Interview with Lori Castaneda, SAN FERNANDO HIGH SCHOOL
Interview with Lori Castaneda, SAN FERNANDO HIGH SCHOOL
San Fernando Valley Native to Lead Non-Profit STEM Organization Serving Young Girls
Thanks to the generous donation of over 200 people, we've exceeded our $15,000 goal on GoFundMe! At MIT, we'll be shining a spotlight on our innovative contribution to helping the homeless population of Los Angeles. The girls will get the once in a lifetime opportunity to show how their innovative use of technology and engineering can make an impact on the homeless population.
The team and their invention has been featured by various media outlets! Please check out the stories written about our team below:
This media attention sheds a light on the homelessness issue in Los Angeles, particularly in the San Fernando Valley. This also brings attention to the need to have programs like DIY Girls that encourage young people to come up with solutions to problems they see in their community.
The Women’s Leadership Council (WLC) of PPG is dedicated to creating an environment that attracts, retains and advances women in the workplace. PPG’s WLC will be volunteering at San Fernando Institute for Applied Media during DIY Girls’ Latina Hour of Code. DIY Girls, in partnership with The Eva Longoria Foundation and Google LA, will provide hands-on coding workshops to 200 girls in underserved communities in Los Angeles during the 2016 Week of Code in December 2016. The workshops shall serve as an opportunity to expose young Latinas to computer science concepts, explore potential career opportunities, and encourage them to continue doing STEM-related activities following the workshop.
Professional women engineers from PPG, Northrop Grumman, and the Society of Women Engineers have committed to sponsoring a school and will be trained to deliver workshops. These professionals will serve as role models and mentors to the young girls, as research shows that students who have mentors and encouragement are more likely to continue in STEM education; this is especially important for underrepresented minorities and women.
Over the summer, members of the WLC’s West chapter did their part to advance the DIY Girls mission by volunteering at the “Summer Showcase” of DIY Girls in Pacoima, California. The Summer Showcase celebrated the success of girls in fourth through eighth grades on their summer projects in woodworking, electronics and art made with code. PPG volunteers – who came from the company’s aerospace and architectural coatings sites in southern California and Utah – assisted with the set-up and clean-up of display areas, as well helped to register the participants and led an interactive workshop.
“The goals of DIY Girls align well with what we believe in and strive to achieve as members of the WLC,” said Catherine Bartles, a process applications development engineer at the aerospace research and technology site in Burbank, California. “It’s important to encourage all children as early as possible in their studies to pursue science and technology-related fields. When we heard about the Summer Showcase, we knew we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get into our local community and begin making meaningful relationships with the girls who are working today to become the leaders of tomorrow.”
Two Bit Circus brought our girls into their workshop this October and reminded us all that technology really can be the stuff of cartoonish adventure. DIY Girls from GALS, the Girls Athletic Leadership Schools, spent a day as game beta testers for Two Bit Circus, an organization that’s always “blurring the lines between technology and spectacle”.
Spending hours in a game lab full of large interactive consoles, virtual reality, and brightly colored lights may seem like a day at the arcade, but our girls kept their thinking caps on. In between bouts of exploring virtual outer-space, the girls were gathering important intel for the game development staff. The girls impressed the game designers and engineers during lunch with their thoughtful feedback, emphasizing the importance of resolving game bugs and fostering team-building mechanics. The girls even left staff a bit speechless with deep questions their personal journeys to Two Bit Circus.
The day ended with a tour into Two Bit’s workshop lot of wood, steel, re-purposed go-carts, and virtual reality prototypes. Floored by all the potential for creativity, the girls were hesitant to leave. The girls left eager to work on their projects at their after-school DIY Girls Club, taking the zany and creative message of Two Bit Circus back to their own work.
A big thank-you to Hera and Ryan of Two Bit Circus, the GALS team, and long time DIY Girls supporter, Councilwoman Nury Martinez, for making this event happen for the girls!
Read what girls are saying about what drives them to act:
“As adolescents, we never thought we could take action to solve the issues we were passionate about. Whenever I thought about the social issues that plagued the U.S and how much I wanted to resolve them, I always thought of myself accomplishing it as an adult,” says Aracely Chavez. However, this all changed when we were introduced to DIY Girls. Through DIY Girls, we learned about coding as we volunteered at Creative Coding summer camp and about the Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams, a grant opportunity available to teams that created an invention geared towards solving an issue in their community.
After weeks of deliberation, we decided that homelessness in Los Angeles is an issue that we should focus on because it is a daily reality we all must confront. The San Fernando Valley saw a 36 percent increase in homelessness this year, to 7,100 residents. It is with a corresponding sense of urgency that we have sought to apply engineering principles and processes toward the development of a device that we believe will go a long way in serving the homeless population in Los Angeles - a system to provide temporary shelter for homeless people.
Because this issue is very close to home, we have made it our goal to make this backpack happen. We’ve let ourselves ignore this issue for far too long. We must act to make LA a better place to live.
- written by Sylvia Aguinaga, Director of Curriculum
This year, the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena awarded 30 of our girls scholarships to attend a summer program on its campus. With the support of generous donors we were able to provide a bus and a chaperone to get the girls to the Art Center each day.
The following was written by DIY Girls program assistant, Verenice Martinez. She accompanied the girls each day to the Art Center and shared the experience.
1. Image of girl and skills students can learn in a makerspace
2. Safety tips (tools, soldering iron, safety glasses)
3. Jr. Mentor tips (how kids can help other kids with projects)
4. Makerspace expectations