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Nadiyah Johnson, founder of Jet Constellations, wants to create more diversity in Milwaukee’s tech industry.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

A Milwaukee tech incubator has announced a new partnership with Marquette University and the opening of an application for its next STEAM & Dream session.

STEAM & Dream is the brainchild of Nadiyah Johnson, the founder of Jet Constellations and the Milky Way Tech Hub, who is on a mission to diversify the tech industry. The program supports K-12 students and young adults interested in science, technology, engineering, arts and math, or STEAM.

The program has already led two virtual sessions, the first of which outlined the basics of computer science, while the second focused on learning the computer coding language of Python.

Working in concert with American Family Insurance — which pledged $50,000 to the program last year — as well as Connect Business Consulting, session three of the program will involve students learning “about the different phases of product development from the startup lens,” including customer interviews and pitch sessions.

Johnson noted she gave out more than 100 computers during each of the first two sessions; this time around, she is expecting to give out 60 to the 80 students who have signed up so far.

Session three, which is open to any Wisconsin student from middle to high school, will also involve a student pitch competition before a panel of judges who are part of the hub; the winner will have a chance to win $1,000.

Students can apply to session three and request a computer through this form. Submissions close October 10.

The Milky Way Tech Hub has grown its connections, despite the pandemic.

Johnson has continued to hold weekly meetups (virtually) and she recently announced that the Hub is partnering with Marquette University to help adults of more diverse backgrounds — women, Black and Latino tech developers — improve their product development.

Entrepreneurs of six tech startups from the Milky Way Tech Hub will work with Marquette seniors to “build out” their ideas, or bring them to a minimum viable product.

“I’m very excited to be moving into this new session where we are focusing on product development entrepreneurship,” Johnson said. “Ownership is so key in the black and brown community as it relates to the tech industry.”

The link to participate as a startup in this partnership is available here.

Contact Talis Shelbourne at (414) 403-6651 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @talisseer and message her on Facebook at @talisseer.

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