Nearly everything is achievable with a click or swipe of your smartphone. We watch our Netflix shows on our 4K televisions and even have our car parked itself. It’s indisputable that technology is deeply integrated in every aspect of our lives. Yet, with so much technological advancements, many are left behind. For Sylvia Aguiñaga, addressing the gap between minorities and technology has become her objective.
Sylvia is a Program Coordinator for DIY Girls, a non-profit that provides hands-on tech experiences for girls in northern Los Angeles, an area predominantly Hispanic. There, she develops curriculums, runs after-school programs, and creates resources for kids and parents.
Underrepresentation of minorities in Silicon Valley and in the tech industry overall is truly a serious matter. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, less than 10 percent of Hispanic and about 15 percent of women makeup the tech workforce.
Sylvia took interest in teaching children about technology, specifically coding (computer languages), after spending a few years doing exactly just that in Japan. That’s where she also picked up on coding, she taught herself to code. She says that teaching children about technology at an early age, is the best way to address the need for minorities in the industry.
According to economic and employment growth projections, more than 1.7 million programmer-specific job opportunities will be available in 2022, and these jobs are the fastest growing in the U.S. This is why she wants to teach and help the younger generation to get involved with coding and other types of technologies.
Sylvia believes the STEAM fields gives children a creative way of looking at the world.
Sylvia was born in Santa Ana, California. She graduated from UC Berkeley with a major in Psychology and is currently working on her Masters degree in Library and Information Science.
In addition to working with DIY Girls, she’s a Special Projects Intern at Los Angeles Central Public Library, she helped create a coding curriculum that will be implemented at 9 schools and library branches in the L.A. area. As an ALSC Special Populations Committee member, her job is to make ensure programming remains inclusive—reaching all children and informing all parents.
Sylvia says the integration of parents to their children’s education is essential. She's created a brochures in Spanish and English to show parent’s what is coding, why its important and what other resources are available to help their children learn the skill.
There is really nothing Sylvia can’t do. She is helping connect the uprising of the tech industry with the new generation. Who knows, she might be harvesting the interest in a child that might become the next Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg.
[This article was originally created and published for ChicaFresh]