Meet Katya Echazarreta, the First Mexican-Born Woman To Go to Space
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Katya Echazarreta via Instagram

By , Remezcla

Meet Katya Echazarreta . The 26-year-old electrical engineer will make history when she becomes the first Mexican-born woman to travel to space .

Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, Echazarreta, who moved to the United States at the age of seven, has been selected from a pool of 7,000 applicants by nonprofit organization Space Humanity to participate in “Blue Origin,” the space mission funded by billionaire Jeff Bezos.

“I am going to space!” Echazarreta recently posted on Instagram. “Ahh!!! I can’t believe I can finally write those words! So eternally thankful for [Space Humanity] for selecting me from over 7,000 applicants for this mission. I’ll be flying with [Blue Origin] on NS-21 and will get to experience the Overview Effect. As a Space for Humanity Ambassador, I plan on coming back ready to continue changing the world!”

Space Humanity responded: “We are so excited for you! And we know you’re going to be an amazing voice and advocate. Congratulations, Katya! Well deserved!”

Echazarreta is currently pursuing her master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. When she’s not studying, she is the co-host of the YouTube series Netflix IRL and shares her scientific knowledge as “Electric Kat” on the educational series Mission Unstoppable on CBS.

Joining Katya Echazarreta on Blue Origin is Evan Dick, NS-19 investor and astronaut; Hamish Harding, private jet pilot and president of Action Aviation; Jaison Robinson, co-founder of Dream Variation Ventures; Victor Vescovo, retired U.S. Navy Major and the co-founder of Insight Equity; and Victor Correa Hespanha, civil engineer, who will be the second Brazilian to go to space.

Click here to read the full article on Remezcla.

At 17, she was her family’s breadwinner on a McDonald’s salary. Now she’s gone into space
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At 17, she was her family's breadwinner on a McDonald's salary. Now she's gone into space

By Jackie Wattles, CNN

A rocket built by Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin carried its fifth group of passengers to the edge of space, including the first-ever Mexican-born woman to make such a journey.

The 60-foot-tall suborbital rocket took off from Blue Origin’s facilities in West Texas at 9:26am ET, vaulting a group of six people to more than 62 miles above the Earth’s surface — which is widely deemed to make the boundary of outer space — and giving them a few minutes of weightlessness before parachuting to landing.

Most of the passengers paid an undisclosed sum for their seats. But Katya Echazarreta, an engineer and science communicator from Guadalajara, Mexico, was selected by a nonprofit called Space for Humanity to join this mission from a pool of thousands of applicants. The organization’s goal is to send “exceptional leaders” to space and allow them to experience the overview effect, a phenomenon frequently reported by astronauts who say that viewing the Earth from space give them a profound shift in perspective.

Echazarreta told CNN Business that she experienced that overview effect “in my own way.”

“Looking down and seeing how everyone is down there, all of our past, all of our mistakes, all of our obstacles, everything — everything is there,” she said. “And the only thing I could think of when I came back down was that I need people to see this. I need Latinas to see this. And I think that it just completely reinforced my mission to continue getting primarily women and people of color up to space and doing whatever it is they want to do.”

Echazarreta is the first Mexican-born woman to travel to space and the second Mexican after Rodolfo Neri Vela, a scientist who joined one of NASA’s Space Shuttle missions in 1985.

She moved to the United States with her family at the age of seven, and she recalls being overwhelmed in a new place where she didn’t speak the language, and a teacher warned her she might have to be held back.
“It just really fueled me and I think ever since then, ever since the third grade, I kind of just went off and have not stopped,” Echazarreta recalled in an Instagram interview.

When she was 17 and 18, Echazarreta said she was also the main breadwinner for her family on a McDonald’s salary.

“I had sometimes up to four [jobs] at the same time, just to try to get through college because it was really important for me,” she said.
These days, Echazarreta is working on her master’s degree in engineering at Johns Hopkins University. She previously worked at NASA’s famed Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. She also boasts a following of more than 330,000 users on TikTok, hosts a science-focused YouTube series and is a presenter on the weekend CBS show “Mission Unstoppable.”

Space for Humanity — which was founded in 2017 by Dylan Taylor, a space investor who recently joined a Blue Origin flight himself — chose her for her impressive contributions. “We were looking for some like people who were leaders in their communities, who have a sphere of influence; people who are doing really great work in the world already, and people who are passionate about whatever that is,” Rachel Lyons, the nonprofit’s executive director, told CNN Business.

Click here to read the full article on CNN.

Young L.A. Latina wins prestigious environmental prize
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Nalleli Cobo holds the ouroboros environmental prize

By Edwin Flores, NBC News

At age 9, Nalleli Cobo was experiencing asthma, body spasms, heart palpitations and nosebleeds so severe she needed to sleep in a chair to prevent herself from choking on her own blood.

Across the street from her family’s apartment in University Park in South Central Los Angeles was an oil extraction site owned by Allenco Energy that was spewing fumes into the air and the community around her.

After speaking with neighbors facing similar symptoms, she and her family began to mobilize with their community, suspecting that was making them sick. They created the People Not Pozos (People Not Oil Wells) campaign. At 9 years old, Cobo was designated the campaign’s spokesperson, marking the start of her activism and organizing career.

In March 2020, Cobo, the co-founder of the South Central Youth Leadership Coalition, helped lead the group to permanently shut down the Allenco Energy oil drilling site that she and others in the community said caused serious health issues for them. She also helped convince the Los Angeles City Council and Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to unanimously vote to ban new oil exploration and phase out existing sites in Los Angeles.

After pressure from the community and scrutiny from elected officials, Allenco Energy agreed to suspend operations in 2013. The site was permanently shut down in 2020, and the company was charged in connection with state and local environmental health and safety regulations. There are ongoing issues around cleaning and plugging up the oil wells.

Cobo co-founded the South Central Youth Leadership Coalition in 2015 to bolster efforts against oil sites and work toward phasing them out across the city.

That year, the youth group sued the city of Los Angeles, alleging violations of the California Environmental Quality Act and environmental racism. The suit was settled after the city implemented new drilling application requirements.

Cobo, now 21, was recognized Wednesday for the environmental justice work that has spanned more than half her life. She received the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize, which is awarded annually to individuals from six regions: Europe, Asia, Africa, Islands and Island Nations, North America, and South and Central America.

“I did not want to answer the phone because it was an unknown number,” Cobo, who was getting bubble tea when she received the call about the prize, told NBC News in a Zoom interview Wednesday. “I didn’t even know I was nominated. I started crying.”

During the 1920s, Los Angeles was one of the world’s largest urban oil-exporting regions. More than 20,000 active, idle, or abandoned oil wells still reside in the county, and about one-third of residents live less than a mile from an active oil site.

Studies have shown that living near oil and gas wells increases exposure to air pollution, with nearby communities facing environmental and health risks including preterm birth, asthma and heart disease.

Click here to read the full article on NBC News.

Underrepresented in tech, Latinas are using TikTok to help others navigate the industry
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Latinas on tiktok: Maribel Campos, left, works in video partner operations at Apple, Gina Moreno works for Microsoft, and Michelle Villagran is a systems implementation consultant.

By Edwin Flores

When Maribel Campos was 11, she was living in her parents’ trailer home in Sonoma, Calif. She recalled wanting her own iPod, but her parents, who were working multiple jobs to make ends meet, couldn’t afford one.

Campos, now 24, not only owns an iPod, but she also works at Apple TV Plus — a full-circle moment for her, she said.

“Never in a million years would I think that I would be working” on an Apple product or service, Campos, the daughter of Mexican immigrants, said.

Across all races and ethnicities, women remain underrepresented in computing-related jobs in the tech field, holding just 26 percent of the positions. For Hispanic women, this disparity is even worse, as they make up just 2 percent.

Now, Campos, along with other Latinas, are taking to TikTok to help others in their community navigate the tech world — by sharing their experiences, dispelling misconceptions and offering advice.

“I grew up in poverty, I had zero connections. I didn’t study anything relevant to what I’m doing now,” Campos, who has a degree in communications and media studies from Sonoma State University, said in one of her videos. “I’m still working in tech and you can do it too.”

‘There’s nobody else that looks like me here’
Michelle Villagran, 24, a systems implementation consultant for Westlands Management Solutions based in San Francisco, said she often felt discouraged in entry-level positions and internships because she was usually the only Latina.

“I would tell myself, like ‘Dang, I can’t have this job. There’s nobody else that looks like me here,'” said Villagran, who works remotely from Portland, Oregon. “There weren’t other Latinas in these teams, I was always the only one.”

Since many of the Latinas in tech are pursuing different career paths than those of their family and friends, it’s also hard for them to get career advice.

“I’m navigating everything by myself. I can’t reach out to my parents for advice or anything. So it definitely can feel very, very isolating,” Campos said. “There’s no one to hold your hand or tell you what to do next in your career, what next steps are for you, how to do your job. So finding someone that relates to your background and that is willing to help you is super key to being successful there.”

She said she found support through human resource groups, such as Amigos at Apple and outside groups such as Latinas in Tech.

Some also say they experience what is called impostor syndrome, which women are 22 percent more likely to experience in tech workplaces.

“It’s also the age,” said Gina Moreno, 26, a program manager for Microsoft. “You’re young, whereas a lot of people have 20-plus years of experience.”

For Moreno, learning to undo traditional Mexican values and perceptions of being a reserved and humble woman were pivotal in transitioning from college to a full-time professional job, she said.

“I had to learn that being humble is a great value in the Mexican community, but being humble doesn’t mean being modest in your career,” Moreno said. “I also learned that being direct is the way to advance, whereas in Mexican culture, being direct is rude.”

About 66 percent of women in tech say there’s no clear path for career advancement at their companies.

“At the end of the day, we’re all breaking glass ceilings, we’re all carving our own path,” Moreno said.

Striving to be an example
Popular TikTok videos about tech often describe six-figure salaries and other benefits that come with coding positions.

But Villagran, Campos and Moreno show a different side of the industry in their videos, by highlighting the variety of positions in the industry, some of which don’t require coding skills, yet still pay attractive salaries.

Click here to read the full article on NBC News.

Tech Scholarships For LGBTQ+ Folks
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woman pointing forefinger towards a graph line in 3D

Tech is one of the fastest-growing industries of the 21st century, creating millions of work opportunities around the world. But still, with all its exponential growth, diversity is still an issue.

According to a recent Stack Overflow survey, 92.1 percent of interviewed tech developers identify as heterosexual, and only 1 percent are transgender folk.

It is safe to say that members of the LGBTQ+ community are not sufficiently represented in the tech industry as of 2021, but the hope is that this will change in the future. Many people and institutions are committed to achieving the goal of more representation. If you’re a queer person and are interested in obtaining an education in tech, here are some scholarships and financial opportunities worth a look at.

1.    Grandcircus Bootcamps

If you’re interested in coding, Grandcircus offers an immersive 14 or 18-week coding bootcamp in two language tracks. Their graduates have gone on to work for big companies like Ford, Amway, and Meridian.

They offer their potential students many financial help possibilities because they believe in the diversification of the tech community. They grant scholarships to members of underrepresented populations including, among others, LGBTQ+ folks.

Their scholarships consist of automatic tuition discounts for students who qualify, and you can apply online. If you have a very special situation, they are also open to discussing other possibilities with you.

2.    The Edie Windsor Coding Scholarship

Edie Winsor is one of the greatest role models for the LGBTQ+ community. She was not only a tech manager at giant IBM but also a very important gay-activist whose Supreme Court case led to the federal recognition of same-sex married couples in the US.

In the spirit of Edie Windsor’s fight, the fund that bears her name finances a coding scholarship to allow LGBTQ+ women and non-binary folk the opportunity to delve into the world of tech. They consider that learning how to code gives underrepresented groups the tools needed for greater economic opportunities, and it’s a more accessible alternative than a four-year degree.

3.    V School – You Belong in Tech

V School offers full-ride scholarships for people in underrepresented communities and those in financial hardship. They offer both web development and coding courses that include a paid internship with a creative agency, and their students have gone on to work for major tech players like Apple.

V School is 100 percent online and works under a responsive learning model that works around student skills and not around a time-based curriculum. They also place a high value on one-on-one coaching.

4.    Burlington Code Academy

This scholarship is set to help diversify tech, helping students with difficult situations the possibility to get an education. They offer scholarships to BIPOC, Womxn, and LGBTQ+ folks, who they believe are underrepresented because of lack of access and representation in the workplace.

Their Diversity Initiative funds the Impact Scholarships, which offers discounted tuition to underrepresented groups. The conditions of this scholarship can vary, so they encourage you to contact them directly to analyze your particular situation.

5.    Codesmith Scholarships

Codesmith offers a full-stack coding bootcamp with a rigorous program. You are taught by professional developers, and they guarantee that you will learn the skills needed to immerse yourself in the tech industry right away. They offer both in-person and live remote programs.

The institution is committed to making tech an area of equal opportunities for everybody, no matter their background, so that they can provide their points of view in solving the problems of the future. They offer a full range of scholarships for minorities and underrepresented groups; these are distributed among their accepted students, and they are granted based on application scores and interviews.

Conclusion:

The world is changing, and the LGBTQ+ community is taking more and more the place it deserves. To continue to create a better, more inclusive world in the future, it’s important that diverse life experiences are represented in all environments. The work market is particularly important, as it’s there that a lot of the change in the world comes from. Tech has proven to be the future, so it’s vital that this new, diverse generation is involved in it. With the engagement and support of its collaborators, the LGBTQ+ will soon have a strong contribution to the industry.

First Latina in space to deliver keynote at Engineering Virtual Expo 2021
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Latina Astronaut Dr. Ellen Ochoa in uniform posing with her helmet on her lap

By Oregon State University

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Ellen Ochoa, the first Latina to journey to space and the former director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center, will deliver the keynote lecture next month at Engineering Virtual Expo 2021, an event organized by the Oregon State University College of Engineering that showcases undergraduate student design projects.

Ochoa, who joined NASA in 1988 as an engineer at Ames Research Center and was selected as an astronaut in 1990, will speak at 12:10 p.m. on Friday, June 4, prior to the presentation of the expo’s People’s Choice and Industry Choice awards.

Ochoa became the first Latina in space while serving in 1993 on a nine-day mission aboard the space shuttle Discovery. She has flown in space four times and has logged almost 1,000 hours in orbit.

Those interested in attending Engineering Virtual Expo 2021 and watching Ochoa’s presentation can register online. The event, free and open to the public, kicks off at 8:30 a.m. with student project displays and virtual College of Engineering tours geared toward high school students. Those who attend the expo can visit with students about projects in a range of areas including artificial intelligence, clean water, health, natural disaster preparedness, robotics, sustainable energy and virtual reality.

Click here to read the full article on Oregon State University.

Latin American Fintech Startups for the 2021 Acceleration Program
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group of people working leaning over the computer

Techstars together with Western Union are looking for Latin American startups that want to create the financial products that the world needs, and have announced the start of the call for their acceleration program that will be carried out remotely during 2021.

This program for fintech startups is led by mentors and takes place in 13 weeks, in which it is possible to connect entrepreneurs with up to 100 of the best Fintech mentors within the Western Union ecosystem and other recognized experts worldwide.

In addition, it offers consulting on fundraising issues, including a week with investors where projects with around 50 Venture Capital are introduced within the Techstars network. On average, each startup that has been part of this program has raised more than a million dollars of investment, representing a total market capitalization of more than 63 million dollars in its category.

In 2021, the third cohort of this program will be developed, which will select 10 startups at an early stage, preferably with an MVP ready to go to market. The program will kick off on July 19 remotely, with the possibility of spending the last weeks at Western Union headquarters in Denver, Colorado.

“We are specifically interested in Latin America because it is the region where entrepreneurs with incredible ideas are emerging; In addition, Western Union has a strong presence there, so we seek to continue to gain more traction by supporting initiatives that seek to revolutionize the way money is moved in the United States and emerging markets, ”says Elle Bruno, Managing Director of Techstars & Western Union Accelerator.

Applications will be open until April 7, 2021. For more information, you can visit the official site of Techstars & Western Union Accelerator.

Read the original article at Entrepreneur.

Monica Lozano Joins Apple’s Board of Directors
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monica lozano sitting in a black suit with apple logo in the background

By Apple Newsroom

On January fifth Apple announced that Monica Lozano, president, and CEO of College Futures Foundation, has been elected to Apple’s board of directors. Lozano brings with her a broad range of leadership experience in the public and private sectors, as well as a long and storied track record as a champion for equity, opportunity, and representation.

Prior to joining College Futures Foundation, Lozano spent 30 years in media as editor and publisher of La Opinión, the

Image Credit – (Monica Lozano is the newest member of Apple’s board. Photo: Getty Images)

largest Spanish-language newspaper in the US, helping shine a light on issues from infant mortality to the AIDS epidemic. She went on to become chairman and CEO of La Opinión’s parent company, ImpreMedia. Lozano continues to serve on the boards of Target Corporation and Bank of America Corporation.

“Monica has been a true leader and trailblazer in business, media, and an ever-widening circle of philanthropic efforts to realize a more equitable future — in our schools and in the lives of all people,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Her values and breadth of experience will help Apple continue to grow, to innovate, and to be a force for good in the lives of our teams, customers, and communities.”

“Monica has been a pioneer in every organization fortunate enough to benefit from her vision and expertise,” said Arthur Levinson, Apple’s chairman. “After a thorough and fruitful search, I couldn’t be more confident in the positive impact Monica will have on our board and Apple as a whole.”

“I’ve always admired Apple’s commitment to the notion that technology, at its best, should empower all people to improve their lives and build a better world,” said Lozano. “I look forward to working with Tim, Art, and the other board members to help Apple carry those values forward and build on a rich and productive history.”

Throughout her accomplished career as a business leader, public servant, and philanthropist, Lozano has made an indelible impact on companies and communities in the US and around the world, earning awards from organizations like The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

In her role as CEO of College Futures Foundation, Lozano has been a tireless advocate for expanding access to higher education, partnering with philanthropic organizations, state and local governments, and local communities to improve opportunity for low-income students and students of color.

Lozano is a co-founder of the Aspen Institute Latinos and Society Program, and a former chair of both the University of California Board of Regents and the board of directors of the Weingart Foundation, a private philanthropic organization. Lozano is also a former board member of The Walt Disney Company.

Read the original article at Apple Newsroom.

Farmworker turned astronaut Jose Hernandez urges kids not to give up
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Astronaut Jose Hernandez in spacesuit smiling holding his space suit helmet

Former NASA astronaut Jose Hernandez spent most of his youth working the fields.

So many kids have struggled with remote learning, but Hernandez wants them all to know when it comes to their future, the sky’s the limit.

As a young boy, Hernandez picked fruits and vegetables alongside his family.

“We spent nine months in California, three months in Mexico, but those nine months I went to three different school districts,” he explained.

The family settled in Stockton. Jose couldn’t speak English until he was 12 years old, but STEM subjects spoke to him.

“I gravitated towards math because 1 + 3 is 4 in any language,” Hernandez said.

When he was ten, Jose told his dad he wanted to be an astronaut, so his father laid out a five-part recipe for success.

First, set a goal. Then recognize how far away you are from that goal.

“The third thing is you have to draw yourself a road map to know where you’re at to where you want to go,” Hernandez added. “And then I asked what’s the fourth? He said you’ve got to get an education.”

The University of the Pacific grad called hard work the fifth ingredient.

But his path was a difficult one.

“NASA rejected me not once, not twice, not three times but 11 times. It wasn’t until the 12th time that I got selected,” he said.

Hernandez would blast off with the crew of the Space Shuttle Discovery in 2009.

“It’s a ride that even Disneyland would be envious of because you go from zero to 17,500 miles an hour in eight and a half minutes,” he recalled.

Jose worked on the International Space Station during the 14-day trip, which covered 5.4 million miles.

“I wish we had a frequent flyer program,” Hernandez laughed.

He circled the globe 217 times but remains a down to Earth guy who tells kids how to realize their own dreams.

“Hard work and perseverance and not being afraid to dream big,” he said.

Continue on to the NBC 7 to read the complete article.

Free Zoom alternative: Microsoft Teams lets 300 users video chat for 24 hours
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Laptop webcam screen view multiethnic families contacting distantly by videoconference. Living abroad four diverse friends making video call enjoy communication, virtual interaction modern app concept

This year has been a huge year for Zoom, as families and friends around the world have turned to the video chat service to stay in touch during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Microsoft Teams just barreled into the room to make Zoom look a little silly by comparison.

According to The Verge, Microsoft’s primarily business-focused video call app is getting a free tier with a 24-hour time limit on calls just in time for the holidays.

As many as 300 people can jam into one room, with a gallery view that can display up to 49 of them on one screen. (Zoom has a max of 100 participants for Basic and Pro users.) There’s also a feature called Together Mode that will arrange everyone’s video feeds so it looks like they’re sitting together in a theater or coffee shop. If your family is that big, feel free to go nuts with Microsoft Teams — and good luck following the conversation.

Calls can be started and joined from a web browser so you don’t need to download an app. Whoever starts the call will need a Microsoft account, which you should have on hand if you’ve ever used Office or an Xbox but is pretty easy to set up if you haven’t. Crucially, folks who don’t have Microsoft accounts can join calls.

Continue on to Mashable to read the complete article.

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