By Yvette Scorse, Communications Associate
Our two new staff members have a couple things in common: they both have very cool names – Iyana “Izzy” Turner and Bock Szymkowicz (pronounced Sim-kuh-witz) – and they both bring joy and a special spirit of service to the Byte Back team.
Izzy and Bock joined us this summer and have already bonded with students and helped certification students get the resources they need to succeed. Welcome to both of them!
Izzy can be found daily at the front desk at Byte Back IT Academy on Benning Road. She’s originally from Detroit and has been in the Washington, DC area for one year. Before coming to Byte Back, she worked with children at Playworks. She says about 99 percent of the children she worked with were on free or reduced lunch at school and many were hungry outside of school hours. She realized just how much poverty is affecting the District.
“It was one thing to help feed kids,” she said about keeping snacks for the kids she worked with, “but it’s another thing to help parents improve their standard of living so they can help their kids.” Izzy is passionate about community service and fighting poverty and is motivated to work toward Byte Back’s mission of expanding economic opportunities for underserved people in DC. “I wanted to work with adults to attack poverty from a different angle,” she says, showing her excitement to be part of the Byte Back team.
Outside of her work at Byte Back, Izzy is interested in Japanese and Korean culture. She earned her bachelor’s in psychology, with a minor in Asian studies and a focus on Japan. She studied abroad in Hikone-shi, Shiga-ken, Japan.
Bock Szymkowicz, Career Development Specialist
Bock started at Byte Back just a couple weeks ago as the career development specialist. He’s already started working with advanced certification students on resume building, interview skills, and using social media profiles wisely in their job hunts. He’s currently planning regular workshop days called Job Labs, where all Byte Back students will be able to get employment help from him.
Bock is originally from San Francisco and came to Washington, DC about three years ago. He served as an AmeriCorps member and employment lead at LIFT-DC. There, he worked one-on-one with people in the community to help them find employment, housing, education, and other critical resources. He even used to refer clients to Byte Back for PC for Beginners classes while working at LIFT. He was drawn to Byte Back because “one of the biggest issues people in poverty have in applying for jobs is the digital divide,” he says.
Bock is passionate about working with his community, wherever he is living. While in college at the University of the Pacific, he helped connect students with volunteer opportunities in Stockton, CA.
Besides enjoying community work, Bock calls himself “a bit of an anime nerd.” He also has an eye for classic fashion (since he used to work at the GAP) – that just might give you an extra edge at your next interview.