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UNI MIS Alumnus Recognized for #MakingADifference in Des Moines

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When Antonio Kioko (MIS `98) was growing up in Kenya, his mother was very active in her community. While Kioko didn‘t appreciate his mother‘s involvement at the time, he credits her for his deep desire to have an impact on his own community — Des Moines — which he has called home for 14 years.

Kioko, who graduated from UNI with a BA in management information systems, is assistant director of information technology at Principal Financial Group in Des Moines. He was recently honored with a Community Vision Award by the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institutewhich recognizes efforts of leaders who are taking action in the community.

Kioko has taken a lot of action since relocating to Des Moines in 2004. He joined the Leadership Institute, an organization that motivates participants in areas of community awareness and involvement, in 2014, and is now the chair of the organization‘s curriculum committee. He was also the chair of The Technology Association of Iowa's Diversity and Inclusion Committee, which focusses on the lack of racial and gender diversity in the tech industry. 

A strong area of focus for Kioko‘s community efforts is in young people, especially those who are underprivileged. He and good friend Dave Kessler, one of the top IT professionals in Des Moines, Kioko says, started a program called Tech Journey in 2012, an educational camp to help students with limited resources pursue careers in technology.

Kioko and his wife, who also work at Principal, have two children, both of whom attend Central Academy, a centralized educational program that draws kids from all over the Des Moines metropolitan area. At school events, Kioko noticed that there were many talented kids in the program who might not have access to the same types of resources as his own kids. "When I look at my kids and see the resources they have," Kioko says, "I wanted to do something for kids who don‘t. My kids have networking available to them. They see people with good careers. They have technology at home."

"So we co-founded Tech Journey because we wanted to find talented kids with limited resources and inspire them to tech classes and tech careers." Kioko and Kessler approached the Des Moines schools because they have the talent pool they were looking for. "They were very willing to work with us," Kioko says.  

Their first three-day Tech Journey camp was in 2013 with the goal of providing mentors, teaching classes, and raising money so that they could give laptops to the participants. "We recruited 22 students and 50 volunteers, got used laptops and used the facility at Central Academy," Kioko recalls. "After that one, we said, OK, this is good. And so we do it every year, each year adding 20 more kids, so it‘s growing," he says. "We make a five-year commitment to each student, providing mentors and a laptop to each of them, plus the three-day camp in the summer."

The first Tech Journey class graduated from the program this year, Kioko says. "Our retention rate is very good." Four of the students were selected to a program called Future Ready Iowa, which helps prepare students for careers. "Our students have a very good technical background because of the camp," Kioko says. "They have access to scholarships, and we‘re working on obtaining internships for them."

Kioko graduated from UNI in 1998. He later moved to Des Moines to work for Principal, which became the launch pad for his dedication to community service that was first instilled in him by his mother.


 

Posted on 29-Nov-17


  






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UNI MIS Alumnus Recognized for #MakingADifference in Des Moines

Mentoring-Next-Generation.png

When Antonio Kioko (MIS `98) was growing up in Kenya, his mother was very active in her community. While Kioko didn‘t appreciate his mother‘s involvement at the time, he credits her for his deep desire to have an impact on his own community — Des Moines — which he has called home for 14 years.

Kioko, who graduated from UNI with a BA in management information systems, is assistant director of information technology at Principal Financial Group in Des Moines. He was recently honored with a Community Vision Award by the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institutewhich recognizes efforts of leaders who are taking action in the community.

Kioko has taken a lot of action since relocating to Des Moines in 2004. He joined the Leadership Institute, an organization that motivates participants in areas of community awareness and involvement, in 2014, and is now the chair of the organization‘s curriculum committee. He was also the chair of The Technology Association of Iowa's Diversity and Inclusion Committee, which focusses on the lack of racial and gender diversity in the tech industry. 

A strong area of focus for Kioko‘s community efforts is in young people, especially those who are underprivileged. He and good friend Dave Kessler, one of the top IT professionals in Des Moines, Kioko says, started a program called Tech Journey in 2012, an educational camp to help students with limited resources pursue careers in technology.

Kioko and his wife, who also work at Principal, have two children, both of whom attend Central Academy, a centralized educational program that draws kids from all over the Des Moines metropolitan area. At school events, Kioko noticed that there were many talented kids in the program who might not have access to the same types of resources as his own kids. "When I look at my kids and see the resources they have," Kioko says, "I wanted to do something for kids who don‘t. My kids have networking available to them. They see people with good careers. They have technology at home."

"So we co-founded Tech Journey because we wanted to find talented kids with limited resources and inspire them to tech classes and tech careers." Kioko and Kessler approached the Des Moines schools because they have the talent pool they were looking for. "They were very willing to work with us," Kioko says.  

Their first three-day Tech Journey camp was in 2013 with the goal of providing mentors, teaching classes, and raising money so that they could give laptops to the participants. "We recruited 22 students and 50 volunteers, got used laptops and used the facility at Central Academy," Kioko recalls. "After that one, we said, OK, this is good. And so we do it every year, each year adding 20 more kids, so it‘s growing," he says. "We make a five-year commitment to each student, providing mentors and a laptop to each of them, plus the three-day camp in the summer."

The first Tech Journey class graduated from the program this year, Kioko says. "Our retention rate is very good." Four of the students were selected to a program called Future Ready Iowa, which helps prepare students for careers. "Our students have a very good technical background because of the camp," Kioko says. "They have access to scholarships, and we‘re working on obtaining internships for them."

Kioko graduated from UNI in 1998. He later moved to Des Moines to work for Principal, which became the launch pad for his dedication to community service that was first instilled in him by his mother.


 

Posted on 29-Nov-17







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