My name is Niya Yates and I am a senior at Whitney Young Magnet High School. I have been studying Japanese at Whitney for three years and I plan to continue studying it throughout college. I won second place at the Japan Bowl, a state-wide Japanese academic competition for the State of Illinois. Using my computer science skills, I have also developed a website as well as a video game.


This summer, I joined the Greenwood Project’s 6-week Fintech Coding Boot Camp. During this program, I learned to code in Python with the programming software called Jupyter Notebook. Also, Greenwood gave me guidance on how to write a resume, create an elevator pitch, and how to present myself in a corporate setting. I got to put these soft skills to use when I went on companies Lunch and Learn events with Greenwood. During the Lunch and Learn events, we visited companies such as Braintree, IDEX, and Chicago Trading Company, and I had the opportunity to network with the employees of these companies. As a result of the Greenwood Project, I learned a lot about job titles I didn’t even know existed, and I received lots of guidance for my future.


Greenwood has had a strong impact on my life because, without the Greenwood Project, I would not have the exposure to the corporate world I have today. Through the Greenwood Project, I was able to be exposed to the financial technology industry, which was completely new to me, and connect with people I would never have been able to network with outside of this program.

I had taken a computer science class before, but during these six weeks, I learned a lot about programming as well as many other things that my classes didn’t touch on. Overall, I am really grateful that I got this opportunity to learn things about the financial industry that aren’t taught in high school. Being a part of this program helped me realize to first, be grateful for the opportunities that present themselves to me, and second, when opportunities present themselves to me, run with it and don’t stop until I reach the finish line.