Want to trade stocks for free? Yep, there’s an app for that – and AYWS alumnus Joe Binney leads the team that makes it.

As Vice President of Product Engineering for Robinhood, he manages the commission-free stock-trading app for iOS, Android and Web. Prior to joining the Palo Alto-based company, Joe worked for Facebook on News Feed – a job he landed after acquiring a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a master’s degree in computer science from Stanford University.

Joe was a clarinetist with the AYWS for one year, during which he had the opportunity to perform in Carnegie Hall. “It was an insane experience to perform in such an illustrious concert hall as a teenager,” he says.

He appreciates this experience and many others he had during his time with the ensemble.

“AYWS gives you the opportunity to challenge yourself and develop your musicianship. You get to work on challenging repertoire that you couldn’t tackle at your high school—or even at All-State!—and every week you get to meet up with a group of talented musicians who share the same passion for music.

It’s tough to find this kind of experience anywhere else.”

While Joe did not pursue a career in music, he says he learned valuable skills as a member of the group, which have helped him in his profession. “In music, it’s easy to focus on your own part and lose track of the rest of the ensemble, but Dr. Stewart always reminded us to listen to the other parts while we were playing. This skill has helped me become a better listener, which is incredibly important as a manager.”

“I feel like I really got a lot out of my experience in AYWS,” he continues. “Music really stretches you to grow—you develop a sense of discipline, you learn to work with a team, and you find your inner artist. For most of the well-rounded successful people I know today, music has been an important part of their lives. I just made my first donation to the AYWS because I want to help ensure that others have the same kind of opportunity I had!"