I’m determined to make Kansas City a place where everyone, no matter their background or experience level, feels more comfortable working with technology.
In their own words.
I am a senior student at Bishop Miege High School in Shawnee Mission, Kan. and a cybersecurity intern at Cerner Corporation.
I’ve been very active in the Kansas City area trying to improve STEM education for young people, particularly for girls. This advocacy basically started at age ten, when I began attending local summer camps in computer programing. I found it disappointing that I was frequently the only girl in the room.
As my technical skills grew, I began working to try and counteract the gender gap in STEM that I had already seen firsthand. I worked with KC STEM to start a local “Girls Who Code” club, providing computer science education to girls as an afterschool activity during the school year. I started a second Girls Who Code club at my high school, Bishop Miege. I co-founded a third group called KC STEMinists, which has received sponsorship and help from the United Nations Foundation’s “Girl Up” campaign, Johnson County Community College and Cerner Corporation.
I was selected to participate in a small-group discussion with Nobel Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai during her visit to Kansas City last year, in which I asked her about using technology to further her goal of educating girls. That experience caught the attention of Cerner’s Chief People Officer Julie Wilson, who encouraged me to begin a Cerner internship this year.
I was born in Kansas City, part of a large, close-knit Mexican-American family that has lived here for four generations. I have loved growing up in midtown. There is so much energy here focused on improving our community, and I’ve been able to participate in amazing experiences. Kansas City has given me opportunities to get involved in ways that many communities wouldn’t be able to.
Living in Kansas City has allowed me to develop my passions for both technology and for helping underserved people to have their voices heard. I live in a community that supports my aspirations and supports its young people.
A day in the life
I’m usually crisscrossing the city right after school and on the weekends. Last semester I was able to leave school early each day to work as a Cerner intern, for school credit. Then depending on the day, I’ll head to a Code for KC meeting, a Girls Who Code club meeting, a dance class, a Bishop Miege FIRST Robotics team meeting, or some other activity. Then, I’ll head home to complete homework.
I spend at least a few hours a week tap dancing! I’ve been taking tap classes for 15 years. It’s my favorite way to decompress.