For Victoria Chávez, programming has always been a tool for helping others and addressing social problems. At her first hackathon, inspired by her family’s experiences, she created “SNAPy,” an app that could tell users which stores in their area would accept food stamps. After graduating from Brown University with a degree in Computer Science and Hispanic Studies, she decided she was more interested in finding solutions to the barriers that prevent low-income students from persisting in STEM fields than pursuing a Silicon Valley career. To support this goal, she enrolled in Brown’s Master’s program in Urban Education Policy and took a position as a researcher at CS4RI, an organization that works to ensure that all Rhode Island students have access to high-quality computing education.
Currently, Victoria teaches Web Design and Programming at the University of Rhode Island. As a TECHNOLOchicas Ambassador, she’s also committed to encouraging younger Latinas to explore computing. Her message to the next generation of coders is, “Follow your passions and use them to change the world.”