Maximizing Opportunities: My P-TECH Journey

Radcliffe Saddler, A graduate of the P-TECH Program shares his IBM career journey and his experience on the program. Check out his inspirational story!!!

Radcliffe PTECH.jpg

Early years

Born in Kingston Jamaica, I am the oldest of three boys.  My family moved to New York City when I was   six in search of employment opportunities. My parents did the best they could and provided for my brothers and I. My parents valued education and ensured me and my siblings performed to our optimal level at school. Growing up, my love for technology came from playing video games.  I also wanted to achieve a career that would enable me to help ease the burdens that my parents faced. Eventually, my family and I stumbled on an amazing opportunity called Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH).

 

A taste of excellence

During the summer before my 9th grade year, I constantly reviewed my acceptance letter to P-TECH because I wanted to create a personal brand for myself. Seeing my parents struggle through poverty inspired me to maximize this opportunity. While attending P-TECH, I wanted to prove to myself that I could finish the model before the projected timeline of students finishing their associate’s degree at the end of year 14. In the 9th grade I studied hard and passed the necessary exams to reach P-TECH’s requirement of a student being college ready. I enrolled in my first college class the summer of my 9th grade year at the age of 15. After excelling in that college course, I noticed more college courses began to enter my schedule.

Challenges and gratitude

The biggest challenge I experienced while going to P-TECH was living in my environment. The communities that I live and went to school in are not constructive in regards to fostering positive growth in a child’s upbringing. In my East Flatbush/Brownsville community, I remember gang violence, parks being unsafe for kids to play and healthy food choices not being easily accessible being apart of the oppression I faced. Overall, the general neglect by the city of these communities bothered me. I remember one afternoon traveling from school to my home my student pass was malfunctioning. I decided to seek help from a MTA operator who was working in the booth at the time. I waited in line until it was my turn to speak. I told her my problem and she refused to help me. She told me to leave the line and find some other way to get home; when I refused, she started calling me disrespectful. It wasn’t until Mr. Leung, a teacher from my school, saw that I was in distress and came to aid me that the operator eventual helped fix the problem. I remember feeling grateful to the staff of P-TECH because they were concerned with students overall well-being.

Maximizing opportunities

Having graduated P-TECH, I feel like the most valuable lesson from this model was maximizing opportunity. I valued the moments when IBM mentors came to the school to share their knowledge with us. Also, I grew tremendously during my IBM internship during the summer after my junior year. These experiences gave me another outlook on life. I began to believe that by excelling in this program, not only would I better myself, but I would prove to the nation that kids from low economic communities are worth investing in. P-TECH made me feel like I would escape the confines of my socioeconomic standings. I want more P-TECH’s to be open to give kids a chance of having a better life.

Proud to be an IBMer

The skills I learned at P-TECH have helped me in my role today at IBM. My coding skills are an asset to me because I use them when designing websites and other solutions for my team. In the future, I want a career where I can combine my love for technology and work on health solutions that drives an impact in society. Toward that end, I will attend Baruch College this fall as a policy affair major, while continuing to evolve in my role as an IBMer.

Radcliffe is an Associate Analyst with IBM US

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