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Melanie Almenas

Place of birth:

Brooklyn, NY

Family Heritage:

Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Spain

Education:

High School Student

Current job:

Student at Lyons Community School

Bio

I am currently a high school student attending a public school. I'm involved in my school's robotics class, I am a programmer in training, and I attended the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program last summer. On Saturdays, I take Biology classes at CityTech as part of the CollegeNow program. I recently won the title of Miss Queens Outstanding Teen 2017. It's a local pageant for the teen division of Miss America pageants. I will be competing for state in May.

Bio

My platform for my title is, ¨Break the mold. Learn to code."I'm encouraging people who aren't stereotypically seen as programmers to try coding. In the following months, I'm planning to do various events with children at places like schools, after school programs, foster homes, and hospitals. My goal is to reach out to children when their brains are still forming and they are able to retrieve new information more quickly compared to adults. It's also easier to introduce kids to programming because they aren't restricted by societal norms and roles. Being a part of Technolochicas will give me another outlet to spread my message.

Why would you recommend exploring careers in science and technology to other Latina girls?

I grew up in a culture that didn't expect girls to be involved in the technology field. They were at most expected to be nurses, teachers, or work at a hair salon. Girls aren't seen as capable as guys when it comes to STEM fields. The first time I learned what programming and engineering was, I felt a sense of empowerment.

I was able to combine my love of science, math, and art all at once. It was something different and I was rebelling against the norms. I knew I would be challenged, yet I love that aspect. I would recommend careers in science and technology to Latina girls because it's a challenge, it's artistic, it's always evolving, and it's for everyone, especially a Latina.