Hack the Hood believes in highlighting the young people who have brought their skills and passions to our program to inspire others. We'll be profiling a different young leader each month to share their journey through Hack the Hood and beyond, with Chris being our March feature.
1. What made you decide to join Hack the Hood (HtH)? When did you start with HtH?
I attended a job fair at the Oakland Public Library. I forgot how I found out about it, but I do remember walking around and running into Hack the Hood’s table. The “$600 + free laptop” definitely caught my eye, but I was convince when the HTH staff said that they’ll teach me html and css for web development and that we’ll be making websites for small businesses.
I’ve always been interested in technology. Ever since I was a kid, everyone in my family would go to me for tech support since I enjoy figuring out ways to fix their problems. So I joined the Summer 2017 Bootcamp and my experience just opened my eye and made me excited about going into tech.
2. What did you learn that was unexpected? Was there anything that surprised you about the program?
What surprised me was how diverse the students were in the program. I think that’s great because it exposes Oakland youth to the tech world and showing them they have the opportunity to be in that space, no matter what their background is. I also loved that we got to learn about entrepreneurship.
3. What has your journey post- Hack the Hood looked like?
After Hack the Hood, I started my first year of community college, studying business administration. During my second semester, I applied to Year-Up with my brother after we heard that our cousin went through it. I told Year-Up that I was interested in cybersecurity, so I was part of the 6 month Learning and Development program. I’m currently in the first month at Visa as their cyber security intern and I’m excited to see how my journey develops.
4. What do you do for fun?
I guess you could call me a fish-keeper. I have a bunch of fish - goldfish, koi, tetra, guppies, basically anything you could find at Petco. Taking care of them keeps me occupied, and helps me destress. Sometimes I come home really tired, but I remember that I have to feed my fish. Looking after them, in a way, gives me peace. I also Like to hang out with friends and do typical weekend activities, like chill and play pool. Apart from that, I dedicate time to learn more of the cybersecurity work I’m doing at Visa.
5. What are your favorite foods?
Currently, my go-to foods are pastas and burritos. My top taco trucks are Tacos El Gordo and Tacos Sinaloa. For pastas, I love going to the Cheesecake Factory.
6. What are three places you enjoy visiting in the Bay Area and beyond?
I enjoy wherever I can see great views in the Bay Area, like Grizzly Peak and the dinos (the cranes in West Oakland). Beyond the Bay Area, I enjoyed Florida, and I would love to go back there again. I would love to travel around the world in general; my top three places to visit would be Hawaii, the Caribbean, and the Amazon.
7. Who are your top music artists?
Right now, my top music artists are Bad Bunny and Gerardo Ortiz. I also listen to oldies/throwbacks, like Ice Cube, Tupac, Snoopdogg, and Eminem.
8. Who do you follow on insta?
I follow a lot of motivational and entrepreneurship pages, like @garyvee. I enjoy looking through my feed and seeing how all the different models can lead to the same success. Feel free to follow me at @chrissnavarro_.
9. Where’d you grow up? What do you like about the Bay Area?
I was born in Mexico and came here when I was 4. I grew up in Fruitvale and just moved to 98th in October. I see myself as an Oakland baby, and I love the Bay Area. There’s never a boring moment. There’s always something happening. You’ve got First Fridays, or you can hang out in Fruitvale for an event, and everything’s walking distance. The hustle and bustle actually makes me feel at peace. That’s what makes me want to stay here in Oakland. I wouldn't trade Oakland for anything else. I want to travel and see different places, but my place to come back to will always be Oakland. I wouldn't trade it for anything.
10. What’s something you’d like to see change in Oakland? What do you want your contribution to that change to be?
I come from a family of immigrants who went through a lot of struggles. I want to be able to help students find resources that can give them better opportunities, while they’re at a young age. I didn’t start to hear about programs like Hack the Hood until the end of high school, and I wouldn’t have known about it if I didn’t go to that job fair. I want to give my hand by going out to my community and provide them with information on places that could help them move forward and set themselves up for success.
11. What do you appreciate about today’s technology?
I appreciate how much we’ve advanced over a short period of time. Not too long ago we had a bulky phone, boombox, camera and computer separately. Now, everything can be found in one device. Now, we’ve made tremendous moves with AI, electric cars, solar panels, etc. to make things more energy sustainable.
12. What type of technology do you wish you had, but hasn’t been invented yet?
I would like to have the ability to time travel. It would be cool to have a special team go into the future and see if there’s anything we can do in the present to prevent bad things from happening.
13. What would be your dream job? What do you want to be when you grow up?
I want to be my own boss. I’m in process of starting a podcast, so I’d love to see that grow to be something really big. I want to be an entrepreneur, sell merchandise, and basically have different income streams to be sustainable and take care of my parents.
Photography by Christine Cueto.
Hack the Hood Blog
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