The Hidden Genius Project trains and mentors Black male youth in technology creation, entrepreneurship, and leadership skills to transform their lives and communities.


The Hidden Genius Project, a national nonprofit organization, was founded in Oakland in 2012 by five Black male entrepreneurs/technologists who were unnerved by the dramatic juxtaposition between the high unemployment of Black male youth and the plethora of career opportunities within the local technology sector. To address this challenge, the founders established a program to connect young Black males with the skills, mentors, and experiences that they need to become high-performing entrepreneurs and technologists in a 21st century, global economy.




Chief Executive Officer

An Oakland native, Chief Executive Officer Brandon Nicholson, Ph.D. has always felt a deep sense of commitment to promoting equity in the public realm, particularly in the education space. Previously, he was a Senior Associate at Social Policy Research Associates (SPR), where he conducted research, evaluation, and analysis across a range of key social policy areas. Brandon has conducted substantial research in the areas of education and youth development, with a particular focus on issues of equity and access in K-12 education for underserved populations. He has considerable experience investigating linkages among race, class, and youth development.


Chief Finance and Operations Officer

A San Francisco native, Tariq Norris is the Chief Finance and Operations Officer at The Hidden Genius Project. His expertise is rooted in organizational development, fiscal management, non-profit administration, youth development, and strategic planning. Previously, Tariq held leadership positions at several local and national non-profit organizations which focused on organizational growth and creating positive pathways and opportunities for children and families. Tariq was educated at Alabama State University where he studied Communications. Tariq believes strongly in the power of community and continues to dedicate his life and career to helping historically underserved youth and communities advance and thrive.


Chief Human Resources Officer

Alicia Pinn is a Bay Area native and the Chief Human Resources Officer at The Hidden Genius Project. She was born in Santa Clara, the heart of Silicon Valley, and raised in both the South and East Bay Areas of northern California. The movement around the Bay exposed her to many diverse cultures and people. This and her sundry family makeup allowed her to embrace people of all backgrounds and identities. Alicia is an individual that likes to find the positives and works to drive change. She believes that drive, learned experience, and organization are paramount to success.

Alicia has over 20 years of work experience in nonprofit and for-profit companies and a non-traditional path of education rooted in the Executive level program for Human Resource Management at Cal State East Bay. She also holds certifications with the Society for Human Resources (SHRM) as a Certified Professional (CP), and a Workplace Inclusivity Specialist. She is also a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) with the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI). Alicia is an active board member with the Stanford Community Advisory Board and her local high school's athletic booster club.


Chief Strategic Initiatives Officer

Sean Valentine grew up in the Greater New York City Area. In 2009 he relocated to Oakland to work with youth athletes through personal training. In this pursuit, Sean developed a passion for mentorship and teen counseling. While studying Economics he became determined to incorporate his life’s experiences, scholastic knowledge, and pure people skills to help underserved teens reach their true potential. Sean received his B.S. in Economics from Saint Mary’s College.


Chief Programs Officer

Mounir Tyler is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) with a diverse background in non-profit executive leadership, consulting, clinical therapy, and for-profit management. His leadership philosophy is grounded in the importance of developing capacity-building systems in operations, programmatic services, staff development, and strategic planning. In addition, Mounir has expertise in youth development and previously held executive positions with national non-profits, serving multi-service populations with a primary focus in mental health, supportive housing services, and financial capability.

Ultimately, Mounir is passionate about empowering resource deficient communities affected by systemic inequities, to gain confidence and skills toward improving their mental and physical wellness and overall financial status. He attended Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, The University of Cincinnati, and California State, East Bay earning a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Social Work.


Chief Innovation Officer

Hodari A. Tourè received his doctorate from UC Berkeley in the School of Education in Social and Cultural Studies. His research in anthropology and education reflects a strong emphasis on inner city African Americans and has resulted in an interest in organic community discourse, which he calls block pedagogy. He states it is a discourse, which reflects the constant negotiation of identity power and privileged knowledge.

Prof. Tourè has taught courses at UC Berkeley and has vast experience working with young Black males throughout the East Bay including; Emery middle school, King Estate middle school among others.



Communications Manager

Born and raised in San Francisco, Denzel Russell is the Communications Manager at The Hidden Genius Project. He provides a wealth of experience in youth development, program management, marketing, and non-profit administration. Prior to this role, Denzel’s passion for mentoring marginalized youth stemmed from his service at the Children’s Creativity Museum, where he worked as the Marketing and Development Associate, Floor Manager, and Youth Program Coordinator. Denzel received his B.S. in Business Administration with a focus on Management from San Francisco State University.


Office Administrator

Krystal joins The Hidden Genius Project as an Office Administrator, where she aligns her experience with implementing organizational development and establishing internal infrastructures to support long-term sustainability. Following several years of Administrative Operations and Management at the Executive level— including her most recent position with Edrington and Associates, a leading real estate consulting firm in the Bay Area, where Krystal had the opportunity to revisit her nonprofit roots. She left a significant career in the private sector to pursue a lifelong passion for providing support to young people to help strengthen their capacity to transform their lives and communities. Krystal earned her B.A. in Psychology with an emphasis on social, cultural, organizational, and community contexts with a minor in Africana Studies from San Francisco State University. Her work experience spans considerable domains including juvenile justice reform, youth development, and education.


Development Associate

An alum of our OAK4 cohort, Kyron Loggins is a longstanding member of the Hidden Genius family. Both a peer and mentor to our Geniuses, Kyron first joined The Hidden Genius Project in 2016 as a student of our Intensive Immersion Program, later serving as one of our senior-most youth educators, and now proudly serving in the capacity of Development Associate. He serves to champion the youth in his community, and displays his passion for furthering the opportunities of young Black men in his work with The Hidden Genius Project and his endeavors beyond, which includes community development.


Regional Director, West

Kayla is the Regional Director, West at The Hidden Genius Project and has 13+ years of experience building organizational capacity, focusing on social impact partnerships, scaling access programs, and organizational development. Kayla was previously the founding Site Director for Los Angeles and mentored three Genius cohorts through the 15-month Immersion Program before transitioning into her current role. Kayla is driven by the opportunity to influence systemic change for at-opportunity youth and has overseen expansion and growth at national organizations. Kayla holds a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Michigan, where she focused on policy change within social systems to prioritize community-based solutions.


Manager of Alumni Engagement

As the Manager of Alumni Engagement at The Hidden Genius Project, Arnold Lopez actively manages the personal, professional, and academic ecosystem of initiatives to support current students and alumni. Arnold started his career in San Diego where he worked with young people through local recreation centers, the YMCA, and with his church youth group. His passion for education and youth development amplified when he moved to the Bay Area and joined Destination College Advising Corps (DCAC) with UC Berkeley. Arnold is currently studying Educational Entrepreneurship at the Harvard Graduate School of Education as a MS.Ed Candidate with the intent to bring more resources back into at-opportunity communities.


Community Partners Program Manager

Chris Wilson supports The Hidden Genius Project as the Community Partner Programs Manager. Originally from Berkeley, CA, Chris graduated from San Francisco State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Africana Studies. He is passionate about serving young people in our communities and his work is guided by a deep love for the African Diaspora and the Black experience in America. Prior to this experience, Chris worked as a Program Manager for City Year Los Angeles, where he managed young adults who served students with; tier 2 support time, social & emotional development, and leadership workshops in the Watts and Inglewood communities.


Communications and Marketing Associate

Elizabeth is from Fresno, CA but started calling the Bay Area her home 4 years ago as a student at her alma mater the University of California, Berkeley. Here, she graduated with a Bachelor’s in History and a minor in Public Policy. Elizabeth is excited to continue calling the Bay home with her work as the Communications and Marketing Associate for The Hidden Genius Project. Elizabeth has mentored Black youth in the past during her time in college and is well versed in anything design and social media related. She believes that there are so many young Black male youth that have the potential to grow in the field of tech and entrepreneurship, and she is excited to do the work she does in order to help these youth reach their full potential.


Ubuntu Center Innovation Educator

Damien Hosea is the Ubuntu Center Innovation Educator at The Hidden Genius Project. He describes himself as a pretty laid-back guy with a thirst to learn new things. He is currently a Senior at San Francisco State University working towards a Bachelor's in Computer Science. When he's not doing homework, he is either watching anime, playing Overwatch or Yu-Gi-Oh, or watching videos about the human mind and its inner workings. Damien is excited to join the team because he sees this as an opportunity to make a significant difference in the lives of Black youth, while also empowering them to create a future that we will all be proud of.


Senior Innovation Educator

Eugene Lemon has over fifty years of experience in the computer technology field, first as an Air Force avionics instrument repairman and Telephone Company Central Office Equipment Technician. He retired from Oakland Unified School District in 2012 after twenty years of service where he worked in alternative educational settings; primarily serving at-risk students who would otherwise have a difficult time succeeding in a traditional high school environment.
Eugene was the founding president of the local CSTA Golden Gate Chapter and a member of the CSTA’s Advocacy Leadership Team. Eugene was also a member of the Level Playing Field Institute’s "Broadening Participation in Computing Advisory" committee providing feedback on the development, implementation and evaluation of the BPC project.



Oakland Site Director

Game developer and music composer, Jabari Alii is an Oakland native and the Oakland Site Director at The Hidden Genius Project. He believes in using art and technology to give voice and agency to underserved youth. His work is fueled by a mission to have the Black community play a larger role in the global impact of technology and media. Emerging technology has always been Jabari's passion, as he previously worked as a sound designer for Facebook and a video game design instructor for the David E. Glover Technology Center. In his spare time, Jabari enjoys playing chess and the piano.


Oakland Support Services Manager

Jamal Mitchell drives the holistic arm of The Hidden Genius Project as the Support Services Manager. With over twenty-two years of experience in serving youth and families in the foster care system, Jamal specializes in cultivating relationships with at-risk and underserved youth. He has a strong passion for comprehensive case management and possesses a gift for developing a holistic needs-based service plan. Jamal was also a Life Skills Trainer for twelve years at the Alameda County Independent Living Skills Program.


Innovation Educator, Youth Educator Lead

Computer science enthusiast and aspiring entrepreneur, Abraham Keleta is the Innovation Educator, Curriculum Lead at The Hidden Genius Project. Being an Oakland Native, Abraham is interested in utilizing technology and leadership principles to inspire and empower the next generation to build the tools needed to make a global impact. In his spare time, Abraham is devoted to curating his passion projects; Asend, a personal blog and running a clothing brand, Leopes. He also enjoys reading and reviewing books focused on personal development.


Oakland Innovation Educator

A southern native of the robust rural city of Jackson, Mississippi, Démetrious Brown is an Innovation Educator for The Hidden Genius Project in Oakland. He received his education in Dual degree Computer Science/Computer Engineering from Xavier University of Louisiana and Jackson State University. As an educator, Démetrious has a philosophy of " Quisque Doceat Unum" meaning "Each One Teach One". He strongly believes in collaborative learning and experiencing the journey more than the end goal. In his spare time, Démetrious develops various artificial intelligence (A.I.) programs and code to run on robots to act as a more in depth personal assistant. He also enjoys working on cars in his free time.


Oakland Care Champion

Oakland born and raised, Christopher James graduated from Skyline High School. For more than a decade, Christopher has worked as a substance use counselor and group facilitator for young people in the Mission, Potrero Hill, and Bayview districts of San Francisco. Serving as the Oakland Care Champion at The Hidden Genius Project, Christopher continues to leverage his passion for working with young people by creating holistic and innovative ways to unleash their potential.


Oakland Alumni Coordinator

Born and raised in West Oakland, CA, Eddie has devoted much of my professional career to supporting the professional and personal development of young scholars, leaders, and people alike. A graduate of the University of Oregon with a B.S in Psychology, his professional journey is driven by the need in our community to continue to be uplifted to empower his people in every way. Eddie comes to The Hidden Genius Project from San Jose State University, where he was an Academic Advisor and also has been a teacher within Oakland Unified School District. It is through this work that has aligned Eddie to be an agent of change in his community.



Richmond Site Director

Janay serves as the Richmond Site Director for The Hidden Genius Project. Originally from Southern California, Janay relocated to the Bay Area to pursue her undergraduate degree at UC Berkeley and graduate studies at University of San Francisco.

As an equity-fluent leader and service-learning practitioner, Janay has devoted her career to supporting the professional and personal development of Black students, leaders, and kin. Her professional praxis is rooted in the community cultural wealth model where she supports her community in recognizing and leveraging their lived experiences and ancestral wisdom as strengths and tools for collective transformation.

In her spare time, Janay serves her community as a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., enjoys spending time with family and friends, dining at local eateries, and exploring new hiking trails at East Bay regional parks.


Genius Fellow Educator

Bio coming soon!


Genius Fellow Educator

Born and raised in East Oakland, Devon Nutting first began his journey with The Hidden Genius Project back in 2015 as an OAK3 Hidden Genius with his twin brother, Donovan. After completing the program in 2016, Devon continued to nurture his passion for coding and video game development with the organization as a Youth Educator, where he exposed hundreds of young people to computer science basics and fundamentals through our Community Partnership Programs in the Bay Area, including national and international Catalyst events.

Now, Devon supports The Hidden Genius Project as a Genius Fellow Educator in Richmond by mentoring the next generation of Geniuses in our Intensive Immersion Program. He also participates in the newly created Genius Studios, developing digital games with a team made entirely of Hidden Genius Alumni. Devon is currently pursuing his Bachelor's Degree in Games and Playable Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz. His ultimate goal is to have a career in the technology field and launch his own gaming studio in the Bay Area. Devon's other passions include fitness, cooking, and self-care.


College Adviser

Andrew Pope grew up in Vallejo, California. After graduating from high school he wanted to learn more about the historical factors that have affected his community to this day and went on to attend UCLA where he majored in African American Studies and minored in Pilipino Studies. After graduating, Andrew accepted a position as the College Adviser Fellow at The Hidden Genius Project through Destination College Advisor Corps to work towards getting more students of color into four-year universities.



Los Angeles Site Director

Terell Johnson is a technology and community leader, embodying a perfect blend of expertise, innovation, and social impact. As the founder of LA Create Space, a community-driven creative co-working, event, and production studio in Inglewood, his experience and unique approach to community-building have made him a leading figure among entrepreneurs, tech enthusiasts, and creatives throughout Los Angeles.

With over 15 years of experience as a video communication and collaboration specialist, his career has been marked by significant achievements, such as serving as a Senior Video Collaboration Engineer at Facebook and maintaining the world's most extensive video conferencing infrastructure, to helping Snapchat grow from a startup to a major platform and company. These positions granted him access to cutting-edge technology and trend-setting ideas, which he used to transform La Create Space into an innovative tech space.

Terell's innovative mindset and technical knowledge have earned him recognition as a critical figure in the Inglewood area. He has been instrumental in filling a crucial gap for creatives and tech enthusiasts who need access to resources and a collaborative environment. His ventures have significantly impacted the Black community, providing them with a platform to create, collaborate, and learn.

A product of the Imperial Courts Housing Projects in Watts, Terell's journey has inspired his community and his mission to democratize access to creative and technological resources. He is also a former athlete at San Jose State University, graduating with a degree in Radio, Television, and Film. The proximity to Silicon Valley during his college years exposed him to the potential of technology, leading him to harness it as a tool for community building.

His work aligns seamlessly with the mission of The Hidden Genius Project to train and mentor Black male youth in technology creation, entrepreneurship, and leadership skills to transform their lives and communities.
Terell brings a track record, a forward-thinking approach, and a deep understanding of the intersection between technology, community, and creativity.

Terell offers a wealth of knowledge, an expansive network, and a shared passion for using technology to foster innovation, inclusivity, and change. Terell Johnson is an innovator, leader, and catalyst for future growth and community empowerment.


Los Angeles Support Services Manager

Sherida Harris is a Los Angeles native who has focused her career on providing mindful and enriching experiences for Black and Brown families throughout South Los Angeles for the past 20+ years. Her professional philosophy incorporates both a holistic and solution-based approach which both supports a space and positive narrative, for at-opportunity youth and families to thrive.

As the Los Angeles Support Services Manager, Sherida’s commitment is the betterment of all youth and their families through empowerment and an asset-based approach. In her free time, she enjoys swimming, visiting local museums, and time with family and friends.


Los Angeles Innovation Educator

Rap lyricist and game designer, Craig Tinsley, is the Los Angeles Innovation Educator at The Hidden Genius Project. Throughout his career, Craig has worked in digital media and entertainment, soaking up a diverse skill set in quality assurance, technical writing, and digital product management along the way. Heavily inspired by hip-hop culture, physical sciences, and a wide range of animation, Craig uses his linguistic mind to oscillate between big picture ideas and fine details in order to detect opportunities to synthesize new understandings and outcomes.


Los Angeles Alumni Engagement Coordinator

As a proud South Central native, Alumni Engagement Coordinator Janet Lopez believes in the power of education. Being the first in her family to graduate from college she was able to develop a passion for service and advocating for college access to at-promise youth. While studying Sociology and Black Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Janet realized the overlap of her own lived experiences and her educational studies that led her to see the great impact of mentorship through her involvement in various youth development organizations. She is passionate about mentoring youth to reach their full potential and giving them holistic care in order to accomplish their goals. Janet is humbled and honored to become part of The Hidden Genius Project to continue reminding folks that our Geniuses matter today, tomorrow, and always.



Detroit Site Director

William Malcolm serves as the Detroit Site Director at The Hidden Genius Project. With over 15 years as a business and social entrepreneur, William has developed extensive leadership and project-based programming pathways for Black male youth. William strongly believes in the unlimited potential of all Black boys, which is why his work focuses on educational achievement, social and emotional wellness, goal-setting techniques, and conflict resolution strategies, while reinforcing the importance of understanding one's self and cultural identity.

A member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated, William has received numerous awards and recognitions for his community involvement. He was awarded a 2010 Detroit Chamber of Commerce Fusion Award, a 2010 Vanguard Award, a 2012 Molina Community Champions Award, a 2013 Black Male Engagement Award, a 2016 Spirit of Detroit Award, and a 2019 Michigan Chronicle Man of Excellence Award.

William also hosts, The William Malcolm Morning Show (92.7 WLQV Detroit-Market); the goal of the weekly show is to inspire, uplift, and motivate listeners to become dreamers in action.


Detroit Support Services Manager

Miracle Baynes is a Detroit native who has a deep passion for caring and supporting for those in her community. Throughout Miracle’s career in the human services field, she has been dedicated to changing lives with a zest for helping others navigate healthcare, supportive services, direct care, and mentorship. As the Detroit Support Services Manager, Miracle continues to impact the lives of our young people in many ways. She received her B.S. in Psychology from Wayne State University.

Outside of Miracle’s professional endeavors, she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, and being the best mom ever.


Senior Innovation Educator, Curriculum Lead

Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, David Malone Jr. serves as the Senior Innovation Educator, Curriculum Lead at The Hidden Genius Project. Soon after receiving his B.S. in Computer Engineering from the University of Akron, he moved to Oakland in order to pursue his passion of uplifting Black communities. The under-representation of Black people in the tech industry sparked an interest for David to help provide the resources and opportunities needed to diversify the tech sector. He also worked as a Technical Support Representative for Rockwell Automation overseeing numerous software products.


Detroit Alumni Engagement Coordinator

As the Detroit Alumni Coordinator at The Hidden Genius Project, Nadia Shelton identifies, and actively manages personal, professional, and academic initiatives, at a programmatic level to build relationships with our partner organizations for maximum impact on our alumni and current Geniuses. Nadia grew up in the Metro Detroit area with roots from both sides of the city. After graduating high school Nadia went on to the University of Toledo where she got a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications with a minor in Peace and Justice Studies.

Nadia is very passionate about living in a peaceful and just society. While in college she led a successful effort to bring NPHC and MGC Greek plots to her campus. Nadia is also very involved in giving back to her community and often volunteers with the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan. She is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Wayne State University with the goal of one day being able to put policies in place to make her community and world a better place.


Detroit Innovation Educator

After being adopted by Chicago for nearly 15 years, Stephanie hit ‘RESET’ and returned to her hometown of Detroit in 2015 to reboot her writing ambitions into a tech career. This bold move led to a foray in Computer Science education, and working closely with nationally recognized organizations like Black Girls Code and SMASH, which lead the way in providing STEM innovation exposure to students from systemically excluded groups. Before she became an Software Impact Program intern with the Developer Relations team at Planet, the leading provider of global, daily satellite imagery and insights, she joined CODE313 as a Coding & Web Design Instructor. With over a decade of experience in Media Communications, the Grand Circus Detroit (Javascript, ’16), Integrate Detroit (Software Development, ’18) alum is always looking to share her passion for the T in “STEM” with developers & non-developers alike.



Atlanta Site Director

Nancy Taiye Aragbaye, MPA has always been an advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves. Since her youth, history has always been an interest of hers. Fascinated by how communities and cities grow, she became hyper-focused on developing solutions to transform impoverished communities into thriving environments.

As a former Metro-Atlanta Teach For America Educator, She discovered a gap in the education system - a desperate need for formal business & leadership development. Since her time as an educator, she has worked with various institutions and organizations providing entrepreneurial education and leadership development to women and youth across the globe as a way to drive economic mobility within black communities.

She consults nationally and internationally with SMEs, Corporate bodies, NGOs and Governmental agencies providing fresh ideas and strategic guidance to ensure organizations obtain their desired outcomes. Her unique perspectives and strategies ultimately help organizations, refocus, re-center, and resume with increased efficiency.

In addition to her business and leadership acumen, Nancy is a Global Speaker and uses her voice to drive transformation across communities and organizations. Her versatile speaking profile enables her to empower women, youth, and business leaders across the globe. Whether she is delivering high-quality training or serving as an empowerment keynote speaker, Nancy’s ultimate goal is to leave an indelible impact on her audiences.

Nancy, now serves as the Founding Atlanta Site Director for The Hidden Genius Project. She is excited and feels privileged to have the opportunity to be back in a space that enables her to anchor her efforts in social impact work that directly impacts Black Male youth.


Atlanta Innovation Educator

Perry Irving, Oakland native and OAK3 Hidden Alum, supports The Hidden Genius Project as the first Genius Fellow Educator, and currently as a Innovation Educator. In 2015, Perry joined our Intensive Immersion Program with his twin brother, Paris, where he thrived learning about computer science and entrepreneurship. While in the program, Perry combined his passion for technology and skateboarding and founded iCreateSkateboards, which helps skaters design their own skateboards.

After completing the program, Perry continued to support The Hidden Genius Project as a Youth Educator for five years, leading technical workshops to young people and adults throughout the Bay Area, including national and international Catalyst Programs. He also participated in our inaugural Alumni Venture Seed Fund program in 2020. In his spare time, Perry enjoys skateboarding and creating content videos.


Atlanta Support Services Manager

Shyanne is a mental health and wellness professional with a Masters Degree in Social Work from Clark Atlanta University. Throughout her career, she gained experience working with diverse and underrepresented populations both domestically and internationally.

Shyanne spent four years traveling throughout the Middle East and South East Asia working as an educator and studying various wellness practices such as healing through self-expression. Later she built a brand around art and wellness called Happy Vibes Brand to support the communities that she worked in. Today Shyanne develops programs, initiatives, and curriculums centered around wellness, communication, and DEI and is the Support Services Manager at The Hidden Genius Project.


Atlanta Support Services Intern

Alia Wells is a distinguished alumna of Xavier University of Louisiana, having successfully attained her Bachelor's degree in Psychology with the academic distinction of Summa Cum Laude in May 2023. She also received honors in Philosophy and Sociology. Throughout her undergraduate journey, Alia demonstrated a committed focus on impactful research endeavors aimed at advancing and facilitating healing within the Black community. Her investigations delved into critical subjects such as natural hair discrimination and the pressing issue of police brutality.
Now, fully prepared for the next step in her professional journey,Alia eagerly assumes the role of a Support Service Intern. Her unwavering passion revolves around providing essential assistance to Black families within her community. In alignment with this profound ambition, Alia is both enthusiastic and privileged to contribute her efforts at The Hidden Genius Project, where she is primed to make a meaningful and transformative impact.


Atlanta Innovation Educator

Meet Deandre, a bright and passionate Innovative Educator at the Hidden Genius Project. Holding a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Georgia State University, Deandre has always been captivated by the world of technology. With a deep love for all things tech, he is on a mission to inspire and empower male black youth to harness the power of programming and develop exceptional character traits.
Guided by a passionate dedication to transforming lives, Deandre works hard to equip young minds with the skills they need to shape a brighter future for themselves and their communities. Through the Hidden Genius Project, he combines his expertise in computer science with a genuine passion for mentorship, fostering a strong sense of purpose and determination in the hearts of the next generation.



Chicago Site Director

Eric A. Steen, Jr. holds a Master's degree in Science of Education and Social Change from the University of Miami and a Bachelor of Arts in English and minor in Business Management from the University of Missouri. He has experience in education as a Director of College Counseling at Noble Charter Schools, an English/Reading Teacher at Miami Central Senior High School, a Co-Founder/Executive Director at MyStudentBlueprint, a Teach For America Corps Member in Miami Dade Region and as an AmeriCorps Member at Thomas Jefferson High School in Los Angeles. In these positions, he has gained expertise in curriculum development, college counseling, teaching, digital platform development, academic and social support for students, and literacy.


Chicago Innovation Educator

Hannah is the Chicago Innovation Educator at The Hidden Genius Project. She is a dedicated professional hailing from San Diego, CA, with a passion for education and creative pursuits. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Loyola Marymount University and a Master's in Education from the University of San Diego. With five years of experience as an elementary school teacher, Hannah has proven her commitment to nurturing young minds and fostering a love for learning. Outside the classroom, Hannah finds solace in engaging in various artistic endeavors, such as painting and jewelry making. In her free time, she also enjoys cooking and cherishes moments spent with her mom and sister. Through her multifaceted interests and unwavering dedication to education, Hannah continues to make a positive impact in the lives of her students and those around her.


Chicago Support Services Manager

Born and raised on the East coast, Candace has spent the last decade working with Black youth in Chicago helping them to explore and realize their post-secondary dreams. Candace holds a Masters in Social Work from The University of Chicago Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy and Practice, with a focus in Social Service Administration and Community Schools.

As Chicago’s Support Services Manager, Candace seeks to create spaces that are inviting, nurturing and affirming for Geniuses and their families. By honoring each Geniuses’ inherent talents and gifts, Candace hopes they leave The Hidden Genius Project confident in their ability to lead and transform their communities. Her passion for working with Black youth was ignited while teaching entrepreneurship in the cities of Sekondi and Takoradi, Ghana as an undergraduate student at Babson College. This experience helped her to realize the importance of imparting invaluable skills in business creation and ownership on our Black young people in the States.

When not working with Geniuses, Candace enjoys spending time with her husband and 2-year old son, Kenzo. She enjoys moments of solitude by Lake Michigan, shopping for new candles, and exploring the many donut shops the city has to offer. She is a proud Posse New York alumnae and Surge Institute 2023 fellow.


Chicago Innovation Educator

Yusuf Seward is an Innovation Educator for the Chicago Site at the Hidden Genius Project.
Embracing a passion for technology from a young age, Yusuf Seward embarked on his coding journey at the age of 12. This fascination soon evolved into a compelling path that led him to participate in national and international robotics competitions by age 13. As the lead programmer, he played an instrumental role in strategizing, designing, and programming competitive robots.
Amidst his early technological explorations, he discovered a knack for drone racing. By 15, he had achieved the honor of being ranked as the 2nd best drone racer in Illinois, a testament to his technical acumen and penchant for innovation. This culminated in my crowning as an esports drone racing champion, combining my love for technology, sports, and competition.
In parallel to his hands-on exploits, he has also been engrossing himself in the study of Machine Learning. Yusuf aims to augment his comprehensive understanding of programming and harness AI's power to create innovative, impactful solutions.
As a Full-Stack Developer, he carries a holistic approach to problem-solving, engaging both ends of the technology spectrum. His journey has taught him the interconnectedness of all technological aspects, and he's able to integrate this understanding into creating robust, efficient systems.
Always eager to learn and improve, Yusuf is excited to embrace future challenges and contribute to giving back to the community as an Innovation Educator for the Hidden Genius Project.


Biff Wayne Clark

Managing Partner,Coefficient Technologies

Board Chair

Kilimanjaro Robbs

Director of Platform Partnerships, UserTesting

Board Treasurer

Jason Young

Co-Founder and CEO,Mindblown Labs

Adriane Gamble Armstrong

CEO, Juma Ventures

Kenneth Englund

Principal Advisory Services Technology Sector, EY

Kevin Hart

Senior Vice President,Kaiser Permanente

Megan Holston-Alexander

Partner, Andreessen Horowitz Cultural Leadership Fund

Erik Moore

Founder and Managing Director, Base Ventures

Kenneth Grimes

Senior Investment Strategist, Bessemer Trust

Jonathan R. Bass

Partner, Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass, LLP

Christina Gutierrez Iguodala

Advisor, F9 Strategies

Tarrazzia Martin

Senior Advisor, Enterprise Technology Planning and Change Management, Department of Housing and Urban Development

Darrell Edwards

Youth Educator


Founder and CEO,
Mindblown Labs
Harvard College

Visual Storyteller, Product Visionary, and Product Designer, Facebook Singapore
Western Washington University

Chief of Staff at Refound
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Director of Platform Partnerships
Duke MBA and Northeastern Eng. Alumnus

Executive Coach & Co-Founder,
Harvard College


Hear about the humble beginnings and early vision of The Hidden Genius Project by watching the Ron Brown Scholar Program’s Salon Series featuring our inspirational Founding Executive Director, Brandon Nicholson (2001), and our two dynamic and fearless Co-Founders, Jason Young (2000) and Tracy “Ty” Moore II (2002).