DIY Girls was founded in 2011 by Luz Rivas, an MIT graduate, engineer, and educator who wanted to empower girls to pursue careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields. The daughter of Mexican immigrants, Rivas focused her efforts specifically on helping girls from low-income backgrounds, whom she knew might not otherwise receive the encouragement needed to pursue STEM. Indeed, according to the National Science Board, women make up only 29 percent of the science and engineering workforce. Of that 29 percent, only 6 percent are Hispanic or Latina.
As Brittany Levine Beckman reports for Mashable, DIY Girls hopes to change that. Today, the nonprofit recruits at schools around the United States. They search for girls who are eager to solve personal, school-wide, and community-wide problems, and help them learn the STEM skills necessary to do so.
When DIY Girls executive director Evelyn Gomez began recruiting at her alma mater, San Fernando High School, she quickly met several such girls. They shared a common concern: the rising rate of homelessness in their neighborhoods. As of 2016, San Fernando valley’s rate of homelessness had increased 36 percent, to include around 7,094 people. The girls noticed more people living on the streets, and they wanted to help, but they were unsure how.
“Because we come from low-income families ourselves, we can’t give them money,” said Daniela Orozco, one of the students recruited by Gomez.
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