Zifan Yang ’18BUS / ’18TC

Zifan Yang ’18BUS / ’18TC

Student Profile: Summer Fellowship at the New York City Department of Education’s Computer Science for All Initiative

As a dual-degree student at Teachers’ College and Columbia Business School, Zifan Yang, ’18BUS / '18TC, was able to use skills learned from both schools during his fellowship. Yang worked with the New York City Department of Education’s Computer Science for All initiative, a program created by Mayor De Blasio using $80 million of public and private funding to train 5,000 public school teachers in computer science education over ten years. Yang streamlined the operations of the initiative. Initially, he conducted a needs assessment, and then he developed and implemented a project plan to address the identified areas for systematic improvement.

Yang’s challenge in this role was in navigating the bureaucratic structure of a government organization. On the funding side, since half of the initiative’s funding came from private entities, at times it was difficult to create a comprehensive plan when not all the funds were locked in.

Yang cited his course on Strategy Formulation and Operations Management as being particularly helpful to this role because he had a greater understanding of how systems work and the areas where they can be improved. Yang believes that as a value-driven investor, Columbia Business School has a responsibility to support social and environmental organizations.

Before going back to school, Yang worked as a teacher at UCLA and in China after graduation. He also used his engineering degree to work as a tech consultant. For his major at Teachers’ College, Yang is studying Private School Leadership, where he is learning to pioneer ideas and technological progress in independent schools. After completing his dual degree, Yang hopes to work in a role where he can explore alternative platforms for education as well as learn more about educational technology firms to understand emerging methods for teaching.

By Sophie Drew