SEO Alumni Spotlight
Evin Floyd Robinson
Evin Floyd Robinson, SEO Scholars Class of 2008, President and Co-Founder of America On Tech, has always had the mindset of an entrepreneur. A cup of coffee kicked it into high gear.
Raised in Brooklyn, Evin participated in the SEO Scholars program where he was part of a supportive environment with like-minded and ambitious individuals. He credits his time with SEO for providing the foundation he needed to pursue academic and professional success, and ultimately, to use his entrepreneurial skills.
Evin had no shortage of job opportunities in finance after graduating Syracuse University with degrees in Economics and Communication Rhetorical Studies. His gut, however, was telling him to focus on something else: a career in technology. While many advised against it, claiming that ‘no one turns down a job in finance at JP Morgan to work in tech,’ Evin chose to complete his master’s degree in Information Systems & Technology at Syracuse as a Kauffman Foundation Entrepreneurial Engagement Fellow. Soon after, he accepted a position as a technology consultant at Accenture after leaving the university with a plethora of full-time job opportunities. It was a decision that would shape his future career.
Not only did he become a technologist and work with a multitude of high-powered clients, his stint working in the industry and across various clients opened his eyes to the lack of diversity in the tech field. And contrary to the many articles he had read claiming that the lack of diversity in tech was because of a lack of talent, Evin knew that what talented people of color lacked was access and opportunity.
On a coffee break one day, Evin and his close friend from school, Jessica Santana, also a tech consultant, were discussing how to access high wage and high growth opportunities at the world’s largest IT consulting firms. One thing led to another and, on the back of a coffee shop napkin, Evin and Jessica sketched out the rudimentary framework for America On Tech, a talent accelerator aimed at preparing students for education and careers in the technology field. Evin’s entrepreneurial spirit surged to the forefront.
To jumpstart the program, Evin and Jessica, who met in 2009 as students attending an Ernst & Young leadership conference, leveraged the strength of their own professional networks. They recruited tech professionals they knew, with an emphasis on technologists of color, to serve as program mentors for students hoping to break into the technology field. With the support of their former colleagues and mentors, America On Tech took off, evolving into the highly regarded program it is today.
Now, just six years later, America On Tech has grown exponentially, serving nearly 3,500 students across New York City and Los Angeles. AOT’s mission is to provide educational resources and work-based internships to promote the advancement of students underrepresented in the technology industry. Much like SEO’s vision, a fundamental goal of AOT’s programming is to generate wealth amongst people of color, help close the racial wealth gap, and ultimately, create a more equitable society. Evin’s organization continues to grow, and he believes that AOT’s structure of a ‘deep impact program,’ will continue to help an expanding population of students achieve success in the field of technology.
Evin continues to make a difference in society with American On Tech, however, his work doesn’t stop there. As an SEO alum, Evin understands the value of mentorship, and he has important advice to share with the SEO Alumni Community: Learn how to be your authentic self, always continue learning and absorbing knowledge, and never settle for an environment where you don’t feel comfortable or respected, but instead, seek the community where you are appreciated for your uniqueness and brilliance.