Though Latina women make up about eight percent of the U.S. population and their numbers are growing, they made up only two percent of the scientists and engineers working in those professions in 2010, according to a report from the National Science Foundation.
Luz Rivas, whose love of computers at an early age changed the course of her life, is determined to increase these numbers. She believes the interest and the confidence to get into technology and science has to start early. So after attending top schools and working in big companies, Rivas has gone back to her old working-class neighborhood of Pacoima in Los Angeles, California and set up an after-school program, DIY Girls. Its aim is to get more Hispanic young women into this career trayectory.
When it comes to asking questions and getting involved in science and technology, "a lot of girls are shy and don't reach out," said Rivas. This is especially true during the critical time between middle school and high school.