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From Foster Care to PhD

Intel Computer Clubhouses help kids achieve their dreams

Did you know that 100 Intel Computer Clubhouses are located in 20 countries around the world? Over 50 percent of members visit their Intel Computer Clubhouse every day, while 85 percent visit at least weekly. One member, now a mentor, is paying it forward.

Haitian-American Nancy Douyon

As Haitian immigrants to the U.S. with limited education, Nancy Douyon’s parents had problems providing for their children. Nancy spent her high school years in foster care in eight different homes. Fortunately, she found some stability at the flagship Intel Computer Clubhouse in Boston, Massachusetts.

At the clubhouse, Nancy acquired technical skills she still uses today, but even more important, the clubhouse provided a space “where my heart, soul, and spirit found strength to believe in myself,” she says. She was surrounded by mentors who were graduate students or PhDs—people who “looked like me and inspired me to accomplish tremendous things in my life. It was very clear that if you were a member of the clubhouse, college was definitely in your future.”

Intel Computer Clubhouses pay it forward

With scholarship support—including an Intel Computer Clubhouse to College Scholarship—Nancy graduated from Suffolk University. An Intel Graduate Fellowship helped her complete a Master of Human-Computer Interaction at the University of Michigan in 2011. Her college years included two internships at Intel in Hillsboro, Oregon. “Intel is like my family,” she says. “I know I’m going to be OK because a corporation believes in me.”

Today Nancy is reunited with her parents, consulting on human factors engineering projects, and considering PhD options. “I am passionate about technology, multimedia, and people. I want to do something that combines all three equally.” She spends a great deal of time mentoring young people at Intel Computer Clubhouses. “By changing one life, you’re impacting multiple lives,” she says. "Someday," she adds, “I‘d like to head up a computer clubhouse in Haiti. It could probably change not just individuals, but a whole country.”

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