Latinas in STEM: Laura Willson’s Affinity for Coding

“My name is Laura Willson, of Chilean-Puerto Rican descent, a senior at Saint Jean Baptiste, the middle of eight children, and a girl who codes!”

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“I hope to inspire and teach other girls to try this field.”

As part of our ongoing focus on Latinos that break barriers, today we’d like you to meet Laura Willson who despite her young age has been featured in several articles as a result of her inclination for coding. Last year, Laura  participated in the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program “an innovative approach to computer science education, pairing seven weeks of intensive instruction in robotics, web design, and mobile development with engaging, career-focused mentorship and exposure led by the industry’s top female entrepreneurs and engineers.” Delighted to hear about Laura’s prodigious track, through her mother Carol, we asked her a few questions.

1. Could you provide any examples of what “coding” is?

– A few examples of coding are video games, apps, and websites. Behind all this technology are codes that run these programs and enable the video game, app or website look and run a certain way.

2. Why would young women, especially young Latinas, want to learn how to code?

–  Because it is a skill that everyone should have. Coding also helps create new apps, video games, and websites. Wanting to learn to code can do this and much more, like cure a disease. Also, the technology industry will improve greatly if more people learn how to code, especially women.

3. What is one misconception about this field?

– One misconception about of the computer science field is that a computer scientist is a man who sits in the dark and types zeros and ones into the computer.

Laura admits that “since participating in the Girls Who Code program she has become more interested in coding. She even created a Girls Who Code club in her school to give girls the opportunity to learn how to code. Recently she was selected to attend the CodeNow Program. CodeNow, a nonprofit focused on teaching under-represented youth to code. gives high school students exposure to tech companies and teaches them how to program. Laura also attends hackathons frequently and participates in worthy causes such as the Making Stride Cancer Walk to take place this upcoming October 19th.

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In a time where technology related fields are sprouting like wild weed and employment opportunities are projected to grow 15% from 2012 to 2022, as per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it’s imperative that we foster and encourage the love that Laura and other young women show for coding. Especially when the National Center for Women & Information Technology reports a decline in women’s enrollment in computer science fields.  In 2012, women made up just 18% of computer science college grads whereas back in 1985 it was 37%.

We’re absolutely sure that Ms. Laura Willson will be at the forefront of initiatives that will revert the low enrollment trend. We would like to commend her, and her parents, for representing Hispanos/Latinos in such a positive light. If you’d like to follow Laura in her stellar journey, you can do so via twitter @Willson_Laura97 or her blog at lauralynnwillson.com.

Pa’lante Laura!

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Pa’lante Latino showcases current events in the arts, entertainment, politics, and culture as it affects our community. Above all, we are ferocious advocates of the contributions that Hispanics/Latinos have made to the United States and feature articles based on historical facts to reaffirm our relevance. Please feel free to email us at info@palantelatino.com
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  1. Websites with My Coding Experiences | I Am A Girl Who Codes - September 28, 2014

    […] Latinas in STEM: Laura Willson’s Affinity for Coding […]

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