Beyond learning how to write code and make new friends, Miles Paré (Oakland Cohort 7 Hidden Genius Alum) shares that the most important thing he gained from The Hidden Genius Project “is to be creative and let my mind run free, while also thinking of ways to provide for my community.” And Miles did exactly that during his time in our Immersion Program, as he created [Accessible Gaming Studios]—a tech business venture dedicated to supporting people with special needs. Now a rising freshman at Hampton University majoring in computer science and cybersecurity, Miles is committed to taking his passion for tech to new heights and is excited to leverage his skills to build his own cybersecurity firm.
How did you first learn about The Hidden Genius Project?
I first learned about The Hidden Genius Project from my older brother, Desmond Paré (OAK3 Hidden Genius Alum). Our mom signed him up for the program when he was going into high school and he really enjoyed it. So when I was preparing to start high school, my mom signed me up for the program in hopes that I would have a great experience as well — and she was right. Now I’m on my way to Hampton University to study computer science and cybersecurity this fall.
What was your experience in the program like?
I really enjoyed learning about the basics of computer science and how to build apps and websites, while also creating a bond with my brothers in my cohort. I was taught about what goes on behind the scenes in technology such as video games, web pages, and apps. Learning all of these concepts was really cool and I was even able to further my understanding of tech after completing the program
Before joining The Hidden Genius Project I was a very closed-off person and didn’t really socialize with others. I was able to open up to my peers by just putting myself out there and joking with my brothers. Whether it was going on business trips or building our websites with my cohort, I was able to be more of myself and become more comfortable connecting with others.
Describe the app you designed during your time in the Intensive Immersion Program.
While in the Intensive Immersion Program, I created a website that aligned with my business idea — Accessible Gaming Studios — which was to create a game controller for people with special needs. My motivation for creating Accessible Gaming Studios came from my sister who has special needs.
The design of Accessible Gaming Studios was similar to Discord, but was much more user-friendly for people with disabilities. Instead of playing a game with a normal controller, a user could interact with a game using a downloadable app that would allow them to connect to any game console through a central hub.
How is The Hidden Genius Project different from other mentorship or training experiences that you have been involved in?
The Hidden Genius Project has taught me a lot about technology and giving back to the community. Giving back to the community is important to me because I believe that people that have resources or are in a fortunate position, should use their resources to bring up those less fortunate. I believe we should support one another because it demonstrates a sense of empathy and compassion towards others. It allows us to connect with other human beings in a way in which we gain a better understanding of the struggles some people face, which can build a sense of unity.
What specific skills learned in The Hidden Genius Project have been most beneficial for you?
I’d have to say that the top skills that I’ve taken away from my experience in The Hidden Genius Project are problem-solving, communication, leadership, and the ability to adapt.
I know all of these skills will help me in college especially since I’m going to school out of state. Being so far away from home, I know I’m going to have to adapt to my new environment and communicate with my peers so I could build meaningful relationships. Also, problem-solving and leadership will also play a big role in my journey through college. I say this because there might be instances where I have to make meaningful decisions and take the lead during certain situations that lead to positive outcomes.
What was the most important thing you gained on a personal level (development, relationship, community, etc.) from participating in The Hidden Genius Project?
The most important thing I gained on a personal level from participating in The Hidden Genius Project is to be creative and let my mind run free, while also thinking of ways to provide for my community.
Before joining The Hidden Genius Project, I never really thought about ways to impact my community in a positive way. I thought it would be a nice thing to do but I never really took time to figure out the What? and How? During and after my time in the program, I figured out how I wanted to impact my community in a positive way, and eventually the world. Creating a cybersecurity business for people and businesses is what I want to give back to society, so people can feel safe online as technology continues to advance.
How do you think your path might have been different if you hadn’t participated in The Hidden Genius Project?
If I wasn’t in The Hidden Genius Project, I probably wouldn’t be so into technology until I got to college. I would have not had the experience of seeing the real world through a creative and entrepreneurial perspective. Learning about what goes on behind the scenes of everyday devices like computers and phones is very interesting, and to imagine how such small code can program major things is mind-blowing. Honestly, computer science and technology fascinate me because it has the ability to solve complex problems and makes life for us humans a whole lot easier.
When you imagine yourself before starting The Hidden Genius Project, what’s different between that version of you and the current version?
Before The Hidden Genius Project, I wasn’t very interested in making new friends. All of the friends I had I knew for a very long time, so I wasn’t open to creating new friendships.
The current version of myself is completely different as I’m very open. Now I like meeting new people and I tend to put myself out there a lot more by starting conversations with peers wherever I go. I also tend to speak up more and voice my opinion rather than just sit back and be passive.
In what ways have you remained involved with The Hidden Genius Project since completing the 15-month Intensive Immersion program?
I’ve been a Youth Educator since I graduated from the program. This summer I was able to support the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Track by teaching Geniuses how to create their own AI tech projects. I like working at The Hidden Genius Project as a Youth Educator because I’m able to plant the seed and inspire the younger generation to have an impact on technology and their communities.
When helping our Geniuses solve an intense problem or even talk to them about my experience in The Hidden Genius Project and in life, it makes me feel good. It makes me feel like I can be someone they can look up to for help or advice. It’s really a special connection.
If you could talk to yourself just before you applied, what is one thing you would say?
This program is going to change you in an amazing way.
What words of encouragement do you have for future Geniuses?
Your worth is not defined by external achievements or material possessions. Your true value lies within your unique essence and the love and kindness you share with the world.