Zach Peterson, Digital Navigator at Computer Reach
Today I would like to introduce you to Zach, our dedicated Digital Navigator who plays a pivotal role in our mission to empower the communities of Western Pennsylvania through comprehensive training in digital skills, providing them with essential computer devices and tech support. Zach’s experiences and dedication encapsulate the essence of our digital inclusion projects. Zach is currently serving as the Digital Navigator assigned to our Fayette County PA Digital Navigator Project.
Please meet our digital navigator, Zach Peterson, in his own words:
“My name is Zach. I’ve lived in Pittsburgh for seven years, and have worked many jobs in the city, including in restaurants, delivery, tech, and nonprofits. In my time at Computer Reach, I’ve met just about every kind of person that calls this c
ity home and learned about their interests, aspirations, and struggles. I’ve met a lot of good, smart, and hard-working people who make this city and region run, but who are constrained in a thousand different ways when they seek to better themselves, their families, and their communities.
I’ve always had a passion for learning. I have always had an even greater passion for teaching what I know. I am a firm believer in the power of knowledge. While knowledge alone, without action, can solve nothing, I believe that action without knowledge can take you nowhere. Unfortunately, access to knowledge is not evenly distributed; those disadvantaged in other ways also tend to be disadvantaged in their access to information and the skills necessary to use it.
We only need to look at the digital divide for an example. The digital revolution brought about massive changes to the world, increasing our access to information a millionfold; yet more than a third of the world’s population does not have reliable Internet access, including more than a quarter of people in the United States—the country where the Internet was first created and the home of some of the world’s largest and most well-known tech companies. And as the world has shifted to greater dependency on the Internet—now required for most job applications, banking services, housing, healthcare, and government benefits—those without access to the Internet and without the skills needed to make use of Internet access find themselves shut out of more and more of the world.
While providing Internet access and computer skills training alone will not solve the many inequalities of the world, I do believe that these things can be an important part of empowering people in their personal, professional, and social lives. I am passionate about sharing any knowledge I have that can be useful or interesting, and I have seen first-hand how it can change people’s lives. I have been able to help students complete their coursework. I have been able to help people pay their bills, and people with limited mobility save difficult trips to the store by ordering online. I have helped parents connect with their children for the first time in years using video calling over the Internet.
In doing these things, I have seen people’s confidence in their own abilities grow as they have learned more about what they are able to do in the world. At the end of the day, that feeling of personal empowerment and human connection is what I most want to provide as a digital navigator.”