Can you remember the first computer you ever owned? I do! That bulky, hunk of metal was the latest and greatest in technology, but soooo slow. *Shout-out to childhood computer for helping me get through my 4th grade book reports!* Luckily, technology is far more sophisticated and more accessible than it was when I was a kid. However, for many Latinos having access to tech-related resources is still a luxury. It’s one of the many reasons why there is a serious issue of Latino underrepresentation in the tech world.
This isn’t an earth-shattering discovery; it’s something that’s quite known. But that doesn’t mean we’re completely out of the game! There are a few mavericks that are paving the way for more and more Latino talent to join the tech industry. Like Nissan, these Latinos are shaking things up, revolutionizing technology, and shaping the future. Who are they? What are they doing, and more importantly, how did they get there? Keep reading and get to know the Latinos that are driving the barrio to greater heights, and showing the tech world that we’re a force to be reckoned with.
Warning: These inspiring stories will seriously give you all the feels and make you feel proud to be Latino.
Gemma Busoni: total boss who is revolutionizing education through tech!
Gemma remembers her first encounter with Virtual Reality (VR) vividly, and retells the story in her TED Talk. She describes it as a life-changing experience—not because it was a positive one, but because of how underwhelming it felt! Although it wasn’t love at first VR sight, it caught Gemma’s attention and kindled her curiosity, but that was just the beginning…
As a Salvadorian-born Latina who immigrated to Los Angeles at a young age, she was frustrated at the lack of technological resources available in her community. So, when she was a sophomore in high school, she took matters into her own hands and started a nonprofit organization called “Downtown Hacker” to bring important tech skills to students in underserved neighborhoods.
Her love for VR grew as she attended hackathons, where she acquired critical tech skills. Gemma ventured into the tech world by playing and building video games, but eventually turned the traditionally entertainment-oriented VR technology into an educational tool. She is now a programmer and founder of Discovr Labs, a company that creates immersive VR learning experiences for vocational schools, professional development, and K-12 education. Oh, and did we mention that she was featured on the cover of Seventeen magazine with Michelle Obama? She rocked it in high school, and now she’s slaying the game with her own company!
Elizabeth Vilchis: an inspiring entrepreneur who empowers other Latinos in tech.
Elizabeth is a triple threat: an engineer, a professional in the tech industry, and a CEO. This Mexican-born Latina came to the US when she was 7 years old, and grew up in a 3-bedroom household with 11 family members. Although she didn’t have many resources available to her, she worked hard to put herself through school, and became the first one in her family with a college degree.
When she was older, she decided she wasn’t going to let anything stop her from pursuing a career in STEM. She entered the workforce as a Mechanical engineer, and eventually ran a national science and technology program for a fortune 500 company. That’s when she realized that there were many talented Latinos in the tech community, but they didn’t have the resources or connections to continue growing. Five years later, she started LatinoTech, a company that organizes hackathons, pitch nights, networking events, founder and investor dinners, and tech talks to increase Latino presence and leadership in the technology world.
Elizabeth has already made great strides as the CEO of LatinoTech, but that hasn’t stopped her from continuing to help her community with technology-oriented solutions.
There’s no doubt that these two smart, strong Latinas are changing the game, and like Nissan, their innovative spirit is inspiring and exciting! Not only are they role models for other young Latinos considering a career in STEM, they are living proof that Latinos can totally slay the industry. Latinos aren’t just here for the ride; they ARE a driving force that’s here to stay. So, watch out Silicon Valley, here we come!
If you think these Latinas are inspiring, please like and share their story with all your friends.