This iD Tech alumna was recognized by the White House after founding nonprofit CoderDojo NYC.
Now, she's a Program Manager at Microsoft and a powerful advocate for girls in STEM.
Rebecca is an advocate to encourage more youth and minorities in tech, especially women. But that isn’t just a title—she’s making things happen, including co-founding CoderDojo NYC.
“My journey began as a 14-year-old girl at iD Tech Camps held at MIT, giving me an early chance to explore my passions. Two weeks there changed my life; I was introduced to the idea of technology as a fun and exciting career, and not some lofty idea for engineers hiding in a lab,” Rebecca says.
Rebecca was born to Hispanic and Asian immigrant parents, who instilled the significance of education and philanthropy in her from a young age. After her time at iD Tech, her passion for STEM and helping others led her to co-found CoderDojo NYC, a non-profit organization that provides STEM experiences to over 1,500 youth annually in a fun, creative, collaborative way. CoderDojo NYC boasts an impressive and very rare 50/50 gender split and its students are ethnically diverse.
“We hope to not only continue to encourage more youth into STEM, but also to provide the foundation for valuable computational thinking skills that will allow them to pursue their passions,” Rebecca says.
After graduating high school, Rebecca came back to iD Tech as an instructor, where she says helping youths discover the power of technology stuck with her. She felt especially invested in the inspiration of minorities and girls.
“We’re here on this planet to make meaningful connections; worth more than a ‘handout’, or being treated differently as a ‘hand-up’—we want ‘handshakes’, to be included,” says Rebecca.
Rebecca’s work ethic is practically tireless. In 2013, she became the youngest U.S. White House “Champion of Change” for Tech Inclusion at the age of 22, and the recognition didn’t stop there. The next year, Rebecca was named one of Glamour magazine’s “Top 35 Women Under 35 Changing the Tech Industry.” In 2015, she was named one of the “Top 99 Outstanding Women” by AskMen, and this year was named as Hispanicize’s STEM Star.
She’s been featured in dozens more articles, and for good reason. After co-founding CoderDojo NYC, she was a Developer at Do Something, the largest U.S. nonprofit for youth and social change. Do Something breaks down large campaigns—like expanding the representations of women in cinema—into manageable steps for youths to take action on.
Rebecca then transitioned to CTO of Greatist, a fitness and wellness media startup dedicated to accessible and maintainable healthy lifestyles. Not long after that, she became a Developer Evangelist at Squarespace, a company that provides the resources for people to build their ideas on the web. She was also the Technical Head of Product at Next Caller, helping to grow the next generation of Advanced Caller ID and fraud detection.
Other accomplishments for Rebecca include speaking at Girls Who Code, mentoring at the Technovation Challenge, and representing TEALS (Technology Education and Literacy in Schools) in the NYC area (an initiative to get STEM into underprivileged schools).
A self-proclaimed “Jill of all trades,” Rebecca now works as a Program Manager for Microsoft for Tech Jobs Academy, a 16-week technical training program preparing talented New Yorkers for in-demand tech jobs in cloud and server administration.
She also does speaking engagements where she talks about technology “with a special blend of mindfulness and authenticity.”
She has spoken internationally in Japan, Ireland, Costa Rica, Germany, and Guatemala, as well as across the United States. She says she’s “always looking for new opportunities to share my story as a first-generation Mexican, Filipino, and Japanese woman in technology, and to encourage more women and minorities into STEM.”
Rebecca wants girls (and boys!) to know there are opportunities out there to follow their passion with dedication and sincerity, and to never stop searching for ways to improve themselves and the world around them.
Inspired by Rebecca's Story?