Tech Chica Promotes Technology to Young Girls

            The Austin Community College – Eastview campus on 3401 Webberville Road was completely empty except for one building — the 8000s building. That particular building had 60 girls between the ages of 9 and 15 wearing lilac shirts and purple butterfly pins running around as their nervous parents trailed behind them.

The girls blogged on MyLatinitas, a social media site created by Latinitas for young girls. They used blogging techniques to start their social media campaigns. Latinitas volunteers and club leaders helped the girls express their ideas and thoughts into their blog.
            There was no Saturday morning tutorials or Girl Scout retreats on October 6. Instead, the 1st annual Tech Chica, hosted by the non-profit organization, Latinitas Magazine, was being held in the building.
“I [was not] sure what Tech Chica was about, but I’m invested in the education my daughter receives,” said father Jose Alvarez. “I want [my daughter] to be involved with anything that requires her to learn new stuff.”
            Tech Chica is a conference for the girls attending to learn more about technology and media as well as the careers associated with what they learned. The girls would be creating a media campaign on a social issue of their choice. They would be creating podcasts, PSAs, blogs and use social media platforms to promote their media campaign.
A PSA volunteer helps one of the older girls learn how to use the camcorder and gives her helpful techniques on how to record the PSA.
            “My favorite part of the conference was the making of the PSA,” said 7th grader, DJ Weakley. “I’m more interested in videos, production and helping people out.”
            Throughout the morning and afternoon, the girls could be seen planning and talking about their media campaigns. The three campaigns the girls chose were bullying, people with disabilities and teen pregnancy, which are common themes found in media.
            “With the stuff I know about Tech Chica, I can use it in my future to help out those who need help,” said Weakley. “I really enjoyed promoting something I care about.”
The girls worked in groups to come up with a topic for their media campaign. With the media campaign in mind, the girls also brainstormed a script for their PSA.
            Even though most of the girls seemed sleepy in the morning, Laura Donnelly, the co-founder of Latinitas, and Karla Leal from Telemundo, gave motivational speeches to get the girls pumped up and excited about the day’s events.
“I didn’t know what to expect about today,” said 5th grader, Mia Orrick. “I had lots of fun though. I realized that I want to become a professional blogger or a journalist.”
During lunch, the girls ate huge amounts of hot pizzas, tasty cookies and cold soda to get them hyped up for the last few hours. As they ate, the girls heard four professional Latina speakers discuss their jobs, their college experiences and the obstacles they overcame to get to where they are. The girls also asked personal questions such as how many pets each speaker had and how old they were.
            The four panel speakers were Latinometro and Austinpost.com writer, Alexandra Landeros, Dell Marketing Director, Ana Villegas, Latinometro editor, Evelyn C. Castillo, and YNN managing editor, Crestina Chavez.
Latinitas co-founder, Laura Donnelly, introduces the panel speakers. The speakers are (from left to right): Alexandra Landeros, Ana Villegas, Evelyn C. Castillo and Crestina Chavez.
            “I really liked the panel because I think that role models are so important,” said volunteer, Mati Jones. “I love[d] that the girls got to see [the speakers] who look liked them, who took time out of their day to speak to these girls and are successful in their fields.”
            After the lunchtime panel, the girls had to attend their last group event to finish up on their media campaigns.
“My favorite part was the blogging because I liked typing and doing stuff on the computer,” said 5th grader, Aurayel Yazdanshenas. “It helped me get closer to what I want to be when I grow up. I also had a lot of fun.”
Once the groups were done, the girls had to present their PSA that they had created as a group and discuss why they chose to represent that certain media campaign.
Latinitas co-founder, Laura Donnelly, records the girls’ presentation on their media campaigns.
            “I expected to learn more about blogging and computers, which I did end up learning about,” said 8th grader, Brianna Martinez. “[Tech Chica] is a great a way that girls can get out there in the world and get closer through media.”
            Latinitas will be holding a Blogueras event for all high school girls on October 20 at 9 am. The event will be held at the Latinitas office on 1107 S. 8thStreet. For more information about Latinitas, contact Latinitas program coordinator, Samantha Lopez at (512) 447 – 4440 extension 137.

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