Interview: Kevin Johnson

By Rob Zwetsloot. Posted

If you’re part of the community for Raspberry Pi in North America, and have been to one of the many events the Raspberry Pi Foundation North America (RPFNA) has organised, you’ve likely got Kevin Johnson to thank. If you’ve ever met him, you’ll know he loves doing it, and we love him for it.

“So my official title is Club Programs Coordinator,” Kevin tells us. “What that means is I help develop engagement strategies and also implement them to keep our youth programs community (Code Club, CoderDojo, Coolest Projects) in the USA fully immersed in all of the free resources we have. It involves a lot of writing, which I love because my background is in creative writing, so I write monthly newsletters and blogs, I design seasonal competitions for young people to participate in, I try to maintain our presence on social media, and a bunch of other things. I’m truly a wearer of many hats!”

What did you know about Raspberry Pi before joining?

Full transparency, I did not know much about Raspberry Pi prior to joining the Foundation because my introduction to tech was mainly focused in Adobe Creative Suite programs like Photoshop, Illustrator, Premier Pro, etc. I was in a multimedia academy (CMMA) in high school, so I dabbled a little bit with coding, but not enough to know about the different hardware out there. My knowledge of Raspberry Pi came when I discovered the job listing and after reading through the Code Club and CoderDojo blogs, I was immediately hooked. To see such a small device have such a large impact on people all over the world, especially people from different socioeconomic backgrounds, I had to have the job. Fast-forward two years and here I am, still loving every minute!

You’ll see Kevin helping out at just about every event in the US, and some elsewhere in the world!

What are some of your favourite moments with the Raspberry Pi community?

I had a blast co-hosting last year’s Coolest Projects USA event that we held in Santa Ana, CA at the Discovery Cube Orange County! I love the energy that young people bring to any space and in that space the energy was at an all-time high. Also, who hasn’t dreamed of being a talk show host?! If you can get on a stage and keep a group of young people entertained and laughing, it’s a great sign that you’re doing alright in life. I have to also mention the few trips our team here in the USA have taken to Cambridge to visit the Foundation headquarters; those have been some of the greatest moments of my life! Being part of a global community, learning about other cultures, connecting with colleagues on a more personal level is just amazing. It means the world to me to work for a global organisation that finds importance in bringing its employees together not just to work, but to also play and have fun.

Coolest Projects USA is a huge event which Kevin not only co-hosted, but he was also one of the organisers

What can you tell us about upcoming events?

We’re really excited about this year’s Coolest Projects event, especially because this will be a global event where we will hold one event for all of our participating regions. Here in the USA, we were lucky to be able to have the event in-person right before the lockdowns started last year, so while we did get to experience that, we did not get to experience the event online like everyone else. Collaborating with the global team on the upcoming Coolest Projects Online has birthed some really awesome ideas that we can’t wait to share with everyone come early June when this year’s showcase happens!

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