Puerto Rico’s 2nd class of NextGen Tech Scholars graduates
Liberty Foundation and the Society of Women Coders recently celebrated the achievements of the second class of the NextGen Tech Scholars Program in Puerto Rico.
This year’s class, dubbed “the Super 44” by its 44 participants, had a 70% retention rate over the five-month program, surpassing last year’s retention numbers, organizers said.
“From the very inception of the NextGen Tech Scholars Program, our vision was clear: to empower, to inspire and to shatter the glass ceilings that have hindered women in the tech world for far too long,” said Kavya Krishna executive director of the Society of Women Coders.
“We’re thankful for Liberty Foundation’s unwavering support, for going out of their way to help with recruiting and for making this happen for all of us,” Krishna said.
The Liberty Foundation’s NextGen Tech Scholar Program is a 20-week online after-school technical training residency focusing on coding and programming for local public middle and high school female students aged 13 to 17.
The program was implemented in partnership with the Society of Women Coders, a New York City-based nonprofit organization that offers free coding, digital literacy and leadership training to young girls globally.
“Beyond the growth they achieved, from the academic standpoint this program also contributed to the personal development of each candidate,” said Yadira Valdivia, executive director of Liberty Foundation.
“I want to emphasize the commitment that each participant showed over the course of 20 weeks, the responsibility of completing all the assignments on time and the perseverance to go on even when the course became more challenging or something did not work as expected,” Valdivia said.
Ana Lucía Pérez-Escalera, one of the program’s graduates, closed the ceremony with a message about her experience as a participant.
The youngest participant this year, Pérez-Escalera, is the founder of De a Pokito por Puerto Rico, an environmental initiative educating on proper garbage disposal. She developed the movement’s website during this edition of the NextGen program.
“Being a part of this program was truly special for me because it showed me what it takes to work in technology and gave me the confidence I needed to know that I can pursue a career in this field,” Pérez-Escalera said.
“I’m very proud to be one of the Super 44 graduating today thanks to this program of the Society of Women Coders and Liberty Foundation,” she added.
The NextGen Tech Girls Scholar Program launched its first edition last year as part of Liberty’s activities to observe International Women’s Day 2022 and is part of the company’s ongoing efforts to promote gender equality.