Dr. Kortney Ryan Ziegler is a remarkable individual whose work spans multiple disciplines and has had a significant impact on various communities. Since graduating from UC Santa Cruz in 2003, he has founded four apps and platforms that address social problems head-on and provide solutions to them.
One of his most impactful creations is Trans*H4ck, a two and a half-day hackathon held in Oakland that invited transgender hackers and developers to come together and create software. This platform highlighted the trans tech community, which is often underrepresented in the field. Although the hackathon is no longer active, its impact is still felt today.
Ariel Spaces, another one of Ziegler’s platforms, is a virtual events platform that hosted educational webinars. In 2016, Ariel Spaces partnered with the White House to provide digital education to 20,000 students from underserved communities.
Appolition is yet another innovative creation by Ziegler. This app allows users to set up automatic payments to fund a person’s bail. In its first year, Appolition attracted 8,000 users and raised around $140,000, securing the release of 45 people nationwide.
Most recently, Ziegler launched GoodMoney (2021), also known as WellMoney – “Get money in emergencies. Give money when you can.” It is a community app that allows users to request money for emergencies like housing costs, car repairs, health needs, groceries, and more.
The Conceptually theme of Ziegler’s work can be summed up as being a social engineer who increases representation, prosperity, and community through technology. He has won multiple awards for his work and has been recognized as an influential figure in various publications.
Ziegler attributes his work to his personal life experiences growing up in Compton under difficult circumstances as a black transgender man raised by single women. His time at UC Santa Cruz played a crucial role in shaping him into who he is today.
Of all his platforms, Ziegler says Trans*H4ck resonated with him the most because it was his first foray into entrepreneurship within the technology industry without any prior connections or experience working professionally in tech companies.
Despite facing numerous challenges throughout his life due to lack of resources or societal barriers based on race or gender identity,Ziegler encourages current UCSC students looking to make significant impacts in their communities: “Just do it.” He believes that individuals who attend UCSC are already aware that their presence is doing something good for California and our country as future intellectuals.
According to a news from source (https://news.ucsc.edu/2024/02/kortney-ryan-ziegler.html)
Ziegler’s story serves as an inspiration not only for aspiring entrepreneurs but also for anyone seeking to make positive changes within their communities using technology as a tool for social justice advocacy.