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November 21, 2022
As Hispanic Heritage Month (HHM) ends, it is important to recognize that while the Latinx community has made incredible contributions to computer science, they are severely underrepresented in the technology field, making up just 5% of all computer science professionals. The barriers that underpin this statistic start in the K12 years, where high schools made up predominantly of Latinx students are half as likely to even offer computer science courses.
The disparity of Latinx representation in computer science education is relevant to both students and their educators. Only about 9% of all computer science teachers are of Hispanic or Latinx ethnicity in the United States. The disparity of access for Latinx students can only be tackled by intentional investments in the resources educators and classrooms need to bring these dynamic concepts to life.
As part of the Foundation’s commitment to expanding inclusive computer science access for all, we engaged in several activities throughout HHM that we would like to highlight below:
Latinx Educator Maker Lab with Hispanic Heritage Foundation and KID Museum
In partnership with the Hispanic Heritage Foundation and KID Museum, the Foundation launched the “Latinx Educator Maker Lab: Making CS Possible” program which is designed to support an increased investment in Latinx educators, with a focus on digital skills, tech equity, and CS/maker education in the Latinx community. KID Museum will convene professional development workshops for cohorts of 30 Latinx educators in cities where Infosys has a vibrant connection to the community: Phoenix, AZ; Richardson, TX; and Los Angeles, CA. These 100 K-8 Latinx educators will form a longer-term cohort of educators who engage in a year-round maker focused training program that will impact over 5,000 students.
The educators will engage with content on the Foundation’s free digital learning platform, the Pathfinders Online Institute with a Maker Learning Teacher Training that equips the teachers with the requisite skills to boost Latinx student interest and engagement in STEM and CS and career pathways.
We are incredibly proud of our partnership with the Hispanic Heritage Foundation and KID Museum and look forward to seeing the momentum build as Latinx teachers create a more robust pipeline of makers in these communities.
Partnership with Televisa Foundation
(click above to watch the Univision newscast of the event)
The Foundation is proud to have partnered with Televisa Foundation in an effort to inspire and expand access to computer science education for 800 Latinx middle-school students through a Spanish course on the Foundation’s Pathfinders Online Institute and the convening of an in-person hackathon in Phoenix, AZ in partnership with the Carl Hayden Community High School. Please click the image above to learn more about the great event.
Leading into HHM, we launched the first ever bilingual course on the Pathfinders Online Institute, the Foundation’s signature digital learning platform for the K12 community. The TeleCuantrix Elementary and the Cuantrix US Advanced courses teach K12 students how to use their personal hobbies and interests to program websites and robots. To promote this course and highlight the greater need for investment in Latinx communities, the Foundation’s ED Kate Maloney and Televisa Foundation’s Executive Vice President Alicia Lebrija Hirschfeld sat down for a conversation discussing all the exciting initiatives our foundations are carrying out to support the Latinx community in computer science. Please watch their discussion here.
Lastly, on October 20th, the Televisa Foundation hosted a an in-person hackathon for about 54 Latinx students at the Carl Hayden Community High School in Phoenix, Arizona. Providing valuable insight and workshops on Design Thinking and Machine Learning were Infosys employees Christine Stiles and Mohit Kumar.
Samantha Vasquez, a Latinx student participating in the hackathon walked away with the following thought: “I think if we see more people who look like us in careers that interest us, we are more likely to pursue these technology jobs.” Samantha is correct in her assumption; a recent study illustrated that U.S. students in grades 5-12 with access to school-based learning opportunities and role models are more likely to stay persistent and pursue a career in technology.
Infy Latinx Scholars Program with Digital NEST
The Foundation partnered with Digital NEST, a Salinas, CA-based non-profit that connects youth to a skill-building community that aims to transform them into professionals and create successful careers. With 2,200+ students already empowered through their programs; Digital NEST is at the forefront of connecting Latinx students with career opportunities.
Our partnership with Digital NEST included the launch of an Infy Latinx Scholars Program that will provide scholarships to youth currently participating in a NEST program. The program will also give the scholars the ability to create quality peer-to-peer content to be showcased on the Foundation’s Pathfinders Online Institute and provide them with yearlong mentorship/work experience.
Code.org led a social media campaign highlighting students that are enrolled in the “Code as a second language en Español” program that was created through our partnership with the Hispanic Heritage Foundation. The program is guided, grade-specific, self-paced and features interactive assignments that do not require prior background in computer programming. We’re thrilled to see how well these young students have been doing as they build and develop their own careers in tech.
The Foundation is incredibly proud of our involvement in the Latinx computer science community, but we understand that these efforts are just one step. We continue to commit ourselves to greater inclusion of the Latinx community in the months and years ahead. Adelante!
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