Since 2022, TMC has proudly sponsored the AAUW Long Beach chapter’s annual STEM Career Conference for 7th and 8th-grade girls. This conference stands as one of the most enduring and esteemed non-profit initiatives, dedicated to advancing equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, and research.

Over the years, the Long Beach chapter has received feedback indicating the conference’s profound effectiveness in inspiring young girls to pursue further education in STEM fields. 

For the last 3 consecutive years, TMC has had the privilege of contributing coding program demonstrations and participating in panel discussions addressing STEM careers and the challenges faced by young women from diverse backgrounds. 

Last year, TMC’s developer, Leslie Gonzalez, was selected as the keynote speaker before an audience of 250 young girls. Her keynote focused on her journey of overcoming obstacles as a woman of color in a male-dominated field. Leslie’s path to achieving her dream of becoming a software developer was marked by numerous challenges, yet her perseverance and courage ultimately led her to success. Her narrative served as an empowering message for girls to persist in the face of adversity and to cultivate a strong support network. 

During this year’s conference, Leslie continued her contribution by leading a workshop demonstrating the role of a software developer in front of a classroom full of eager students. When asked about her motivation for her continuous participation in this event, here’s what she had to say: 

I want to inspire girls to go into STEM fields to know what I didn’t know at their age. It is not easy and you WILL be a minority, but your gender isn’t a reason to stop you from succeeding. I especially love sharing the true diversity STEM fields can be and how it’s needed in any industry. 

This year’s keynote speaker was Stem Cell Researcher, Alexxandra Hurtado, who shared her inspiring journey to her career and encouraged girls to never give up, even if people tell you “you can’t do it”.

Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a remarkable 79% increase in STEM occupations over the past three decades, with a projected further increase of 11% from 2020 to 2030, the gender gap in STEM education graduates persists. This highlights the ongoing need to identify and address these limitations and challenges to close the disparity. TMC’s President and CEO encapsulates it best:

In order for historically marginalized communities to be successful in computer science and STEM, it starts with our youth. It begins by normalizing these fields and making people feel comfortable being part of these communities.”

-Jennifer Harris | TMC President & CEO