My Name Is Madeleine Black — This Is Why I Joined Aha!

Madeleine Black

It started with a big book of code. At 8 years old, I was given a guide to BASIC. The idea was that you could copy the code from the book to create simple computer games, like hangman. Once I had copied every line in the book, I started altering the codes — tailoring the games and ultimately building my own versions. I loved the logic of the code and also that I could transform it into anything I wanted it to be. Read more…

My Name Is Mark Crowe — This Is Why I Joined Aha!

Mark Crowe

I grew up in paradise on the island of Maui. I was surrounded by natural wonders and many different cultures. But early on, I realized how important it would be to get out and see other locations, cultures, and people. In high school, I had the opportunity to attend a month-long program at The University of California in Los Angeles. Listening to lectures from executives at companies like Coca-Cola and Smucker’s, I started to get excited about the off-island world. Read more…

My Name Is Michel Billard — This Is Why I Joined Aha!

Michel Billard

It is amazing what you can do with a couple lines of code. I learned this as a teenager when I started playing around with basic HTML on our family computer. I must have gotten pretty good at it because my parents asked me to build a website for a hockey tournament they were organizing. They wanted to put the final scores online once the game ended — nothing a few lines of code could not do. Read more…

My Name Is Monica Jacob — This Is Why I Joined Aha!

Monica Jacob

I got the “gift of gab” from my Cuban-Italian family. I was a chatty kid who loved to scribble down my thoughts. Words helped me stand out. Most notably in first grade, when I was asked to write a one-page essay on Peter Rabbit and instead turned in a six-page dissertation — detailing the fuzzy critter’s many ups and downs to my classmates. Read more…

My Name Is Shawn Zenz — This Is Why I Joined Aha!

Shawn Zenz

You could say I grew up in the middle of nowhere. (“Nowhere” is an hour outside of Toronto, to be exact.) The remote location lacked the amenities of a big city, but we had something else — the space to learn without distraction. I spent hours taking apart and reassembling dirt bike engines, small electronics, and computers. Even as a kid, I knew there was so much more to explore beyond my rural hometown. Read more…

My Name Is Nataliya Soloveva — This Is Why I Joined Aha!

Nataliya Soloveva

It was my first job out of college. I was a teller at a small bank in my hometown, close to where I went to college in Tennessee. Our customers were my neighbors, friends, even my dad’s co-workers — I was truly serving my community and my community gave right back to me. The bank managers took the time to teach me what they knew and I learned the struggle and joy of building small businesses from our customers. Read more…

My Name Is Lisa Crowell — This Is Why I Joined Aha!

Lisa Crowell

Kindness, effort, and integrity. As hard-working immigrants from Sicily, my parents instilled these values in my sister and me. They emphasized the importance of education and taught us to always see the good in people. My dad especially gave me motivation to excel and often shared sage advice. But I had no idea how much the following words from him would impact my life. Read more…

My Name Is Tyler Knappe — This Is Why I Joined Aha!

Tyler Knappe

The universe is vast. And I have always wanted to explore it. Art, business, philanthropy, astronomy — I am interested in it all. When it came time to enter college, I was interested in two distinct areas: creativity and problem-solving. Computer science and astronomy seemed like an ideal blend, so I chose both as a double major. Read more…

My Name Is Perry Hurtt — This Is Why I Joined Aha!

Perry Hurtt WIJ

I wanted to do something exceptional. It started way back when I graduated from high school — I knew I wanted to go where I could help people and make a real impact. But growing up without a lot of money, college seemed like a stretch. So, I looked for another place where I could better myself and learn from others. Read more…

My Name Is Chris Swenson — This Is Why I Joined Aha!

chris swenson WIJ

It was my own personal robot. As a kid, I had a Kronoform transformer watch that went from timepiece to toy with a few twists and turns. Although the watch itself was pretty cool, I had more fun trying to understand how the parts came together. I would manipulate it from watch to robot over and over — trying to learn the logic behind the complex design. Read more…

My Name Is Justin Weiss — This Is Why I Joined Aha!

justin weiss WIJ

I was three years old when my mom first brought home a computer for work. Back then, having a computer meant you also had to program it. As I got older, I wrote my own programs, mostly for games. I read instruction manuals on how to write your own software. I loved sharing that software with friends, changing each other’s code to make it better. Read more…

My Name Is Jennifer Fish — This Is Why I Joined Aha!

Jennifer Fish WIJ

I was probably the only child who had a filing cabinet in her bedroom growing up. And most likely the only one who jotted down notes in her daily planner. You see, I love to plan. Everything I do, I set a plan for it and have done so for most of my life. I spent most of my childhood as a competitive gymnast, so there was plenty to keep track of. Read more…