2018 NCWIT Summit - Plenary III, TECHNOLOchicas 3.0 presented by Jannie Fernandez and the Reel WiT Award presented by Yvonne Melton

May 17, 2018

[upbeat music]

DARON GREEN: Hi there, thank you. My name is Daron Green, and I'm in charge of the research operations and academic relations team at Facebook, I look after all of the sort of out bound engagements that Facebook does with various research organizations and it's my very great pleasure to welcome you all back to the plenary room and welcome those that are viewing online. We have a genuinely very exciting closing program for you today. Beginning with the TECHNOLOchicas announcement from Jannie, or Jannie Fernandez. Originally from Columbia, Jannie obtained a bachelor of science in special education with a focus on learning disabilities and she's studied for that at Florida International University in Miami, Florida. She taught various science subjects including biology and physics and also served as a special education department head for a public high school in Miami. So please welcome, Jannie.

[audience applause]

[upbeat music]

JANNIE FERNANDEZ: Well good morning everybody, I would also like to invite somebody else to this stage, some of you may know her as a white house champion of change, some of you may know her as an aspirations in computing educator award winner. Some of you may know her as a TECHNOLOchica. I know her as (speaking in Spanish), Andrea Chaves.

[audience applause]

ANDREA CHAVES: Hola (speaking in Spanish) Nice. Okay so I hope that you are having as much fun as I am having here today. I love to see these amazing women and being surrounded by them and the men that support us. Jannie is gonna give us some more information about Latinas in tech.

JANNIE FERNANDEZ: Gracias Andrea. So in 2013, the Center for American Progress projected that by 2050, one out of every four women in this country will be a Latina. And I really hope I live to see that day. However, only 2% of the computing workforce currently is made up by Latinas, so that's the reason why TECHNOLOchicas exists today. In early 2015, NCWIT and Google hosted a historic round table in Washington, D.C., for stake holders were who challenged with addressing this issue and identifying of a targeted media complain would help reach this population. So equipped with research, the understanding that Latinas make up one of the fastest growing populations in the United States, our TECHNOLOchicas media campaign was launched. So in partnership with the Televisa foundation, the campaigns message was aired in Univision stations over 20 markets nationwide. And millions of Latinos, have had the opportunity to hear our message and learn about the opportunities that come from pursuing careers in tech. In addition to the media aspect of the campaign, we have over 200 TECHNOLOchicas ambassadors, that are conducting outreach in communities around the country, sharing their passion for technology, and that's what Andrea's here to tell you a little bit more about.

ANDREA CHAVES: So first of all, I wanna tell you how proud I am to be a TECHNOLOchica. And I first joined TECHNOLOchicas, because it has such a cool name. Who wouldn't, right? In reality, I wanted to do more outreach and with TECHNOLOchicas I was able to do it nationwide. In these short two years that I've been at TECHNOLOchica, we have covered more than 100 events, and therefore we have cover in reach to more than a thousand girls and their families. And this is exactly what they need. They need to know the information and the opportunities that are out there, and at the same time, to look at us as their role models. Like when you could see it, you could be it.

JANNIE FERNANDEZ: So recent research from Google and Gallup, suggests that encouragement plays a huge role, when it comes to persistence and pursuing careers in computer, or pursuing computer science education. So our TECHNOLOchicas outreach efforts are a perfect example of encouragement and action. So BCM Latinas that you see here, sometimes it's their first experience with technology, they get to not only learn about the opportunities that technology can afford them, but they learn to be confident that they can create this technology. For some of them again, it might be as a means to encourage them pursuing their aspirations in computing. And speaking of aspirations, I did mention that Andrea is also an aspiration of computing award winner-- educator award winner. And she'll tell you little bit more about that.

ANDREA CHAVES: So also I'm very proud that over the years, after knowing about the aspiration awards, I started getting girls involved. Til today I have had 50 girls that have won aspiration awards.

[audience applause]

ANDREA CHAVES: Thank you. And let me tell you how much these levels up the confidence in girls. Every single girl out of those 50 that I have had, and this is like an average, more than half of them are Latinas, and all of them have claimed that they were going to careers in STEM. Many of them are already in careers in STEM.

JANNIE FERNANDEZ: So this is So exciting. This is again a perfect example of how a little bit of encouragement, which ever way you provide it to these young girls, will help them reach their goal of pursuing careers in tech. So currently, we are planning the launch of TECHNOLOchicas 3.0. We will be featuring the stories of Latinas from Peru, Bolivia, El Salvador, Mexico, Venezuela, Argentina. So in addition to continuing the media aspect of this campaign and reaching families through the public service announcement, we would love to provide these young Latinas, with deeper, more rich experiences creating with technology through a shared cultural lens. So we are hoping to implement more AspireIT programs, led by TECHNOLOchicas in Latino communities. In continuing with the theme of encouragement, I would encourage you to take a quick look at a clip that we're gonna show you now.

Video:

EVA LONGORIA: Watch more inspiring stories about Latinas who are changing the world through achievements in technology. These TECHNOLOchicas are impacting our lives through their everyday work. Some are making apps that address social issues and help their communities, while others are engineering suits and rovers that go into space. They're using their voices to inspire thousands of young Latinas to reach for the stars and to work on the technology that will take us there. Let these nine stories, featuring Latinas in tech, inspire and motivate you to find your passion and create your own story to share with the world. See yourself achieving amazing things, and know that no matter how big or small your contribution, you will write yourself into technologies next chapter. I challenge you to play a main role in the story of innovation.

[audience applause]

JANNIE FERNANDEZ: I get the chills every time I watch that video. I just love it. So I would like to encourage every single one of you to join us on this journey with TECHNOLOchicas. You will help revolutionize the face of technology. So, if you have any questions, if you wanted to learn how to get engaged through the campaign, please feel free to reach out and I look forward to all of you being part of this great journey. So gracias Andrea.

ANDREA CHAVES: Gracias.

JANNIE FERNANDEZ: Thank you.

[audience applause]

DARON GREEN: In 2015, NCWIT partnered with Google on the ReelWIT Award. To recognize portrayals of women in media, who serve as role models, while disrupting the stereotypes of ingenuity in technology fields. Here to present this years award, is Yvonne Melton, program manager on Google's computer science education team. Yvonne works to increase access to computer science and digital skills education, with a focus on those who are under represented in the tech industry. Please welcome Yvonne.

[upbeat music]

YVONNE MELTON: Hello everyone. My name is Yvonne Melton, and I am a program manager on Google's computer science education team. Our goal is to increase access and opportunities for more students to get digital skills and computer science education. We focus on those who are traditionally under-represented in the industry. Google is happy to team up with NCWIT for the fifth year to present the ReelWIT Award. Growing up, I didn't think that a career in the tech industry was for me, because I didn't think that I could learn to code. None of the teachers or adults in my community knew how to share computer science skills with students. And there were few portrayals of women in the media, and even fewer of women that looked like me. Through our support of NCWIT initiatives and Google programs like CS First, Google aims to empower more people, to introduce coding concepts to students. Another aspect of preparing students for future careers in the tech industry, is showing the women who are developing technological solutions to big problems. Role models in the media show girls what a computer scientist looks like, and inspires them to learn about, and possibly even pursue careers in the tech industry. Google's research with Gallup shows that girls are less likely to see themselves, or computer science professions portrayed in the media. And the 31% of girls that do see computer science portrayed in the media, say that they never see people that look like them. Because we understand that if you can see it, you can be it, as our friend Gina Davis says, we have partnered with NCWIT, to create the ReelWIT Award, to highlight and champion the best portrayals of women in technology. This years winner is in keeping with our Unix themed award winners, we selected the character Lex, from the 1993, Steven Spielberg classic, Jurassic Park. You might recall Lex. She's the big sister, she loves baseball and hates dinosaurs. She's also a computer hacker. How many of you remember this?

Video:

[screaming]

[suspenseful music]

LEX: It's a UNIX system. I know this. It's all the files of the whole park. It tells you everything. I've gotta find the right file.

MAN: Try to reach the gun.

[screaming]

[suspenseful music] -

WOMAN: I can't get it, unless I move.

[suspenseful music]

[grunting]

LEX: This is it. This might be the right file. This - this isn’t the right file.

BOY: Come on Lex.

BOY: You got it?

LEX: Yes!

LEX: This is it! Yes!

BOY: Yes!

LEX: This is it.

MAN: What works?

LEX: Phone, security systems. You name it, we got it.

[audience applause]

YVONNE MELTON: I am honored to present the 2018 ReelWIT Award to Ariana Richards, for her portrayal of Lex in Jurassic Park.

[audience applause]

YVONNE MELTON: This year we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the film and women and girls are still being inspired by the way Lex hacked into the computer system, to lock a door and save the parks visitors. Lex is one of the rare examples, even to this day, of a girl using her computer skills to save the day. We need more Lex's. Ariana was not able to join us here in person today, but she did see our video of her acceptance.

ARIANA RICHARDS: Hi, I'm Ariana Richards, and I want you to know how very very much the ReelWIT Award for 2018 means to me, what an honor. I really tried to be there with you tonight, but I'm working overseas right now and there was no way I could get there to join you. But it doesn't mean I'm any less grateful. It was surely my lucky day when I was given the role of Lex in Jurassic Park. What an unforgettable experience, filled with amazing memories. Before I filmed the movie, I read the novel of Jurassic Park and for any of you who also read the novel, it was a pretty engaging read. But you'll notice a big difference in the character of Lex. Steven reversed the roles between the two siblings and made Lex the computer savvy elder. Even 25 years ago, Steven had the vision for women empowerment. In fact, through the creation of the role of Lex, he initiated a tremendous amount of inspiration for so many young girls. Being a young person, no matter your gender, you're just beginning to find your way and it can be overwhelming. So that being said, how fortunate am I, that I got to portray this heroic young girl, who manages to save the day through computing knowledge and a will to act. And by the way, they ended up letting me operate the UNIX system myself during the scene. I got to blow their socks off, when they realized that I can manage the system myself. Because I was only 12, I wasn't aware of the social implications of my character at the time. I was just excited to play the role. As Steven recently reminded me, I was simply excited to leap into action when the cameras rolled. It finally hit me of the significance of this role, when I began reading the many thank you notes from fans from all over the world, letting me know how Lex pointed the way and encouraged them to follow their passion in technology, science and computing. During the story of Isla Nublar, Lex seems to start out as a victim to the calamity, but she soon rises to the occasion, outsmarting two deadly pursuers in the kitchen scene and putting a mouse and a keyboard to work. So when all hope seems lost, I believe we can all rise to the occasion and be who we wanna be. My response to fans is always about living your dreams and never giving up. When our two year old daughter is a little older, she's gonna get a surprise when she sees her mom in the movie. I hope it inspires her too. To blaze trails of positive change for this world, through whatever pursuit that might be. Thank you to NCWIT and to Google for presenting me with this great honor. And now let's hear it for the tech pioneers being honored today. Thanks again.

[audience applause]

YVONNE MELTON: Congratulations Ariana. And thank you to NCWIT for being a great partner on this project.

[audience applause]

LUCY SANDERS: Did you see my shirt? Did you notice my shirt? Okay. Thank you for indulging me, when I just geeked out on UNIX during this summit. Totally appreciate it. Only my favorite operating system ever. There it is, yay. One more slide and then we're all gonna call it a wrap on the 2018 NCWIT Summit. Maybe that's it. Is there one more? See you in Nashville next year. It will be our 15th anniversary. So make sure you write this down, mark it up. Please come, reserve the days. We're gonna be at another over the top Gaylord in Nashville. So really, safe travels to everybody, hope you got a lot out of the Summit. We're always glad to see you, and thanks for all the hard work over the last three days. Thank you.

[audience applause]