Tiffany-Louisa Ibok was born in Nigeria where computer access was limited. Three years ago she and her family came to the United States. Now in her second year at Orange-Ulster BOCES, the Cornwall High School senior is excelling in her computer programming classes.
“I’ve always been interested in computers since four of five,” Ibok said. “I wasn’t able to start school at the time, so my mom always took me to the library with her. I picked up an interest in computers there. Once I knew I could do it as a career, computer programming was my obvious choice.”
Even though her family owned desktop and laptop computers, due to frequent power outages, they weren’t easy to use. Ibok found it easier to access children’s programs and sing along with You Tube videos at the library. There she’d practice sketching using the Paint program and her typing with Microsoft Word. Google became her go-to search engine to look up information on the Internet.
When Ibok came to Cornwall she saw the career and technical school as an opportunity to learn what computer programming entails. Since last year she’s developed programs, designed mobile applications, created web sites, and worked with robots.
Ibok has maintained a cumulative average of 95 or better, qualifying for induction into the National Technical Honor Society, opening her to scholarship opportunities and other benefits.
Ibok is also a member of the Star Team, which helps other students log in and operate computers, as well as teach them how to use specific programs or surf the web.
“It’s really cool. It’s always been my goal to help people. That’s why I went into computer programming. I really like the idea I can make programs that can help people.”
As a member of the Future Business Leaders of America, Ibok can give back to the community by donating gifts to children during the holidays, collecting coats, or participating in cancer walks.
The CTEC Society for Acceptance, which promotes the Dignity for all Students Act, organizes poster contests and raises awareness of bullying and discrimination against the Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, Transgender, Queer community.
Looking ahead to college, Ibok has already received a scholarship to attend the New York Institute of Technology, but she’s also applied to the Rochester Institute of Technology, New York University, her top choice, and other technical schools.
Ibok plans to major in computer science or software engineering with the hopes of one day finding a job in Silicon Valley. One day she hopes to bring back, to Nigeria, what she’s learned in an effort to improve the country.