Back row: Amy Thompson, Vanessa Santillan, Paola Diaz Hernandez, Jennifer Vazquez, Selah Argent, Adolfo Corral. Front row: Vanessa Ponce, Anali Salazar and Eve Javier.

On Friday, July 26, Santa Barbara City College Physics instructor Amy Thompson, Coordinator of Equity Programs Adolfo Corral, and 10 SBCC students attended a unique one-day event in Los Angeles supporting women of color in technology: the 2019 Innovation CO-LABoration.

The conference, titled “Women of Color in Tech Taking Center Stage,” brought together executives, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, activists and students to address some of the most pressing issues in the industry, including the recruitment, retention and advancement of women of color in technology. 

Through sessions, panels, workshops, and demos the students were afforded an interactive experience that engaged their creativity, sparked their curiosity and challenged their perceptions, inviting them to implement real change in their organizations and communities.

SBCC student Vanessa Santillan enjoyed the Tecnolatinx’s demo, praising the artwork “created by people like me in Virtual Reality (VR).” She added, “The virtual gallery was dedicated to migrant mothers. I felt at home browsing through their 3D space. It’s not every day I see something relatable in tech!”

Since its founding in 1997, has been on a mission to inspire and guide women from all over the world by providing inclusive platforms designed to ensure their voices and ideas are recognized. seeks to help women become leaders in an effort to elevate the industry and inspire them to be a part of the change they believe in. 

Explaining how impressed she was by the use VR to tell stories to present a compelling message, SBCC student Jennifer Vazquez commented, “This [VR] segment caught my eye because I have an interest in VR technology and how it can be used in multiple ways such as video games, representing medical issues, and now presenting real world problems.”

The students were able to attend the conference thanks to the support of the SBCC Foundation, the Title III Removing Barriers to STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Math] Success Grant and the STEM Transfer Program.


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