The Code To Success: Education
It’s no secret that there is a serious issue of underrepresentation of Latinos in technology. And while there are so many career paths kids can pursue, children in our communities NEED to know that a career in technology is not impossible to achieve—it’s actually fun and quite rewarding.
While there are many reasons to why little diversity is prevalent within the technology industry, education and lack of role models are certainly contributing to the shortage of Latinos in the field. Fortunately, there are people like Gregorio Rojas and Natalia Rodriguez who are a double threat—as role models and educators! Like Nissan, they understand the importance of having more Latinos in the world of technology. That’s why they’re doing their part to push the needle forward; focusing their work and energy around educating Latinos how to code. Their stories are a testament to their passion, dedication, and commitment to our community and are so inspiring!
GREGORIO ROJAS: It’s never too late to do what you love.
Gregorio Rojas knows, from personal experience, that it’s never too late to start coding!
Like many of us, Gregorio was raised by immigrant parents and was told all of his life how important it was for his family to be a doctor and working in the field of medicine. He followed his parents’ advice and decided to pursue medicine in college, until he began to feel as if that career path wasn’t suited for him—he no longer felt passionate about medicine. So he switched gears and focused on something he had loved since he was a boy: working with computers.
In 2013, Gregorio and his wife, Liliana, founded Sabio, a computer science and engineering program that provides individuals with the training they need to pursue a career in the technology industry. Gregorio believes the industry has a lot to gain from a diverse group of developers—and obviously, we do too! That’s why he dedicates his life to not only give Latinos the resources they need to obtain jobs in technology, but to also provide them with a strong support network that will motivate and help them overcome the obstacles they may face along the way.
Natalia Rodriguez: teaching the art of coding.
One look at her Twitter account and you’ll quickly realize that Natalia is very passionate about art, technology and her culture. And while an interest in art and technology can seem uncommon, it’s what makes her so great at what she does!
As an artist and engineer, Natalia doesn’t see art and science as polar opposites. As a matter of fact, she takes on a unique approach and marries creativity and technology when building apps. She views technology as a way to bring her creative vision to life, and we’re here for it.
Natalia was born and raised in Mexico, but when she was 10 years old, her parents uprooted the family and moved to Texas in hopes of giving her a better life. And their sacrifice totally paid off! Natalia is the first in her family to graduate from college with a B.S. in computer science and a minor in English. Today, she dedicates her time to building fascinating applications and developing educational material used to help people find technology based jobs.
Natalia also knows the importance of paying it forward, and inspiring women of color, children and Latinos alike, to pursue a career in STEM (Science,Technology, Engineering and Math). Her community outreach includes co-anchoring a segment at a local TV station to help educate Latinas about opportunities in technology; being on the board of trustees of a non-profit organization that promotes diversity; and teaching high school girls how to code.
Natalia’s experience as an immigrant, woman of color and engineer has given her a unique edge—plus her artistic sensibility and flex-worth coding skills have already helped her launch an exciting career. Natalia has already accomplished so much and we can’t wait to see what comes next!
Gregorio and Natalia are excellent role models and educators that like Nissan, value diversity and are doing their part to bring some Latino representation to the tech world! They are living proof that Latinos can bring a lot of value to the industry, and are inspiring future Latino coders to follow in their footsteps.
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