Hispanic Heritage Month Pay It Forward Challenge: Recognizing students making a difference

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Google is hosting a Pay It Forward Challenge to recognize Latinx/Hispanic student leaders who are advancing opportunities for their local communities. We’re excited to share the work of the students below and hope you’ll be inspired by their stories.

We’ll be continually updating this post with new student features, so be sure to check back in.

Are you a social change agent in your local community? Apply by Oct 13 via our website for your chance to be featured: g.co/payitforward

Edgar Bustos
Edgar Bustos is a junior at the University of Southern California triple majoring in Economics, Business Administration, and Political Science with a minor in Law and Public Policy. He was born in Dallas, Texas, is a first-generation American, and a self-described "son of a proud Mexican woman".

Edgar has devoted his undergraduate career to supporting the development of Latinx/Hispanic students as the President of QuestBridge at his university. QuestBridge matches high-achieving, low-income students to elite universities with full scholarships. Edgar explains, "QuestBridge made college possible for me. Now, I serve as President of QuestBridge at the University of Southern California, where I partner with a talented executive board to serve college students and the surrounding community. I have prioritized training events that help first-generation/low-income students to become competitive job seekers and graduate school applicants. I am also reaching out to public schools with majority-Latinx students to sponsor events where we can teach students about scholarship opportunities." 

In an effort to increase Latinx representation in executive roles, Edgar also created Latinxs in Human Resources. Edgar uses LHR to promote the development of underrepresented communities and provide information about career paths in Human Resources. "It is my hope that by targeting the development of Latinxs before, during, and after college, I can make lasting impacts in the Latinx community." In his "spare" time, Edgar acts as a student teacher with Mission Science. He actively supports STEM exposure for Latinx/Hispanic students by leading after-school science lessons. 

How can you help?

If you, or someone you know, is a high-achieving, low-income student – you can read more about QuestBridge here. If you are a representative from a university not currently partnering with QuestBridge, please consider advocating for a QuestBridge partnership at your University.

Bianca Alvarez
Bianca is a student at The University of Texas at El Paso, the Vice President of UTEP's chapter of ACMW (Association for Computing Machinery Council on Women in Computing), a National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) AspireIT Program Leader, and "passionate about empowering Hispanic girls through technology and educational programs".

The NCWIT AspireIT program is a computer science initiative for girls in grades K-12. As a program leader, Bianca helped raise over $5,000 in 2018 to engage Hispanic girls through summer camps and programming clubs. This year, she partnered with Latinitas, a nonprofit organization focused on empowering young Latinas using media and technology. Together they hosted the summer camp "Latinitas Code Chica", aimed for girls in 4th-8th grade and will begin the "Code Chica After School Club" in late October.

"As the AspireIT Leader, I was able to share my passion in tech and teach participants fundamentals in programming and computational thinking in a fun and creative environment. My vision for the future of women in the tech industry is to see Latina girls having the same opportunity to learn programming skills at a young age, regardless of their ethnicity or economic status."

What inspires Bianca about Hispanic Heritage Month

"The magic of the Hispanic Heritage Month is about learning from other Hispanics willing to contribute to our next generation in the technology industry. To be part of the present and future and recognize that we also have inspirational role models to follow and imitate their willingness and hard work to reach our goals. Being a Latina in a technology field means being part of a minority group, it can be both challenging and difficult to 'fit in'. I strongly think that everyone is capable of thriving in the tech world. To Latina girls that want to pursue a career in technology, I will tell them not to be afraid of stereotypes and go for it."

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