ITA Seniors Fatoumata Barrow & Ryan Jackson Stories Celebrated

Recently, two Information Technology Academy (ITA) students were featured on the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) website for their accomplishments. Both Fatoumata Barrow from East High School and Ryan Jackson from La Follette High School shared how their participation in the ITA Madison program helped them succeed and gain admission to UW-Madison.

Fatoumata “Fatou” Barrow’s story “A Voice to Change the World Around Her” highlights how valuable a diverse community is to her and how she surrounds herself with a wide variety of friends to ensure her views aren’t limited. She also participates in clubs like Sisterhood, Black Student Union and International Club. The daughter of immigrants from Gambia in West Africa, she strives for academic success to make her mom proud. Her 3.74 GPA and acceptance to seven colleges including UW-Madison likely accomplishes that. She credits the support of ITA and and another precollege program called AVID in helping her stay on track and dream big.

In addition to the MMSD website, UW-Madison Precollege & Youth Programs featured her in the blog post “Information Technology Academy gives student a welcoming community and a path for her future.” In her own words, Fatou explains how the iMac ITA provided her during the program was the original motivator in applying to ITA, but the technology and life skills are what she ended up finding most useful. In addition, she explains the value of having college students help with ITA instruction especially her coding instructor who was also from Africa. “It was nice to see someone like me already on the path to success. It was an inspiration,” Fatou notes in the blog.

The MMSD article, “Standout scholar Ryan Jackson”, tells the story of how Ryan went from seeing school as an obstacle to associating academic success with life success. Beyond his 3.7 GPA and acceptance to UW-Madison, he’s known for his graciousness and community engagement. Ryan was selected to go to the Multicultural Student Achievement Network (MSAN) Student Conference, held in Boston last October. The conference brought students across the nation to hear from panelists, speakers and activists as well as apply their own critical thinking in discussions about improving problems in their districts.

Through ITA, Ryan has gained additional leadership skills and widened his community beyond Madison. At the Senior Residential Experience, he got to build connections with students from the northern programs of ITA Oneida and ITA Lac du Flambeau. “It was very fun,” says Ryan. “We had this big get-together to get to know students from up north, and clubs and fraternities came and had presentations to get us ready for dorm life next year.”

Including Ryan and Fatou, 19 ITA seniors have already been admitted to UW-Madison during the early decision period and 29 more await news during the regular decision period. Included in those already admitted are the first four ITA Lac du Flambeau students to be directly admitted.


Photos by the Madison Metropolitan School District.