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Latinos on Fast Track Coder Summit at UTRGV!

Hispanic Heritage Foundation


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                               Media Contact: Isla Martinez. 626.814.5006


Hundreds of Latinx programmers – students, professionals and entrepreneurs – are expected for a day of workshops, presentations, and networking

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TX (March 27, 2017) – The Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) and the U.S. Army will host the Latinos On Fast Track (LOFT) Coder Summit at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Thursday, March 30, 9:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m.  Hundreds of Latino programmers – students majoring in computer science and professionals – are registered to attend the Summit, which will feature back-to-back workshops on coding-languages, career paths, tech interview process role play; start-up roadmap; interactive discussions with experts; and opportunities to expand networks in tech space as well as share in cultural pride.  Coder Summits have taken place in Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Austin and will be adding additional cities in 2017 attracting thousands of Latino programmers which join the LOFT Network.  Use the hashtag #LOFTCoders.

The LOFT Coder Summits (LCS) are part of HHF’s larger Code as a Second Language (CSL) initiative which includes HHF teaching computer coding to middle and high schools in over 20 regions across the country, video game and app challenges, hackathons and other activities.  HHF also connects Latino programmers through the LOFT Network for mentoring, sharing of ideas, building community and accessing resources to move forward in the tech space.

“We are thrilled to partner with the Army to identify, prepare and position Latino programmers for maximum impact in their careers, as innovators and a source of inspiration to others,” said Jose Antonio Tijerino, President and CEO of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation. “We are at the intersection of a nation in need of tech workers and a talent-rich Latino community.  We want to continue to shatter stereotypes and redefine the landscape of technology by tapping Latino coders across the country from Rio Grande Valley to Silicon Valley.”

“The U.S. Army is deeply committed to helping develop our nation’s next generation of leaders in science, technology, engineering and math,” said Lt. Col. Michelle Nhambure, Army Marketing and Research Group. Through important partnerships with organizations like HHF, we’re able to educate students, teachers and counselors of the significant educational resources, training and career opportunities the Army offers in these high-demand fields. We encourage people to visit for more information.”

9:00 am – 9:40 am Registration           
9:40 am – 9:50 am Welcome Remarks – Dr. Maggie Hinojosa, Vice President for Strategic Enrollment, UTRGV
9:50 am – 9:55 am Welcome Remarks – Captain Adeniran Dairo, U.S. Army
9:55 am – 10:05 am Keynote Speaker – Dr. Andres Figueroa, Computer Science Professor, UTRGV
10:05 am – 10:55 am Workshop Session 1 – Chief Warrant Officer Tanya Matos, U.S. Army; Oscar Gonzalez, Principal Software Engineer at Sawyer Effect; Haydee Cruz,  Flinn Scholars Program Coordinator at Flinn Foundation
10:55 am – 11:05 am Networking Break
11:05 am – 11:55 am Workshop Session 2 – Chief Warrant Officer Tanya Matos, U.S. Army; Oscar Gonzalez, Principal Software Engineer at Sawyer Effect; Haydee Cruz,  Flinn Scholars Program Coordinator at Flinn Foundation
11:55 am – 12:40 pm Lunch
12:40 pm – 1:25 pm Panel – Alberto Avalos, Innovation & Tech Program Manager at HHF, Haydee Cruz, Flinn Scholars Program Coordinator at Flinn Foundation, U.S Army Lead
1:25 pm – 1:35 pm Networking Break
1:35 pm – 2:25 pm Start-Up Pitch
2:25 pm – 2:35 pm Networking Break
 2:35 pm – 2:45 pm Featured Speaker – Oscar Gonzalez, Principal Software Engineer at Sawyer Effect
 2:45 pm – 3:00 pm Closing Discussion  

There is a need to fill a million technology jobs by 2020 (currently 500,000 jobs are open), yet 90 percent of schools don’t teach coding. IT jobs will grow 22% through 2020. Of the nearly 250,000 employees working for the nation’s leading tech companies, just 4 percent are Hispanics. Approximately 7 percent of computer science grads are Latino according to the advocacy report by “Change the Equation,” Latinos are less likely to pursue careers in engineering or computer science today than they were at the beginning of this millennium.  The CSL program is designed to fill that gap.

“The UTRGV Office of Community Relations is pleased to support the Hispanic Heritage Foundation and the U.S. Army with the LOFT Coder Summit. Partnering to bring national programs to the region is important to us in expanding educational opportunities for students and empowering leaders,“ said Velinda Reyes, Assistant Vice President, Community Programs and Operations, UTRGV.


The Hispanic Heritage Foundation, which was originally established by the White House in 1987, inspires, prepares, positions and connects Latino leaders in the classroom, community and workforce to meet America’s priorities including in tech. HHF also promotes cultural pride, accomplishment, and the great promise of the community through public awareness campaigns seen by millions. HHF is headquartered in Washington, DC, and Los Angeles with satellite offices in Miami, New York, Silicon Valley, and now Mexico City. Learn more at Follow Hispanic Heritage Foundation on Facebook and Twitter.


The Army Marketing and Research Group (AMRG) is the U.S. Army’s national marketing, marketing research and analysis and accessions analysis organization. The AMRG develops innovative and effective ways to: connect with the American public and make the Army more accessible and understood; increase awareness of both the benefits and value of Army service; and motivate the most qualified candidates t0 choose the Army as their service of first choice.

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