Updated: Mar 19, 2021
Through The Futures Fund, many different lives come together to create an amazing program. From trainee to business owner, the women of the Futures Fund showcase a multitude of talent, drive, and of course, a willingness to showcase that tech isn't just for men.
Madeline Bonton is proof that you’re never too young to pursue your dreams.
The 15-year-old website and mobile application developer is a sophomore in high school and is already making plans for her own business.
Bonton took her first coding class at 10 years old. She attended a Black Girls Code workshop in Memphis, Tennessee where she was introduced to the basics of coding. The following year, she joined Futures Fund Tech Academy and expanded her skills in coding and website development.
In 2019, Bonton placed 2nd in the Junior Achievement Big Pitch competition where she and a team of high school developers presented an app called Uproot Market as part of a work-study program through Futures Fund.
The app connects residents in food deserts with local farmers providing fresh fruits and vegetables. Farmers and other vendors can create an account and upload information on fresh produce they have available. From there, users can browse the options closest to them, view recipes and other tips on how to use fruits and vegetables.
Through the app, they hope to help solve Baton Rouge’s food desert problem and make fresh produce available to all communities.
In the future, Bonton plans to launch the Uproot Market app and start her own business where she builds custom websites for clients.
“The pandemic has shown the importance of having a side hustle and having skills in the tech field,” Bonton says. “Everything is online. The future is tech.”
Teressa Calligan loves learning.
After receiving her associate’s degree in computer science and bachelor’s degree in information systems, she decided to pursue her master’s in cybersecurity.
Calligan is a full-time cybersecurity specialist at Entergy. When she’s not working, she is learning new skills, looking for new training courses, or studying for classes.
She’s not just a student in the technology industry. Calligan is also a Futures Fund Tech Academy and Coding Boot Camp lead instructor and helps improve the digital experience curriculum.
“When you learn the fundamentals of coding and programming, you can automate anything,” Calligan says.
Her proudest career accomplishment was being accepted into a cybersecurity role and earning her master’s degree in cybersecurity. After she earns her degree in May, she plans to continue expanding her knowledge and technological talents.
“Don't be afraid to accept the challenge of being in a predominantly male industry,” Calligan says to women. “That's the fun part. Personally, I love challenges. If it's your passion and you wake up in the morning saying ‘I want to be a programmer,’ don't allow any challenges you may face stop you from going after it.”