On October 3, 2014 the OjoOido Team was privileged to spend an inspiring day of discussions regarding the state of Latina women in the STEM field at Google in Silicon Valley.
On October 3, 2014 the OjoOido Team was privileged to spend an inspiring day of discussions regarding the state of Latina women in the STEM field at Google in Silicon Valley. The conference, put on by the incomparable Dr. Angelica Perez-Litwin and her Latinas Think Big organization, gathered a number of impressive Latina innovators across fields for an exciting day of panel discussions, speaker presentations and interactive breakout sessions. Throughout the day of empowering talks and discussions, Latinas from all sectors were permitted the unique opportunity to collaborate with one another and connect to other Latinas pursuing similar or other exciting ventures.
This Latina summit proved to be an effective opportunity to discredit existing misconceptions regarding Latina’s capabilities as professionals in the STEM arena and leaders in their chosen line of work. As noted by Dr. Perez-Litwin in her opening remarks, Latinas are defying and disrupting the status quo, creating their own media, launching their own companies and developing new methodologies. As such, this forum was a day (and the start of a much larger movement) to celebrate Latinas as “independent thinkers” and offered the perfect platform to showcase Latina’s innovative thinking.
Head of Multicultural Marketing at Google, Eliana Murillo, highlighted the fact that Latinos, as a group, adopt technology faster than any other demographic. Our community’s reach and market impact is real and being noticed. With an estimated 1.2 trillion in annual buying power, Latinas involvement in guiding and leading this growth is at a pivotal tipping point. By 2060 30% of students will be Latino, noted by Dr. Frances Colon, Deputy Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary of State at the U.S. Department of State. Yet, the lack of proficiency among Hispanic students in math and science is a hindrance to their participation in the growing STEM career fields.
As fervently requested by Dr. Colon, we must encourage STEM careers among our Hispanic students to maintain a competitive edge. Currently, Latinas representation in engineering positions and the larger tech workforce is notably under 10%. How can we change these figures? Start with visibility. As poignantly articulated by Dr. Colon: “Latinas are not seeing enough of you. If they can’t see you, they can’t be you…they need to see you.” The Latinas Think Big Innovation Summit was an exceptional opportunity for visibility into Latinas making waves in their STEM careers. An important start, but for greater visibility and, more importantly impact, our Latina and Latino leaders need to have sustainable and scalable visibility.
This is where OjoOido is making strides to fulfill this need with its OjoOido Intergenerational Latino Role Models. OjoOido’s Intergenerational Latino Role Models not only showcase Latino Talent in a diversity of fields and endeavors, but provide tangible examples of what can be achieved both professionally and personally through individual goal setting, time management and prioritization. All part of OjoOido’s driving mission to improve the academic lives of Latino youth in the US. By providing tangible Latina Role Models, such as Sabine Harrington, a 2013 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania who is currently cultivating her STEM career by pursuing a Master’s of Physiological Sciences at the University of Arizona in Tucson, OjoOido strives to meet both Dr. Perez-Litwin’s and Dr. Colon’s call to action. OjoOido’s multimedia curriculum supplements our Role Model’s impact with core study skill habits training so that we can simultaneously tackle the Hispanic student’s lack of proficiency in math and science, for example. To effectively encourage and prepare greater Latina student participation and access in the STEM field it is imperative that Latina students be equipped with at least a basic understanding of critical thinking and strategic planning.
With sincere gratitude, OjoOido thanks Dr. Perez-Litwin, her team at Latinas Think Big, and Google for inviting the OjoOido Team and all other attendants to this incredible day of thought provoking talks, collaborative interactions, and inspiring moments.
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