Joe Williams

Occupation: Customer Support Engineer (AppsFlyer)
In 2016, Joe Williams was the first in his family to graduate from college, with the unique combination of a Theatre major and a Computer Science minor from Lewis & Clark College. Beyond his interesting choice of areas of study, there’s an even more intriguing story; as a former foster child, the odds were against Joe ever attending college, let alone graduating. Nationwide, only 3% of students in foster care obtain their bachelor’s degrees.

That’s not to say that Joe didn’t struggle in college. He relied heavily on his advisor, to help get him through some of the dark days. “My advisor helped me a lot through college. Many days I felt like I needed to come back home and deal with family, my advisor encouraged me each time that this was where I needed to be for my future.”

Naturally curious, Joe took full advantage of the internship opportunities available to him during his four years with SRA. His first internship was at the Aquarium of the Bay, where Joe served as a “Graphic Preparator,” illustrating and creating many of the exhibit signage. Joe then moved on to Wells Fargo, with an internship in Corporate Risk, before landing an internship at SF-based Mission Bit, founded by SRA alum Stevon Cook. With Stevon’s guidance, Joe taught a six week course to middle student students on coding in Java for Android phones. The two are still in touch; Joe says that Stevon has been an important influence in his life.

Since graduating, Joe has landed a full-time job at AppsFlyer as a Support Engineer, a position that draws on his technical skills background as well as his natural gifts with people, and has enabled him to travel globally. It’s also allowed Joe the chance to give back to SRA by offering internships and career guidance to current SRA students, as well as attend our annual kick-off retreat in the Santa Cruz mountains.

“I’d like to be at the point where I’m helping at my capacity. I definitely want to be a part of every retreat that I can—I loved getting to be on the other side of the table from the kids, and really fun to get to see the other side of the table, too!”