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Meet Kayla: A college student and open source ambassador

From learner to mentor, Kayla, an All In for Students ambassador, has become an open source leader on her campus.

Meet Kayla: A college student and open source ambassador

When it comes to the GitHub All In for Students program, you need to embrace the idea of, “Coming in with an open mind,” says Kayla Partee, an All In ambassador. She joked that it seems like a bad pun when discussing the world of open source, but it’s also critical to success in this program, and to open source in general.

All In: Then and now

In 2021, Kayla joined the very first cohort of the All In for Students program while majoring in Computer Science at Clark Atlanta University. She was one of 30 students from seven universities who joined this pilot phase, which introduces college students to open source and provides them with the education, technical training, and career development opportunities to get started in tech. The goal of the program: to ensure that as open source advances and the community grows, it’s inclusive and equitable to all.

For the 12-month pilot program, GitHub partnered with universities that have been historically excluded and under-resourced, and offered students the chance to not only learn new skills, but gain access to pathways for internships with leading tech companies. Since its inception, the All In program has grown to 178 students from 73 universities participating in the 2024 class.

For Kayla, the initial draw of the program was to learn more about open source and become adept at using GitHub’s features. But after completing the program and then becoming an All In ambassador last year, she realized the program was much more than that. It’s become its own open source community on campus.

From student to mentor

As an ambassador, Kayla has now had the opportunity to become a leader in the open source space, mentoring other students using the knowledge she gained while going through the program herself. This uniquely qualifies her as she can empathize with the challenges of being a student who’s balancing classwork, this program, and all other parts of her life. “I know students have a lot going on in their own lives that I need to be mindful of; I never want to be overbearing with information or emails.”

Her experiences with All In have helped prepare her to achieve both her short term goals—securing a summer internship and long-term plans—making a mark on the industry.

“No matter what I do, I want to be an example to show people that they can succeed, too. As a fellow minority of the 3% of Black women in the tech industry, it is imperative that we support and show the way for others that come behind us.”

Paying it forward to lead an open source community

As Kayla looks toward her own future, she plans to use the tech skills she’s learned to fuel her passion of helping others. She aspires to build an app focused on self-care for women, supporting them with knowledge on relationships and menstrual cycles.

Based on her experience with All In, Kayla has three tips to help you succeed while working in open source communities:

  • Come in with an open mind, whether it be at events, through networking, or while collaborating with others.
  • Appreciate the knowledge you gain from others you work alongside.
  • Value the contacts you make along the way–you never know when these faces or skills are needed in the future!

Kayla exemplifies what we hope the future of open source to be: leaders dedicated to helping others both within the community, and the world. Her future is bright, and we can’t wait to see where open source takes her next!

For more information on the All In for Students program and to apply in August when registration opens, read more here.

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