First Latina wins prestigious STEM competition and gets NASA’s attention

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Screenshot: Youtube

Ana Humphrey’s discovery has NASA interested and has won her one of the most prestigious STEM competitions in the country. The 18-year-old is the first Latina to win the Regeneron Science Talent Search in twenty years. She beat 1800 competitors and took home a $250,000 prize.

The Virginia teen invented a model to find planets outside our solar system that may have been missed by NASA. She started her project two years ago and also contacted another Latina, Elisa Quintana a NASA physicist for help. 

Ana told the  Society of Science, “I looked for these planets where we already found a few, and I wanted to see whether it was possible to fit new ones among the ones we knew about without changing the orbits of the planets. I found 500 locations where we can do this, which means we might be missing some planets.”

Ana, who is Cuban-American has another goal and that is to get more girls interested in STEM. She told NowThis,  “Hopefully I will be able to provide another example for girls out there who maybe don’t see themselves going into science.”

 

Sources:

NowThis

Society of Science: Meet Ana Humphrey

Latina outs Alabama student who carried a “Put the Panic in Hispanic” sign at a high school pep rally

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Screenshot: Jennifer Lopez Facebook

On the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month, Harley Powell went to her high school in Alabama with a sign that read “Put the Panic back in Hispanic.”  It doesn’t appear anyone at Robertsdale High School told Powell to put down the sign.

Jennifer Lopez Vasquez was angry and wasn’t going to let Powell get away with it. She let the world know on Facebook. Here is her post.

 

This happened yesterday at our school pep rally. They know it’s Hispanic Month. That’s very disrespectful in so my ways. But it’s funny to think that our school thinks it ” OKAY ” this is Honestly what white trash looks like

 

Jennifer’s post on social media went viral and also got the attention of the local television stations. Powell took down her Instagram account, her family hired a lawyer. He told NBC 15 “This is a kind of sophomoric joke that’s kind of just gotten out of control.”

The attorney released a statement in Powell’s  behalf where where she claimed her “right to speech” and also that she has Hispanics in her family.

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Powell Statement: FB Screenshot

 

NBC 15 story: Robertsdale pep rally sign causes controversy

As I write this blog, the school is still trying to decide what if anything will happen to the high school girl. Powell may learn from this mistake but it doesn’t appear she even realizes the magnitude of her actions.

We are proud of Jennifer Lopez Vasquez for having the courage to let us know about this teenager’s disrespect of Hispanics. This is how we make a difference. We speak up. Silence is never an option.

Thank you Jennifer!

Latina appointed to California committee aimed at developing new computer science standards in schools

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Veronica Solter Godinez in the classroom.

Veronica Soltero Godinez knows coding and robotics skills are in high demand today in many jobs. She wants to make sure school children in California are getting the computer science education they need to succeed.

This coming school year the California Department of Education will be depending on her expertise. It has appointed Veronica to a very prestigious committee aimed and making computer science education better for students in California.

She shared her good news on Wise Latinas Linked on Facebook. 

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Veronica has been an educator since 2005. She’s been a teacher, teacher’s coach, and principal in Idaho and California. She has served as Vice President of Inland Area CUE (Computer Using Educators) and continues to be involved with the organization.

She started her new job this month as principal at Maxson Elementary School in El Monte, CA.  The school has more than 500 students who are mostly Latino children.

Veronica is an innovator who is always looking for ways to motivate students. She said “I was the one teacher after school playing with robots and learning to code with the students.”

The mother of three girls has started many after school clubs within the schools that she has served and she has also taught teachers how to use computer science to cross teach with English, science, math and history.

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Photo Courtesy Veronica Soltero Godinez

Veronica has lead coding and robotic programs for students and even invited parents to get involved.  The programs teach the students team work, persistence, creativity and problem-solving skills.

KNOWLEDGE OPENS DOORS

Veronica is confident her students will have opportunities in the future for college scholarships and careers in demand in coding and robotics.  Veronica told us “There are many jobs waiting to be filled that are sitting waiting for my students to graduate. Jobs with $100,000 salaries – just waiting.”

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Veronica Soltero Godinez

Veronica will join twenty other individuals appointed on the California Computer Science Standards Advisory Committee. She is the only Latina appointed. It’s good to know the State of California brings diversity to the table.

Congrats and good luck Veronica! You can follow Veronica on Twitter @MsVGodinez

Rebecca Aguilar is an award winning journalist and the founder of Wise Latinas Linked, a social media networking group on Facebook and LinkedIn for Latinas with more than 9,000 members.