2017 NCWIT Summit – TECHNOLOchicas Update by Alejandro Villanueva

JEFF FORBES: Hi I am really looking forward to this morning here, as you are all hopefully well aware, NCWIT has a history of collaborating and partnering with other change-lead organizations that convene, educate, support, and mobilize advocates of NCWIT’s mission, which is to significantly increase the meaningful participation of girls and women in computing. So one such partnership that has been I think particularly fruitful is with the Televisa Foundation on the production of the TECHNOLOchicas campaign, which aims to empower and aspire Latina girls and women to seek careers in STEM. In here to provide an update on NCWIT TECHNOLOchica Campaign is Alejandro Villanueva. Alejandro is the executive director of the Televisa Foundation, where he oversees programs for Latinos living in the United States. Alejandro holds a master degree in business and has participated in several executive programs from institutions such as Harvard Kennedy School, University of Chicago, Wharton School of Business and Aspen Institute. Kind of hard to get, I mean, he’s doing a lot of education in this into making a big difference as well. In the US, he has been a member of the Board of the Hispanics in Philanthropy and a member of the International Philanthropy Committee at the Council on Foundations. In Mexico, he is a board member of the Mexican Center for Philanthropy and the Paralife Foundation. He is also one of the founders of the Season Network, that promotes a comprehensive reform of the justice system. So please welcome Alejandro to the stage.

ALEJANDRO VILLANEUVA: Thank you, thank you all. It’s really a privilege and an honor to be in this morning here. Thank you so much to NCWIT for being an amazing partner, especially for giving us the opportunity to be here to share very briefly what we’re doing together. I’m a father of two girls. They’re now 10. And probably like most parents since they were born, I’ve been doing my best to provide them with great opportunities in life and I’ve always been very concerned of them being limited by stereotypes, by the lack of inspiration of positive role modeling and by barriers that are beyond their own talent and beyond their own interest. So three years ago, because of another program, I was visiting companies and research centers in Silicon Valley. And I was thinking, wouldn’t it be amazing for my girls to be here and to be inspired and to learn and to not lose their curiosity, their interest in math and science and technology, because what someone else thinks or because they don’t find the right role modeling or the right inspiration to follow. So based on that, we began researching what were some of the challenges that were preventing young Latinas in the US just like my girls, from pursuing from exploring further the opportunities that technology and these team fields offer to people in our society and looking forward. And one of the things that we found was that many of these young Latinas, especially those from under privileged families, had a lack of positive role modeling, had a lack of inspiration of saying oh I can’t be that person. That person is not so different from me. He is not so, her background is not so different from mine. So that opportunity may also be for me. So we began a small pilot group of around 25 girls from middle school from a Palo Alto Community Center that started visiting these companies and Stanford University and other research centers. And you could see in each of their visit the joy, the interest, the amusement that they had when they were talking to researchers and also the other way around. How the head of the future of the automobile lab at Stanford was so engaged with them and so enthusiastic with their energy and their questions and how all these companies really welcome their conversation and the excitement of these girls. We share this idea of doing these groups in some other places, started working with a few of our partners and shared the idea with someone at the White House, with a good friend Alejandro Theca and one morning we received an email saying there’s this group from Colorado that is going to be hosting a meeting in Washington DC. Would you like to come? We said sure, we are all for partnerships and we would love to have a conversation on what we can do together with other people. And you know how sometimes in life there is one morning, one day, one moment that becomes a tipping point in whatever project that you’re doing, that suddenly just becomes an explosion on what you can achieve. That’s how I feel about that cold, January morning in Washington DC, where we arrived to this meeting co-hosted by NCWIT and Google. At the Google offices were several company executives, people from civil society from academia were together championing one cause. The idea that we wanted to inspire and support and provide the means for young Latinas to pursue careers in science and technology. And thank you Lucy and thank you Rothfarmer here for the leadership that you put in structuring that meeting, because out of that came a number of things. Today we are going to show you briefly a video of our new TECHNOLOchicas campaign of our new season for this year TECHNOLOchicas campaign where we are featuring the stories of nine young Latinas that have incredibly successful exciting and very, very emotional stories about how they became engineers or they became connected to a technology career. But beyond that which of course is very important for us and how we inspire young Latinas and their families, a couple of other things that I would like to share briefly this morning. One is that, to go with that campaign, we are also working now in after school program for young Latinas in middle school. It started with seven groups in seven different cities. Then we were able to make a partnership with Lulac and extend that to 20 cities and 22 groups. And now we’re so ultra excited in a new partnership with Intel to bring a huge program for young Latinas in Arizona, and with a particular emphasis in smaller cities and border cities, where there aren’t as many opportunities as we wanted for these young Latinas. And now the last week, we just had a chance to begin the possibility for partnership with the LA Unified School District to work with 50 groups of young Latinas at 50 of their middle schools in LA. So suddenly we are now from seven to almost a 100, working with a 100 groups across the nation of young Latinas, getting themselves ready inspired, developing the skills and the bonding with other girls to become the amazing engineers of the future. Thank you, thank you. And the other great news is that last year and we are really excited about these. We registered to a call from the UN from the United Nations, and TECHNOLOchicas were selected as one of the five finalists in the GEM-STEM Awards which recognized the programs around the world that have the most impact in closing the gender gap within the technology sector. And that I think is a big message for us in terms not of our success, but on our responsibility that this is a huge opportunity for us in the US and in many other countries and we are together with NCWIT, we opt to that. Thank you so very much for this time. It was really exciting to be here and I now leave you with our two minute new TECHNOLOchicas campaign. This campaign has not only this two minute video, but will be featured nationally through Univision in a Spanish version, but you can also see it in English, the nine stories in a short 30 second version but also in one minute versions where you get to meet these amazing Latinas. Thank you so very much.


NARRATOR: You look at the sky and I think I can’t tell the depth and the fact that I can’t tell how far it goes for the sky, it makes me think how vast can space be.

LATINA WOMAN: Technology has no barriers and you can create whatever you want. It’s like magic, but real.

LATINA WOMAN: I first discovered I like technology, when I took a High School chemistry class.

LATINA WOMAN: Going up as a bilingual kid writing in English was something that was a little bit tough for me, but science and math those were topics that I really could understand.

LATINA WOMAN: Studying technology has given me an idea of how the world works. I feel I’ve been able to understand more how I can make an impact in the world and society around me.

LATINA WOMAN: I’m very excited to do new technologies with my students because I know that they will be the ones to change that technology in the future.

LATINA WOMAN: I wanted to be a part of a community that empowers other young Latinas to create new technology and all these exciting fields.

LATINA WOMAN: Seeing all these great women out there that are similar to myself, the one core thing that brings us together is that we want to help other young Latinas be exposed to science and technology.

LATINA WOMAN: Engineering has been typically the career that we hear about especially for women, but we don’t know that it’s not what you want to do until you try it out.

LATINA WOMAN: IT is super fun. You can make anything happen and all you need is just passion, and we want to learn something that’s new.

LATINA WOMAN: I’m computer science major.

LATINA WOMAN: I’m a sales insights manager.

LATINA WOMAN: I’m an engineering

LATINA WOMAN: I’m a Field Engineer in NASA.

LATINA WOMAN: I’m a teacher in Spanish technology.

LATINA WOMAN: I work at Microsoft as a program manager.

LATINA WOMAN: I’m a chemical engineer.

LATINA WOMAN: I’m studying technology at Archimedia.

LATINA WOMAN: I work as an English at Qualcomm.

LATINA WOMAN: And I work for NASA JPL on the Mars Curiosity Rover as a Mission Lead.

LATINA WOMAN: If you have the willingness to achieve amazing things, so we created to dream. You are the perfect person for technology.

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