Off the top of your head, can you name one Latina in the STEM field? A Valley program is changing that.
They are a group of young girls ages 11 to 14. They go by TECHNOLOchicas.
"The program is to get Latinas involved in STEM careers," said Sandra Gonzalez the program manager at Chicanos Por La Causa community center.
This free class is held at the Chicanos Por La Causa community center in Phoenix and other sites in the Valley.
Gonzalez says that by 2026, only two percent of current (computing) positions will be held by Latinas.
"Computing in the United States is the fastest growing sector," said Gonzalez. "With a projected 1.1 million job opportunities by the year 2024."
TECHNOLOchicas is not only to raise awareness for young Latinas to find careers in technology, but also recognize innovation among other people from diverse backgrounds.
"The interest I think initially is maybe stand-offish because there wasn't the education background to girls, they (Latinas) are unrepresented in this field," said Gonzalez.
These girls not only get inspired through this program, but they also put their technology skills to work.
"We may have them create some coding, but it's also tied in with presentations and videos," said Gonzalez.
Vianney Vazquez, who is a freshman in high school, attends the program and was at first hesitant about taking the computer science class.
"This was like my obstacle to do something new, it's like my own challenge," said Vazquez.
Initially, she thought computer science was for other people and not her, people who only enjoyed math. She is thinking more about pursuing a career in the field because of the class.
"I actually see myself like one of those people that I have seen doing some micro cards, computer science and web pages," said Vazquez.
She enjoys the unity the class has and she knows that as a young Latina, she has the perseverance to go forward.
“We don't have many that we could say she's a TECHNOLOchica, she's in a STEM career," said Gonzalez.
This group of young girls is another pathway and a sign of hope for Latinas wanting to pursue STEM.
To get more information about TECHNOLOchicas, please click here.
Other locations of classes in the Valley:
Centro de Recursos para la Familia en Guadalupe
5834 E Calle Santos Bravo Guadalupe, AZ 85283
Contacto: Renato Ramos 480-491-2301 firstname.lastname@example.org
Centro Comunitario de CPLC
3216 W Van Buren, Phoenix, AZ 85009
Contacto: Xavier Parra 602-299-4541 o email@example.com