Giving Up Wasn’t an Option

A woman in a purple cap and gown walks towards the camera. Overlaid is text that reads

Starasia Wright made a promise to herself in 2017: she would graduate college.

Starasia Wright she/her
Break Through Tech Alumna, CUNY Hunter College Graduate
  • Alumni Highlights

Starasia Wright made a promise to herself in 2017: she would graduate college. She had dropped out of her program at CUNY Hunter College and was returning two years later to computer science classes full of students she couldn’t relate to. “I lacked adequate support — financially, emotionally, and mentally — while pursuing my academic career in tech,” she says, “until I found Break Through Tech.”

Starasia was raised in Queens and had a myriad of interests growing up: English was her favorite subject in school, and she was involved in theater and dance, track and field and soccer. Her first introduction to computer science was through web development and game design; she’d always wanted to “do more than one thing,” and double majored in English and Computer Science in college.

When she returned to Hunter College in 2017, she says “giving up wasn’t an option.” But she still lacked a feeling of belonging in her Computer Science classes, even though the coursework satisfied her need for creativity and challenge in all her work. “Participating in Break Through Tech affirmed that graduating with a CS degree was an attainable goal,” she says. And through the programs she participated in — two Sprinternships™ and various networking events, including serving as a speaker herself at some of them — she was able to explore her various interests within the tech sector, like mobile development and data analytics. Now, she plans to combine some of her interests and skills, like data analytics and her passion for writing, into multidisciplinary career paths, like marketing or launching her own company. She’s proven that she can exist in both worlds, humanities and STEM, and won the Trudy Smoke Award in Linguistics and Rhetoric for her sociolinguistic research. Exploring all of her passions meant there wasn’t one path forward.

“It is essential to entertain curiosity,” she says, “so I’m grateful I had the chance to do so at Break Through Tech.”

And for students who may not be sure that their interests fall clearly into the world of technology, Starasia says to “be comfortable with not knowing everything, but be open-minded and willing to learn.”

Starasia’s talent is clear. What she was missing was a community. “Break Through Tech didn’t just give me professional support; I had people actively advocating for me, even if I didn’t necessarily know the depth of their contribution,” she says. “Break Through Tech took a particular interest in my success. Three years later, I am still networking and given opportunities to share my story to help inspire others. Three years later, I’m still talking about the impact of Break Through Tech.”