On Monday, March 25, 2019 Santa Cruz County celebrated the first Technolochicas Lift South 32 Santa Cruz County Conference at the Santa Cruz Center in Nogales. Approximately 200 students, teachers, school governing board members along with other dignitaries enjoyed interacting with a panel of Technolochicas. Six Latina women prominent in their STEM related fields: (Beatris Medes from Microsoft, Ilse Alcantara from NASA, Neiza Torrico from Intel, Victoria Chavez from Brown University and Ana Hernandez from Woodbury University) shared their experiences with the 160 middle school girls about what it was like for them to study and achieve a career in a STEM related field. Along with the hour-long panel discussion, the Technolochicas facilitated two, one-hour long workshops to the middle school girls.
During the conference, Greg Lucero, Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Angela Noon, Chief Engineer for the Hermosa Mine Project in Patagonia, spoke about the South 32 Hermosa Mine and employment opportunities for the young ladies. South 32, is a global metals and mining company that spans the globe including the Hermosa Project in Patagonia. In collaboration with the Televisa Foundation and the Santa Cruz County School Superintendent’s Office, South 32 is carrying out the TECHNOLOchicas LiFT program in seven of Santa Cruz County middle schools: Desert Shadows Middle School, Wade Carpenter Middle School, Calabasas School, Coatimundi Middle School, Lourdes Catholic School, Patagonia Elementary, and Santa Cruz Elementary. Chris Young, the Chief Deputy at the Santa Cruz County School Superintendent’s Office, is coordinating the project. The moderator for the Technolochicas panel was Naomi Proano from Univision Communications Inc.
At the conference, Alfredo I. Velásquez, the Santa Cruz County School Superintendent and Maya Donnelly the Grants Director from the Santa Cruz County School Superintendent’s Office, thanked everyone for their hard work and plans for the new College Access Center that will be located at the Santa Cruz Center. The goal of the C-CREO Hub, which is funded through the GEAR UP grant recently awarded to the Superintendent’s Office, is to provide college and career guidance for youth and adults throughout the county.
TECHNOLOchicas LiFT was developed by the Televisa Foundation to increase the number of girls in Hispanic communities pursuing technology-related studies by the time they reach high school. A curriculum designed to empower, excite, encourage, and engage girls in computer programming, coding, and robotics is being implemented by site facilitators and assistants on each campus for 2-3 hours a week. Funds are being used for classroom supplies, robotic kits, the mega conference hosted in Nogales, parent engagement, and sustaining the program. Enrollment is set for a minimum of 20 girls per site, and an application process was followed for acceptance in to the program.