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WASHINGTON, DC – The Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) today announced that Actor and Musician Paulina Chávez will serve as the spokesperson for the CSL (Code as a Second Language) program including CSL en Español. The innovative initiative introduces computer science to tens of thousands of Latino students including English Language Learners across the country. Click here for the social media video clips featuring Paulina at (CSL) https://hhf.page.link/qyac and (STEM) https://hhf.page.link/ujdr and using the hashtag #LatinxRoleModels.
Paulina is the lead in the hit Netflix series Ashley Garcia: Genius in Love, also known as The Expanding Universe of Ashley Garcia. The character Paulina plays is Ashley Garcia, who is the world’s youngest rocket scientist with PhDs in Robotics and Applied Mathematics and works at NASA.
“On Ashley Garcia: Genius in Love, I play the role of a Latina teenage genius who gets her Ph.D and a dream STEM job,” said 18-year-old Paulina, who is a Texan native and proudly of Mexican heritage. “Through this character, I want to help shatter stereotypes while inspiring Latina girls and young women to pursue their dreams in STEM. I’m working with the Hispanic Heritage Foundation to fill the confidence gap among Latina youth in STEM, featuring role models.”
According to research conducted by the Student Research Foundation in partnership with HHF, a “confidence gap” was identified for Latinas and Latinos overall in terms of STEM paths of Generation Z students. The report’s findings come at a critical time for the US during an educational and labor crisis during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a response to the findings, HHF is launching a wide-spread social media role model campaign featuring Paulina to inspire Latinas and Hispanics overall’s interest in the STEM fields.
“The STEM fields and the United States are missing out on Latino talent because of a lack of confidence and preparation — not a lack of aspiration or potential,” said Antonio Tijerino, President and CEO of HHF. “The influence of STEM role models is critical and having a young, dedicated, visionary public figure like Paulina Chávez will make a tremendous impact on our youth. I appreciate Paulina understanding her responsibility and commitment to our community.”
Born in El Paso, TX, Paulina and her family moved to San Antonio at the age of six where she discovered her love of acting through her school’s theater program. She joined drama club in second grade and immersed herself in theatre, playing lead roles in Aladdin Jr., Beauty and the Beast Jr., The Little Mermaid Jr. among others.
She began auditioning and booking roles for various short films, movies, voice-overs, regional commercials, as well as national TV commercials for Coca-Cola and ‘Food Feuds: Latin Food’ alongside award-winning chef Aarón Sánchez. She additionally co-starred as ‘Isabella’ in the thriller-series “Padre Pio” and is set to star opposite Mario Lopez in the upcoming Lifetime holiday film Feliz NaviDAD.
Paulina is also an advocate for the Latinx community and focuses her attention on giving back. This year Paulina launched the Paulina Chávez Scholarship Fund where she selected a few students from her local San Antonio community to receive special scholarships for college. She also started the #BeYourOwnKindofGenius initiative where she highlights professionals, with an emphasis on Latinas, who have carved out successful careers in STEM and other professions. Paulina believes it is important for our youth to be aware of the various career options available, as this can have a huge impact on the career choices students make and can be a determinant of future career success.
About Hispanic Heritage Foundation
The Hispanic Heritage Foundation is a national nonprofit focused on education, workforce, innovative leadership, and culture to meet America’s priorities. Through HHF’s program, Code as a Second Language (CSL), tens of thousands of students across the nation are introduced and taught to code. Once they are initiated, they are connected to a larger network of coders including mentors, workshops, activities through award-winning LOFT (Latinos On Fast Track) program for further development, connectivity and placement into the workforce and Fortune 500 companies (Visit www.HispanicHeritage.org) Follow HHF on Facebook and Twitter.