In celebration of Latinx Heritage Month, we’re excited to spotlight innovators in Computer Science of Latin American heritage!As of 2017, only 9.5% of bachelor’s degrees in Computer Science were conferred to Latino students (NCES), but there are amazing Hispanic computer scientists and engineers who are paving the way for the next generation of Latinx CS professionals. We can always use more role models to look up to, so these three trailblazers are names to know in CS fields -- and a little about their work re-imagining solutions to everyday problems.
Daniel Loreto is a Venezuelan-American engineering entrepreneur, having worked at Google, Twitter, Airbnb and Virta Health. If it has to do with machine learning or software engineering, he’s done it all for some of the biggest names in tech. Loreto studied at MIT, focusing his research on artificial intelligence, question and answering systems, as well as information extraction and retrieval. Most recently, he’s taken on a new tech venture in a thus-far unannounced company - but we know, with his expertise and amazing background, it’s going to be something big!Victoria Chávez is a Guatemalan-American computer scientist with a rebellious side. Her parents originally hoped she’d become a doctor, but when she took her first computer science classes, she became fascinated by solving problems with code. Eventually, her love of computer science combined with her childhood experiences led her to develop the app called SNAPy, a service designed to inform community members about what grocery stores nearby will accept food stamps as payment. Since then, she has taken a job at the University of Rhode Island, teaching the next generation of computer scientists.
Luis von Ahn is the Guatemalan-American co-founder and CEO of the incredible language learning app, DuoLingo, and the founder of digital security company reCAPTCHA. His work has earned him multiple prestigious fellowships and awards, including being named person of the year in 2009 by one of the biggest newspapers in Guatemala, Siglo Veintiuno. Having studied at both Duke and Carnegie Mellon University, this entrepreneur and educator now teaches at Carnegie Mellon, inspiring students to take risks and develop solutions to everyday problems using computer science.Are there other amazing Computer Science innovators of Latin American heritage you’d like us to celebrate this month? Add them in the Comments below!