Josue De Paz2022-2023 Columbia University Scholars
CEO & Co-Founder, First Tech Fund
MEXICO & UNITED STATES
Josue De Paz is working to break generational cycles of poverty by lowering barriers to education and providing holistic interventions for underserved and first-generation students. As students struggled to adjust to remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, Josue founded First Tech Fund (FTF) to close the digital divide faced by under-resourced students. Working with 50 volunteers since May 2020, FTF has provided free computers, internet access, mentorship, networking, and workshops to over 135 low-income New York City high school students. FTF received over 1,000 applications from students across New York for participation in their programs. After FTF’s first cohort year, Josue found that the computers and other technology that his organization provided not only supported the students themselves–but also their siblings and extended family members, enabling them to participate in remote schooling and access social services, employment, and health resources.
Originally from Cuernavaca, Mexico, Josue is a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient. Prior to founding FTF, Josue worked at Girls Who Code, an organization that works to close the gender gap in technology, where he managed partnerships, outreach and strategy across the southern United States. Josue was a 2021 Coro Workforce Systems Leadership Fellow and a 2022 Council for Urban Professionals Fellow. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Santa Clara University.