Announcing Our Career Coach, Laura Thorne!

Hack Upstate
4 min readJan 28, 2021


We’re very excited to announce that Laura Thorne has joined our team as our Career Coach for our second cohort of Careers in Code!

Laura will help to ensure that all of our students are prepared to enter their job search with confidence and competence. She’ll help them with everything related to the job search process to prepare them to land an internship or entry-level position upon graduation of Careers in Code. Given her experience as an environmental Career Coach, this role was a perfect fit.

Read on to learn more about Laura and be sure to give her a very warm welcome!

Tell us a little about yourself

I am so delighted to join the Hack Upstate team! I have been coding since 1993, taking the first ever programming courses in my high school in C++. At home, my dad worked for IBM so we had “the latest technology” and I created an all about the 80’s website in original HTML with AOL. Later I worked for a global telemarketing company that was headquartered in Dublin, Ireland. I moved there in 1999 to install and manage a CRM that I had programmed for the US for the European sales team.

I moved back to the states in 2001 and decided I wanted to work outdoors so I went after a degree in Biology. I got a job with a county-level environmental government agency in Tampa, Florida where I advanced quickly in my career in great part due to my ability to code. I rewrote database backends to produce near-real time reports, connected field data with lab data, and developed multiple databases to streamline data collocation, workflows, and reports. Switching to an environmental career, I naturally gravitated to GIS, becoming our resident GIS expert, teaching GIS and mobile data collection to other agencies, and starting a GIS internship program on site.

Fast forward to 2015, I resigned from my environmental science career to start Laura Thorne Consulting, The Environmental Career Coach, and Laura Thorne Photography, all of which are alive and well today.

I moved from Syracuse to Tampa in 2017.

How did you get involved with Hack Upstate / Careers in Code?

Networking! When I moved to Syracuse I utilized what some of my coachees have dubbed “The Syracuse Method” of linking up with at least one person every week for a meet and greet over coffee. Within about 6 months, I was being introduced to people I’d already met and had a wait list. I met Jesse Peplinski after a meet and greet I had with someone at CenterState CEO who recognized the potential connection.

What aspect of Careers in Code are you most excited about?

So many things but if I have to choose, I’d say meeting the cohort! I love helping my coachees recognize their value, build confidence, and take the next steps on their journey. I know that I’ll be making some new connections that will last a lifetime.

What are you most looking forward to in the Syracuse tech scene?

Learning! I am most excited to be able to position myself back into the world of coding and to see what everyone’s working on. I’ve got a notion to start a tech company of my own one day so this is a great place to start that journey.

What do you do outside of Hack Upstate?

Outside of Hack Upstate, I am a career coach for environmental career seekers, a strategy and execution business consultant, and a co-host on a newly launched podcast called EPR (Environmental Professionals Radio). I also host a community of amateur photographers on Instagram and am a co-host of a book club called the High Impact Reading Challenge that is the first initiative of a publishing company that I am officially launching later this year.

Within the community I am a training partner with MACNY, a resource pool expert and mentor with The Tech Garden, a volunteer with MercyWorks, and OnPoint for College, a member of WISE, a member Women TIES, a member of the Creator’s Lounge, a member of the Public Arts Task Force, and a member of the Onondaga Art Guild.

For fun, I love to travel. I’ve visited over 23 countries and 49 of 50 states. I love RV’s and tiny homes. I lived in an RV for 4 years and went on a cross country trip from Tampa, FL to Yosemite, CA in my 2000 Fleetwood named Lucille with my two cats. I love music of all kinds, as well as photography, and riding horses.