Careers in Code — Congratulations Cohort 3!

Hack Upstate
12 min readSep 19, 2022

We’re very proud and excited to announce the graduation of the cohort 3 students enrolled in our Careers in Code program!

Our capstone presentations and graduation ceremony was held on Thursday, September 8 @ the James Commons Campus Center at Le Moyne College.

Immediately following the capstone project presentations was the graduation ceremony where each student received a diploma.

Every one of these determined students continued to engage in class even when it transitioned from in-person to virtual, and went on to graduate from Careers in Code. We’re so proud of our third cohort of students and can’t wait to see them take the next step in their software development careers!

You can view their capstone presentations and graduation ceremony here and some photos here!

Our Graduates

A Careers in Code capstone project is a personal endeavor by each student to showcase their skills by building a full-stack application of their choice which they’ve been working on over the past 24 weeks. Students demonstrated their projects, explained the complex problems and challenges they addressed, and celebrated the new skills they have learned through their journey.

Here are some of the highlights of our graduates’ capstone projects:

Larry Goodman — Watch presentation

Project: ‘Where’s The…’ Shopping List Reorganizer

The problem? Grocery shopping…Larry’s project focused on trying to minimize the amount of time spent while grocery shopping in order to save time and money. Larry created an app that reorganizes your grocery list based on the location of items in the specific store you’re shopping at, so that shopping is made more effective. The app knows exactly where each item in the store is located and, no matter which order you input the groceries in, it will organize based on numerical and alphabetical order.

Larry’s app used Postgres to handle the database, Express to handle the network, React which bolstered the visual aspects on the user’s end, Node.js to create a local server, and then APIs to access data from the stores. He hopes to continue to develop the visual aspects of the interface, add more stores, add autocomplete searching, indoor mapping, and a mobile app. Larry says he also plans on having more quality family time after graduation.

Zach Hafner Watch presentation

Project: ‘Streamline’ a Streaming Service Search Engine

Zach’s project is based on the fact that, as streaming becomes more popular, and more and more streaming services are created, it has become difficult to find where to find movies that you’re looking for. Through his search engine, users can look for the title of a movie and then see a dropdown list of the streaming services which host said film. By clicking on the streaming service you wish to use, you will be brought directly to that movie on the services website.

His search engine uses a third party API in order to access the data he used for his project. He hopes to soon be able to add television shows to his search engine as well as certify his website in the future.

Christi Harlow — Watch presentation

Project: ‘Christi’s Favorite Things’ Lifestyle/Shopping Website

Christi wanted to create a photo grid of eye-catching products that she hand picked to share with the community. The website contains a variety of products ranging from food, to bath bombs, to jewlery and much more. The website has an elegant look and brings users to the individual sites where you can purchase the product easily.

She created her database with PostGres via Beeper Keeper and used node.js when connecting the front-end to the back-end. She also used Express and React router. The front-end she completed with Javascript and the interface via React using the html styled by css and bootstrap. To make the product grid look like brickwork, she used masonry.js.

Doug Roussin Watch presentation

Project: Shop-Faster app

Doug’s project aimed to cut down time spent in the grocery store without cutting back and forth through the store. His app maps the shortest route through the store in order to get everything on a grocery list in the most efficient way possible.

Before building his app, Doug built a tool to overlay a grid system onto a store floor plan, create aisle and “obstacle” titles, upload grid titles to the database, enter inventory and write them to the database, and test pathfinding algorithms.

In the future Doug hopes to improve the pathfinding algorithm, incorperate real-time databases, add a refactor map component, and tweak the logo.

Wayne BoydWatch presentation

Project: ‘PurePlix’ Art Promotion app

While many popular applications today promote people, Wayne wanted to create an app that promotes art instead. He saw that there were no specific art geared sites, and–as an artist himself–he wanted to make a platform where people could share their art.

Wayne used AWS to store the files in the backend. He used Beeper Keeper to update the uploaded files. In the platform, you have the ability to create an account and upload photos of your art to share with other users of the platform.

Scotyia Bain — Watch presentation

Project: ‘Nore Syracuse’ a Black Business Directory

Scotyia knew that Syracuse was home to a plethora of amazing black-owned businesses, but she found that more often than not these businesses weren’t highlighted. If you knew the right people you could find these businesses on Facebook, or you could find them via the City of Syracuse, but not many people know about this. So, Scotyia wanted to create a new platform.

On the platform, business owners can submit information to be added to the directory on the website. As a website user, you can view the directory and find out the names of the businesses, their address, the owner, and–if applicable–the website.

Scotyia hopes to grow the community and then organize the database by category in order to make searching easier for website users.

Stephanie Nuñez Stephanie’s Kitchen

Project: Stephanie’s Kitchen

Stephanie’s love for food, cooking, and sharing recipes led her to design an online cookbook based on her experience making food as a hobby. After having lost her taste and smell in January as a result of COVID-19, Stephanie mentioned that there have been challenges when it comes to updating her recipes and continuing to cook, but she plans to continue to update as often as she can.

On the platform, dishes are organized by categories such as ‘oven,’ ‘rice,’ or ‘sandwich,’ and when a user selects a dish they can then see the recipe. Though it’s been a long, challenging journey with coding, Stephanie said that she’s excited to continue updating this project as she begins her career as a software developer.

Nicole Broadnax Watch presentation

Project: Syracuse Impact

Nicole knew that one of the biggest problems for poverty in Syracuse is a lack of available, online resources for education, mental health and employment. Because there is a lack of awareness of the resources that do exist, many people in Syracuse who are dealing with poverty and food insecurity don’t know where to turn.

On Nicole’s website, users can explore different services such as Mental Health, Family & Social Support, Education, and Employment & Income. Within each of these tabs you can select a specific resource and visit their official site or leave a review for other users to see regarding that specific service. The website also has a search function that allows users to filter out specific types of services they may need.

Nicole hopes to add scheduling services to the app soon as well as create a mobile application and write blog posts to keep the community informed about resources.

Shantina Perez Watch presentation

Project: Pink Banana

While shopping for her three daughters, Shantina continually found that the ‘girls’ section of stores rarely was home to items that reflected her daughters’ bright, scientific, entrepreneurial, boss-like spirits. So, she decided to create an app that acts as a one-stop shop where girls can find clothing, accessories, and other items that truly feel like ‘them.’

The website breaks down clothing and accessories by different categories, such as ‘cargo-style pants’ and ‘gloss.’ With the help of her daughters, Shantina designed a site that can appeal to users of all ages, but that is especially accessible to young people who are looking for easy and affordable shopping.

Shantina hopes to continue to update the site’s database and add search functions, as well as maybe adding a section for some daily affirmations so the site can also be more than just for merchandise.

Tiffany Williams Watch presentation

Project: Blue Phoenix

Tiffany noticed that there are an overwhelming number of different mental health sites, all of which use very clinical terminology that may be confusing for people seeking mental health help. She wanted to create an app that not only gives information on how to seek help, but also offers suggestions and resources for at-home methods of dealing with mental health issues, such as breathing exercises or yoga.

Users can navigate to various tabs on the site that share resources for mental health services as well as some breathing exercises and links to other at-home self care activities. She plans on developing the back-end more so that users can create an account and save certain resources for easier access.

Danielle Floyd

Project: The Safe Child SiteWatch presentation

As a parent, Danielle wanted to create an app that brought together resources for parents to manage and research the safety of their children’s environment, as well as create a space for parents to discuss best practices.

Danielle used HTML, CSS, Vanilla Javascript, API, Postgres, Node.js, Express, and Cors while she was building her app. The app allows users to research schools, neighborhoods, and the professionals that your children interact with every day. Additionally the app gives parents a platform to discuss child safety.

Danielle plans on continuing to update her site and integrate more APIs and data so that users can treat the site as a one stop shop for researching their childrens’ safety.

Corey Mitchell — Watch presentation

Project: React.js Calculator

Corey spent a lot of time working on a capstone idea that was designed to bring together the local skateboarding and artist community in the form of a black-owned e-commerce/networking site. However, due to personal circumstances, he decided to switch focus for the end-of-cohort capstone with the goal of a smaller-scale project in mind.

Corey’s calculator project was a testament to his hard work and persistence when it came to understanding some React and HTML concepts that he struggled with during the program. Corey hopes to continue to move forward with his skateboarding brand idea and further develop his skills as a full-stack software developer.

Strange Maeweather Watch presentation

Project: Black Beaute Directory

Strange realized that within her community people were constantly looking for different types of Beautification services, but that there was no directory for these people to go to. So, she wanted to create a website where all of these beauticians could be featured and found easily. Her website also contains a contact page where businesses can reach out to be featured.

On her website you can select from different beauty categories and find the businesses listed that fit the category you are looking for. You can access these businesses’ websites via Strange’s app. She hopes to add more to her database as well as continue to develop the categories so that they are broken down even further into more specific categories.

Thank You Partners

Careers in Code would not be possible without the tremendous amount of support from our partners.

Le Moyne College’s ERIE 21 Initiative

Led by Le Moyne College, the ERIE21 Initiative capitalizes upon the strengths of key educational, business, and public sector partners seeking to make inroads against the City’s persistently high rate of poverty while simultaneously addressing the workforce needs of regional employers seeking employees who possess software and computational skills more closely aligned with the innovation economy. ERIE21 delivers early intervention and provides ongoing support to students in high school and college to strengthen the region’s capacity to develop a pipeline that can generate homegrown talent to feed the growing demand for computational, software and engineering talent.

CenterState CEO

CenterState CEO is an independent and forward-thinking economic development strategist, business leadership organization, and chamber of commerce; dedicated to the success of its members and the prosperity of the region. It is located in a vibrant and globally connected region recognized as a place where businesses thrive and people prosper.


Commonspace provides the right sized and right priced urban apartments and working space, for a more social and more productive experience. We believe our differences make us unique, and our commonalities are the key ingredients for a community. So, they create living and working spaces that cultivate a collective metropolitan experience while embracing the needs of the individual. We’re fortunate to partner with Commonspace to provide venue space for our students.

Working Solutions

We’re fortunate to partner with Working Solutions to provide laptops to our students. For our second cohort, we provided all of our students with loaner laptops with the intent to return them after program completion. After partnering with Working Solutions through the AAI (American Apprenticeship Initiative) and WANTO (Women in Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Occupations), we were able to provide our students with laptops they can use to continue their journey in software development and for entry-level software developer opportunities.

Thank You Instructors, TAs, and Subject Matter Experts!

Our instructors, TAs, and subject matter experts work hard to ensure a quality classroom experience for our students. We want to thank Max Matthews, Karin Thorne, La’Tonia Mertica, Mel Saffold, Kaitlyn Warboy, Ryan Gaus, Nathan Evans, Ariel Murphy, and for providing classroom instruction, teaching assistant support, mentoring, and learning resources for our cohort 3 students.

Thank You Team!

  • Jesse Peplinksi — Partner
  • Doug Crescenz — Partner
  • Max Matthews — Lead instructor, responsible for our program curriculum as well as providing support to and meeting with students who have questions.
  • Jason Scharf — Student Success Representative, who helped our students navigate challenges they faced inside and outside of the classroom.
  • Laura Thorne — Career Coach. Laura has helped our students prepare for their job search with confidence and competence. Learn more about Laura here.
  • Max Gerlach — Program Manager/Marketing Specialist, who provided overall program support, applicant support, created social media posts, and engaged in general operations activities.

Thank You Guest Speakers

We want to give a huge thanks to all the guest speakers who volunteered their wealth of knowledge and information to our students in order to help them learn more about the technology industry as well as careers in the technology field.

Thank You Mock Interviewers

Our career coach, Laura Thorne, has done an incredible job facilitating mock interviews with local employers to give our students real experience and feedback. We want to say a huge thank you to all of our mock interviews for taking the time out of their busy days in helping to interview our students!