Latina Lista ran an inspiring story on Dr. Alicia Abella, a computer and technological expert, who is on a personal mission to encourage Hispanics to pursue careers in scientific, mathematic, and engineering fields. Dr. Abella, in addition to her challenging professional life, travels the country to advocate for a greater interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Through her advocacy, she speaks to parents, students, and educators about the possibilities of working in growing and rewarding professions.
As the story points out, Dr. Abella pursued her passion in applied technology and overcame many challenging obstacles. She continued to work towards her goals, received her doctorate degree, and has a very successful and promising career at AT&T as executive director of Innovative Services Research Department. AT&T Mobility CEO, Ralph de la Vega, has given her a significant amount of praise by saying, “Dr. Abella not only personifies the American Dream, she has dedicated herself and worked tirelessly to ensuring young Latinos and Latinas understand that nothing is out of reach for them.” In addition, she has won the Great Minds in STEM award, the Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Leadership award, and received the Hispanic Engineers National Achievement Award. She has been recognized by Hispanic Business Magazine, which named her as one of the top five women of the year in 2010, has received accolades from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus for her work on green technology, and was named to the Presidential Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.
Dr. Abella’s work raises the profile of growing career fields in science, technology, math, and engineering. With the demand for skilled workers high even during the down economy, students are able to learn the value of these rewarding careers. I wrote a piece recently about immigration and visa programs in the tech field to help firms meet the demand of a skilled workforce. In this piece, I mentioned that there is a real opportunity for qualified Latinos to meet the demands of this growing segment of the economy. Dr. Abella, through lectures and mentoring programs, is bringing these opportunities to young Latinos across America.
It is well known that women and Hispanics have extremely low representation in STEM careers and university programs. Through her work, future generations of Latinos and Latinas will know that love and success for science, technology, math, and engineering are not defined by race or gender. Along the way, we need to ensure that our educational system is globally competitive and that students have the digital and technological literacy and proficiency required to excel. One way to ensure we can reach the latter goal is to make broadband access universal.