By now, it is no secret that there aren’t enough Latine STEM workers. In fact, a recent analysis conducted by the Pew Research Center found that only eight percent of STEM workers are Latine. This underrepresentation happens outside of the United States too. Latin American countries and European countries don’t see enough Latines in the STEM workforce.
However, there are people in our community who are breaking down the barriers to giving themselves the space they deserve in these fields.
This is the case for Salomé Valencia López, a young Latina. After dedicating time to hone her technological skills, which are part of STEM, she is now getting the chance to present her work to NASA. More specifically, a video game she developed, “Girls Power Game.”
Karol G becomes a key factor in Salomé Valencia López’s journey
Valencia López, 11, was able to get this opportunity thanks to help from Karol G’s foundation, Con Cora, which focuses on empowering women and girls who are in vulnerable situations. The young video game creator was also supported by the foundation She Is.
Through the support of these women-led foundations, she has now become part of the third edition of the “Ella Es Astronauta-Colombia” program. During her time in the program, the young Latina will receive training in STEM areas and get the chance to become acquainted with the NASA Space Center in Houston, Texas. She will travel to Houston in August to present her video game to NASA. Thirty-four other Colombian girls will join this program; they will be announced at later dates.
Due to her grand accomplishment, her classmates are already lovingly calling her, “NASA girl,” which she disclosed during an interview with El Colombiano.
Born and raised in Colombia, Valencia López was trained by experts from the NASA Space Center in Houston when she won second place in the “She is An Astronaut” content. According to El Colombiano, this training taught her about various STEM topics such as robotics, 3D designs, artificial intelligence, and business skills.
About the video game
The skills she picked up in this program inspired her to design her video game. However, she knew she needed more guidance, which is why she opted to enroll in private programming classes. With the support of her family and the money she obtained from selling gummies and candy she sold in her local park, she was able to pay for the private classes.
The video game, “Girls Power Game,” has three levels. It prompts its users to combat challenges by answering questions with information from a digital library within the game. The questions pertain to general information about women scientists with the hope that the players will learn while they overcome the obstacles of the video game.
During the game, the players will get asked about Diana Trujillo, Nadia Sánchez, and more.
“The first level of the game consists of an astronaut who is in outer space and must overcome some obstacles. It is designed in honor of astronauts and their mission patches. The second is an alien world in honor of the crews who travel to outer space and take risks and the third level is a rocket that must avoid colliding with asteroids and is in honor of the Artemis mission and the Orion rocket, which will lead to the first woman to the Moon,” Salomé explained to El Colombiano.
Salomé hopes to become an astronomer when she grows up and use her knowledge to continue the exploration of celestial bodies, stars, and galaxies.