The Geek Foundation is an idea realized by native Springfieldian Krista Peryer after many years of noticing the lack of minority representation versus the amount of employment opportunities available within the tech industry. A former childhood Math Olympiad and “geek”, Krista grew up with an interest in math, technology, and design. Upon college enrollment, she found it difficult to find a program suited to her interests in employment within the tech industry. After trying some online courses in computer programming, she realized she learned best in a hands-on environment, but the coding bootcamps she was interested in would require relocation to other states while attending their months-long courses; an option not available with children. Krista was introduced to Maranda Provance, Director of Engineering at local digital studio Mostly Serious, through a former co-worker of Maranda’s, and they immediately shared a common interest to make tech education more accessible to our community. Maranda obtained a college degree in Computer Science but had noticed the lack of diversity while attending, with only one other female in her graduating class. This common interest of making the tech industry more inclusive led to opening The Geek Foundation. “Geeks”, after all, are people who are very passionate about a particular subject and are often associated with programming and technology, thus becoming the foundation for helping others find their passion in tech.
Since opening in late 2015, TGF has grown to include a dedicated and passionate team of volunteer educators, board members, and sponsors, and by partnering with local organizations and schools, our organization has already served hundreds through a variety of our programs offered. When she’s not turning her passions into a cause, Krista enjoys being a charity cosplayer, writing for Make: Magazine and Raspberry Pi’s HackSpace Magazine, making geeky things out of yarn and fabric, and serving on boards within the community.