Conference for more than 5,000 students of LA opens knowledge for future works related to technology, engineering and mathematics

More than 5,000 students, all women, middle and high school gathered this Wednesday morning at the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles to participate in the "Hello Future" conference of the LA Promise Fund.

In its fifth edition, the two-day student summit aimed to promote the careers of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in communities of color.
About 100 schools, from various school districts of Los Angeles County, participated.

In the huge group were 12th grade students, Emily Sanchez and Chelsy Donis, who arrived with their classmates from Compton Early College High School.

Emily, who has participated in the conference during her four years of high school, said the experience has been enriching and motivating at the same time.

"Seeing women in high positions serves as an inspiration and encourages me to continue in my studies," said the 17-year-old, who plans to venture into politics.

Chelsy, on the other hand, agreed and assured that it is thanks to the conference that she has learned and known about other careers that in the past she did not know existed.

"In my family there is no one to work in these careers and I don't have a model to follow," said the minor, adding that she wants to study biological medicine.

Both young women said they were proud to represent their city, Compton, and expressed their intention to want to change the perspective that it is only plagued by violence and crime.

"Compton is not only what they say in the news … It feels good to be here because we are being part of the story," Emily said.

"People who listen to Compton, only think about violence but there is much more to do and we are an example," Chelsy added.

(From left to right) Martha Mendizabal co-founder of TecnoLatinx and the students Chelsy Donis and Emily Sánchez along with Veronica Melvin, CEO of LA Promise. / photo: Aurelia Ventura.

Leaders of the future

“Hello Future” is designed to diversify the workforce in Los Angeles.

STEM careers are some of the best paid today. However, the talent of people of color in Los Angeles is not being adequately represented.

"Talking about STEM is generally not exciting when you don't know each other but here (at the conference) we want girls to know about careers with names of well-known companies to get excited," said Veronica Melvin, president of the LA Promise Fund.

Among the companies present were representatives of Netflix, Microsoft, MiTu Network, Comcast, among others.

“Hello Future teaches you to be leaders in your community. We have 65 Girls Build clubs in Los Angeles County schools and there it teaches them to identify problems in their community and improve them, ”Melvin said.

Several of these problems are solved through technology, which continues to bring young women closer to the jobs of the future.

"All clubs must have their website, they must know how to tell stories and participate in webinars that offer professionals for students," Melvin added.

High school and high school students met early on Wednesday at the Microsoft Theater. / photo: Aurelia Ventura.

In California, minorities are part of 80% of the workforce but only 8% are part of the workforce in technology.

Women in STEM careers make up only 25% of which 1% are Latina and 3% African American.

"This is something that is expected to change very soon as Los Angeles has the largest STEM job market in the nation," Melvin said.

Martha Mendizábal, co-founder of TecnoLatinx, which works with different organizations to create immersive and educational experiences of virtual reality, said she was very excited to see that more young girls can learn that with these careers they can have better opportunities in the future.

Mendizábal, who is originally from Tijuana, Mexico, said he arrived in the United States at age 14 and until that age he had never used the computer.

"I did not know that the Internet is the door to infinity," he said.

For this reason, he says he enjoys talking with young people and parents to let them see that virtual reality is not just about creating video games.

"We want parents to see that their children can learn in an educational way and if we have the support of parents, students excel," he said.

Emily and Chelsy say their parents initially doubted their ability to be leaders in their community or apprentices of technology. However, over time they have witnessed how much their daughters learn and take pride in it.

If you are interested in learning more about LA Promise Fund and Girls Build clubs visit: or Instagram @girls_build


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