Meet Ian Brock, The 14-year-old Chicago Native Introducing Computer Science To Underserved Communities
By Rachel George
Chicago native, Ian Brock, is changing the world one community at a time by providing motivation, entrepreneurship, and computer science to underrepresented individuals.
At 14 years old, Brock is a pretty busy teenager. Outside of school, he partakes in normal adolescent activities like playing basketball, video games, hanging with friends, and reading impactful books that would inspire him personally and professionally. A few of his favorites are Dr. Dennis Kimbro’s A Black Choice and Napoleon Hill’s Think And Grow Rich.
Brock has dreams of attending Harvard University and seeking further knowledge to help take his global technology business to newer heights.
“To get more kids interested, I think we have to show them how fun it could be,” he said in an interview. “Programming computers is the new language and you’re never too young to start. Knowing how to program a computer is like a superpower.”
As the co-founder of Beyond the Cookie and the non-profit Dream Hustle Code, the self-proclaimed “Nerd with Swag” is working with local schools and organizations to introduce the world to the next generation of future coders, scientists, and founders. He was recently honored for his hard work and leadership efforts at the 2019 BET Awards last Sunday.
Ian Brock’s introduction to the tech industry came from a mention of coding from his favorite former basketball player, Chris Bosh. However, though Brock attended one of the top public schools in Chicago, he still did not have computer science courses to partake in his passion. In 2013, Brock began hosting his own coding hour at his school and others. After word got out around town, Ian and his family knew they had to go bigger.
To help further their goal of offering kids in underserved communities access to computer science, Ian and his parents launched “the greatest lunchroom of cookie hustlers America’s ever seen,” Beyond the Cookie company.
“We wanted to be self-sustaining. We know that grants come and go and we didn’t want the kids we intended to serve to be disappointed when those resources were exhausted,” his mother, Dulcevita said in an interview. Ian helps to create and implement sales strategies, and his father Michael works on financial concepts and handles operations, while mom whipped it up in the kitchen for her tasty cookies.
For his nonprofit organization and upcoming book Dream Hustle Code, Brock has conducted over 35 interviews, taking notes from celebrities, financial experts, tech entrepreneurs, and CEOs like Everette Taylor, Dr. Dennis Kimbro, Will Packer, Steve Harvey and Startup Grind founder and CEO Derek Andersen.
Last year, in front of 7,000 founders, educators, and innovators, Brock became the first African American teen from Chicago to speak at Startup Grind’s global conference. He believes integrating computer science into math, science, and art classes for the purpose of brainstorming will offer endless opportunities for the next generation of entrepreneurs and changemakers. He uses social media to post inspirational messages and memes for other young changemakers, while still paying respect to active young entrepreneurs like Khalil Greene, Yale’s first black Student Body President.
Growing up in Chicago exposed Brock to the impact computer science education can have, especially in underserved communities full mostly of minorities and women. He hopes this will serve as an outlet for kids to move forward and build their own version of success.
This summer, he plans to take a group of kids to Silicon Valley to visit the Google headquarters and get a broader vision of the endless possibilities for their future.
Salute to Ian Brock and his family for uplifting and inspiring our next generation of innovators in Chicago and around the world.