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Fourth Annual Diversity in Tech Awards Celebrate Youth and Educator Champions

Mouse honorees are New Yorkers bridging the diversity gap in STEM and Computer Science education

NEW YORK, April 25, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Mouse, one of the nation's most impactful youth development nonprofit organizations, today announced the Youth and Educator winners of their fourth annual Diversity in Tech Awards (DIV). Brenda Encarnacion, a student at the Hudson High School of Learning Technologies in Manhattan and Betulia Lindsey-Freeman, educator at the Marsh Avenue School for Expeditionary Learning in Staten Island, will be honored on May 1, at the 2019 Diversity in Tech Awards Gala in New York City. Both individuals were chosen amongst hundreds of nominees for their commitment to using technology to bridge the gap of racial and gender inequality in tech fields.

Encarnacion is a senior at Hudson High School of Learning Technologies, who designs technology to solve the daily challenges endured by people with cerebral palsy. Most recently, she assisted in the development of two prototypes:

  • The Locus: A wearable add-on designed to increase the freedom and independence of people, especially those with communication limitations and non-verbal disabilities and;
  • The Lazer Lane Builder: An assistive wheelchair attachment that allows wheelchair users to have the space they need to travel on busy streets by alerting pedestrians of their presence.

For more than three years, Encarnacion has been a member of the Mouse Design League—a design and technology program where high school students create inventions to make a positive impact on the lives of others. She is one of many student innovators who are building technology projects to address social needs.

Educator award winner, Freeman has been a dedicated technology education specialist for more than 30 years in the New York City's education system. After serving five years as a staff developer for the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE), she returned to the classroom, to teach sixth and eighth graders about technology. Freeman readily embraced the distinguishing benefits technology education produces in youth development, and later implemented a Mouse educator development program to serve as a resource for children and teachers at Marsh Avenue School for Expeditionary Learning. With the help of Mouse, Freeman conducts various training sessions for the school's staff members and teaches them how to incorporate technology into their everyday learning curriculums.

Mouse is committed to increasing diversity in tech and creates opportunities for youth from underserved neighborhoods to realize their potential—and the potential of technology—to create lasting change in schools and communities and fuel the nation's future. "This year alone, Mouse is on track to positively impact over 60,000 students nationwide through structured STEM and computer science programs and curriculum."

Approximately, 132 New York City schools are currently using Mouse's learning platform, of which 63 percent have been identified as low income. Amongst the student demographic, 38 percent are female, and 28 percent black and Hispanic. By providing students from all ethnic backgrounds with daily access to STEM and Computer Science resources, Mouse is simultaneously narrowing the diversity gap, and improving the representation of women, black and Hispanic technology professionals from low-income areas.

"The opportunity and access to technology education for underrepresented youth remains a critical component to solving for diversity in technology. It is a great honor and privilege for LiveIntent to be able to team up with Mouse to empower our youth through STEM education," says Kerel Cooper, senior vice president, Global Marketing at LiveIntent, a Mouse sponsor.

Mouse Board of Directors, Development Committee Chair and Head of RBC Capital Markets Technology, Jeremy Sonnenburg, agrees that "education should be all-embracing, and only when we encourage youth of all backgrounds and equip them with the right tools, skills, and confidence, can we build a community that can positively lead us into the future."

Mouse will celebrate Encarnacion and Freeman at this year's Diversity in Tech Awards, on May 1st the Bowery Hotel in New York City. This year's awards are presented by the following sponsors: BNY Mellon, Coca-Cola, Deloitte, Best Buy, Dropbox, RBC Capital, Cushman & Wakefield, MediaMath, Xandr, MongoDB, true[x], LiveIntent, Technology for Youth, Myriad Supply, and Ion Group. All proceeds for the 2019 Diversity in Tech Awards will benefit Mouse. Tickets are available here.

"At MongoDB, proactively seeking a more diverse workplace is not just the right thing to do, it's also a smart business decision. Diversity is a path to a more inclusive way of thinking; diverse teams, in every organization at MongoDB, are able to better serve our diverse set of customers and users," says Dan Heasman, Chief People Officer at MongoDB. "We're very proud to partner with organizations like Mouse that are pushing a more proactive approach to tackling diversity gaps in tech."

About Mouse
Mouse is a national youth development nonprofit that believes in technology as a force for good. We empower all youth and educators to engage with computer science and creative technology to solve real problems and make meaningful change in our world. We are committed to fostering greater diversity and humanity in STEM and Computer Science to empower youth -- and all those that educate them -- to access and amplify technology as a force for good. www.mouse.org

Media Contact: 
Finn Partners on behalf of Mouse
mouse@finnpartners.com 
212.715.1595

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