Things That Matter

These Latinas Are Changing The World With Their Groundbreaking Inventions In Science, Technology, And Engineering

Women are under-represented in the tech sector. Not only that, but they’re underpaid, often passed for promotions and faced with everyday sexism. It’s no wonder women are more likely to leave the industry within a year compared to their male counterparts. But there’s hope. Last week, the MIT Technology Review published a list of the leading Latin American innovators of 2019, and we wanted to highlight the women, who have pushed through in a male-dominated industry and are creating solutions for issues like climate change, terminal illnesses, and other threats. 

In a field that requires women to work alongside men who don’t believe women have the intelligence and inclination to work in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), these Latina innovators are proving otherwise.

Renee Wittemyer, director of program strategy and investment at Pivotal Ventures —Melinda Gates’ investment and incubation company— says that women, and particularly women of color, “are being systemically left behind.” And, she adds, “these stats are moving at a glacial pace.” According to Wittemeyer, African American women and Hispanic women represent 3% and 1% of tech workers respectively.

There is an extensive underrepresentation of women in STEM fields. 

Women make up only 24 percent of the STEM workforce. To make matters worse, only 3 percent of Latina women are working in STEM fields. So these Latina innovators are worth celebrating. 

These scientists, biologists and engineers are making a social impact by solving many of the world’s most complex questions and threatening issues—from climate change to terminal illnesses to social problems.

Here are five Latina innovators shaking up the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) sphere and using technology to create a greater impact for the world:

Lucía Gallardo

technologyreview.es

Lucía Gallardo is the brain behind “Emerge,” a start-up that aims to solve social problems with emerging technologies, such as blockchain, Internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI). “Through her company, Gallardo tries to bring these tools to people who work on social impact projects, especially in impoverished countries such as her native Honduras. One of Emerge’s main sources of support is women and marginalized communities, who are driven by both technology and advice,” MIT Technology Review writes.

María Alexandra Tamayo

technologyreview.es

This Colombian innovator, is purifying water in a country that has the second-most water resources but where only 8% of households have access to drinking water. This way, the biomedical engineer hopes to avoid diseases and death caused by water.

“This is how NanoPro was born, a device ‘capable of eliminating fungi, viruses and bacteria from water without affecting its taste, smell and color,’ the engineer explains. “The filter can be applied in both rural and urban populations, since it is incorporated both in faucets and in thermoses for those areas whose supply network does not reach homes.” With her invention, Tamayo hopes to democratize the access to drinkable water.

Marcela Torres

technologyreview.es

Marcela Torres wants to help refugees and immigrants in Mexico through “Holacode,” a software she developed to provide immigrants with access to employment and better integrate themselves into society. “Marcela Torres realized that in Mexico there were not enough people with the qualifications needed for the software developer positions that were open in the country, so she decided to use technology to solve the problem,” the MIT magazine wrote. “This is how ‘Holacode’ was born, a start-up that offers software development courses for the migrant community in Mexico.” Holacode offers coding and software courses for migrants in Mexico. The courses lasts five months, and with this start-up, Torres hopes that technology education can become more democratic and accessible. “The start-up allows these jobs to be filled by especially vulnerable people such as migrants.”

María Isabel Amorín

technologyreview.es

Amorín, 28-year-old Guatemalan chemist discovered an innovative way to clean sewage. On top of emissions and the excessive rate at which we are consuming resources, another great impact that global industrial activities have on the planet, is water pollution. In short, textile industries use a lot of chemical dyes for the production of clothing, which not only results in massive water waste but these chemicals can pollute rivers and other bodies of water. 

The Guatemalan chemist, Maria Isabel Amorin, “synthesized a polymer from shrimp shells that’s capable of retaining the dyes used in the textile industry.” According to the MIT Technology Review, “The filter works by recirculating and retaining the dye used to dye clothes. This project is particularly focused on artisanal textile production, since the technologies available to treat the waters are very expensive. Now, the young chemist is in the process of patenting her ecological method of filtration and hopes to scale production.”

Mariel Pérez Carrillo

technologyreview.es

This Mexican biochemical engineer and entrepreneur, helps farmers increase their crop production through Innus Technologies. Carillo recalled, “I went to the countryside to learn from the farmers and I realized that they don’t know how their crop is. They also don’t know what state their soil is in.” She invented Enviro, a device that identifies soil conditions and climate in real time and, from them, offers recommendations to improve crop yields.

Thanks to its sensors, Enviro can measure temperature, humidity, conductivity, pH and salinity. The device can help farmers reduce crop losses. Pérez affirms that Enviro also reduces the need of agricultural supplies, “which reduces the contamination of soil and aquifers caused by to excessive use of agricultural chemicals.” 

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People Are Talking About What They Would Look Up On Their Phone 5 Years In The Future

Things That Matter

People Are Talking About What They Would Look Up On Their Phone 5 Years In The Future

Hasn’t everyone had a desire to see the future at some point in their life? During so much uncertainty at the moment, it’s no wonder that people are wishing they had a chance to type in a question to the future and see what it holds. Recently, a user on Reddit posted a prompt about the future that instantly went viral.

Writing to fellow Redditers the users asked “You can’t time travel, but your phone has the internet from 5 years in the future. What do you search for first?”

Check out the pretty wise and honest answers below!

“I’d try to be like Bill Murrays character by the end of Ground Hog day. Find out if there’s any needless deaths from preventable accidents that I may be able to change. Obviously I’d have won the lotto too, this would give me plenty of resources and free time to become a local superhero.”- Meglamore

“I would start a blog on my pc and then switch to my phone to check if it now has updates from the future. If so, my future self could talk to my present self. I could read about my mistakes and try to avoid them. If a post disappears, that would mean that I did it right.”- thezubek

“My son to make sure he’s still alive. He’s chronically suicidal and should be on his own by then. I worry about it.”- Gadgetownsme

“Queen elizabeth (if there were more searches available). Then probably see which countries still exist as they are now, See how covid-19 played out. Memes so I can make an accurate “this is a meme from the future” Then see what are the biggest breakthroughs of science in the last 5 years, probably at least medicine and energy. Also obviously lottery numbers or something.”- uhrilahja

“I would check my mails and message Apps to find out how I’m doing in the future. If the phone continuously updates, so that it always show the internet of in five years. Then I would probably look for scientific breakthroughs like fusion and also for catastrophes. Then I would start writing messages to myself like a diary so I can see them in the present. And also in 2025 I would start copying the messages from then in 5 years and send them to myself so I can see the messages of the next ~100 years assuming I live that long. Edit: I probably would write a script that copies the messages for me.” – Barti666

“Check if im still single.” –Beans_In_The_Dark

“My family member’s names, i Want to know who to call and go see every chance i get if they don’t have that much time left.” – EothainVSorcs

“Wars or terrorist attacks that have happened so that we can avoid them or prepare for stuff like pandemic and natural disasters early.”- themattv140

“Whether or not Donald Trump (or one of his allies) is President.”- Pepperspray24

“Besides the obvious (lottery, election, myself, etc) I would want to see if opera made a comeback after the pandemic or if the virus was the final nail in the coffin of this art form, which has been slowly headed towards its demise for decades now.

Edit: I should have said here that I’m a huge opera fan and I hope I’m wrong!

And I’m not talking about the web browser.” –IoSonCalaf

“Using this logic, I’d want to try to fight climate change. We’re approaching the point of no return, and unless we figure out how to change things quickly, we’re fucked. I’d use the first five years to learn the issue. Then, I’d right a big note to self online on what I studied, what was important, what wasn’t. I’d include things to avoid, things to try going for, a point of no return that scientists concluded, and that they should constantly update in case I get involved in an accident. This would lead to a long chain of studying, trying to find solutions, and ways to get involved into politics in order to actually have a chance of making anything change. The saddest part is, it might not even be possible, and so there would be an unlimited amount of me’s trying to prevent imminent doom, only to fail over and over and over again.”- Chicken_0n_Fire

“Trump conviction.”- micialicia

“I’d look up how my own writing has gone, because five years from now I would definitely have gotten past some of the things I was stuck on. I would save myself some time by just copying my finished story and posting it now. I could get a different perspective on my finished work, see all my new ideas. This could go many ways because I could be hella confused on how I got a certain headcanon about a character and just general confusion on a lot of stuff, and some of the journey of writing is the journey of figuring it all out, and I might not fully understand it all just reading my finished story and not having gone through the process of writing it, like not being able to get into my future self’s head to really understand it the way my future self does, but it could be really nice to save myself five years of time.

I’d look up reviews for future games, movies, and show to see if they are as good as the trailers suggest, and prevent myself from wasting time on unenjoyable content.

Basically after looking up all the general world-altering stuff, I’d surf the internet like I normally do, but this time I won’t have to wait for all the new content.

I would also see which celebrities have been accused and/or convicted of crimes; see who I should really support and who’s going to stay a good person and who’s going to be revealed as corrupted.

I’d see how the elections turn out and if things are better or worse with the new president, try to prepare for said problems, and depending on if I can convince other people to believe that I really have a future phone, maybe I could try and change who gets voted for if it turns out to be worse.

I’d look up recent science discoveries, see what has been revealed as myth and new health concerns. I’d see how bad global warming has got and if we’ve finally managed to start really doing something about it.

See all this stuff with Black Lives Matter and corporate greed and all the political stuff and how it all turned out and how we got there, and see if I was wrong and if I need to change my opinions on things and try to lead us down a different path if it ends badly.

Basically see how things turn out and if I should change my opinions on things.”- Ice_the_Irken

“Interesting to see how many people pick COVID as what they would search. I would search global warming-linked disasters to make sure I wasn’t living anywhere where they’d happen. And 2020 election results to see whether or not I need to move forward with moving to Canada.” –jabberingginger

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El Pollo Loco Creates Hispanic Heritage Month Grant To Support Latina Small Businesses

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El Pollo Loco Creates Hispanic Heritage Month Grant To Support Latina Small Businesses

Ethan Miller / Getty Images

Covid-19 has devastated millions of Americans with job loss. Unemployment skyrocketed as the federal government failed to create and execute a plan to combat the pandemic. El Pollo Loco is stepping up and giving our community a chance to keep business doors open and community members employed.

El Pollo Loco is giving Latina business owners in the greater Los Angeles area a lifeline in these uncertain times.

The Latino community is the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs and business owners in the U.S. According to a Stanford University study, Latino business owners grew 34 percent while every other demographic grew 1 percent over the last ten years.

However, Covid has changed things. Latina-owned business are some of the hardest hit and the sudden loss is impacting our community. According to the Pew Research Center, Latinas experienced a -21 percent change in small business ownership and jobs since the Covid downturn.

El Pollo Loco is offering $100,000 in grants to different Latina-owned businesses because of the pandemic.

The fast food chain has started a GoFundMe to keep the donations going. El Pollo Loco has already pledged $100,000 to help Latina small businesses and the GoFundMe promises to keep the donations flowing. For every $10,000 raised in the GoFundMe, El Pollo Loco will donate it to a Latina small business. The GoFundMe has raised over $100,000 at the time of this post.

#WeAllGrow Latina partnered with El Pollo Loco to give Latina business owners this lifeline.

#WeAllGrow Latina and El Pollo Loco are asking the Latino community to help find Latina small businesses that deserve the grants. Instead of making the decision themselves, #WeAllGrow Latina and El Pollo Loco want you to nominate your favorite Latina small business for the grant.

“This year has been unlike any other, leaving Latina-owned businesses disproportionately impacted,” Bernard Acoca, President and Chief Executive Officer of El Pollo Loco, said in a statement. “Given the critical role brands are expected to play during the pandemic and on the heels of Hispanic Heritage Month, we felt compelled to find a way to support the people and city we call home.”

In order to nominate a business, here is what you have to do.

Credit: weallgrowlatina.com/fundlatinafoodjefas

Using social media, nominate your favorite LA-based Latina small business and tag @elpolloloco and @weallgrowlatina while using #grantcontest and #FundLatinaFoodJefas. You can nominate the business up to five times.

People are already nominating their favorite food places in LA.

You have until Sept. 15 to nominate your favorite Latina small business. You can help them win $10,000 and mentorship from El Pollo Loco to help Latina business owners in LA keep their doors open. You can learn more here.

READ: California Is Poised To Become The First State To Offer Unemployment To Undocumented Workers

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