I was not as focused on what my goals are as I am and if I did not have a specific direction that I was headed in coupled with a strong support network I would have had a much harder re-entry experience. I am most grateful for this JTC training. In JTC I am grounded and focused.

How do you think Justice Through Code will support your reentry process?
JTC will definitely afford me the career opportunities I need to live independently and establish a home for my children and I. JTC will teach me the skills necessary to become successful in a lucrative career in a growing industry. JTC is also equipping me to become a successful business woman. I am very grateful for it all and will always be forevermore.

What do you wish employers knew about formerly incarcerated people?
That we are highly adaptable. That many of us have strong abilities in learning quickly, laser focus and are resilient. We are solution oriented and are disciplined. We are able to be professional, able to work on a team, able to lead, and able to create avenues where others see a wall. Many of us are trustworthy, have integrity, morals and values. I wish they knew that given the chance, we may become their Most Valuable Player.

What are you most looking forward to this semester?
Becoming a strong coder/ programmer. Maintain strong bonds with my new community of comrades. Meeting all of the guests who come to support us, teach us, and applaud our successes and our growth. I am especially most looking forward to successfully completing the course!

If you could create your dream app, what would it be?
An aptitude analyzer with an element that matches the user with a career counselor and life coach.