San Fernando Valley Native to Lead Non-Profit STEM Organization Serving Young Girls
DIY Girls [www.diygirls.org] — aimed at increasing girls’ interest and success in technology, engineering and making through innovative educational experiences and mentor relationships — has announced that longtime supporter and volunteer Leticia Rodriguez will assume the role of Executive Director.
This announcement comes after current Executive Director Evelyn Gomez announced that she and her family will be moving to Boston, Mass., following her husband’s graduation with a doctorate degree in physics from the California Institute of Technology. Evelyn says, “Throughout the past three years, DIY Girls has allowed me to explore my passions in education and engineering while serving girls in the community in which I grew up. I am excited to work with Leticia over the next two months to ensure a seamless transition and as a DIY Girls Board member in the years to come.”
Megan Westerby, Board chair of DIY Girls, commented, “On behalf of the Board of Directors, I’d like to thank Evelyn for her amazing work as Executive Director. We’ll miss her energy, enthusiasm, and engineering mindset. DIY Girls has greatly benefited from her time with us, and we look forward to her insight on the Board. We’re incredibly excited to welcome Leticia as our new Executive Director, and believe her exemplary leadership skills will help advance DIY Girls’ mission and lead the organization as we enter an exciting growth phase.”
DIY Girls provides after-school and summer camp programs that provide hands-on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) experiences for girls in low income communities. Girls learn technical skills and apply them by creating their own creative projects and inventions. Last year, DIY Girls reached 650 girls and will be expanding to new communities in 2017.
Leticia Rodriguez brings 10 years of nonprofit management and leadership experience in education and community/economic development to DIY Girls. Most recently, Leticia served as Director of Development and Communications for South Central Scholars, where she led fund development and external communications to provide college preparation and STEM programs for low-income students across Los Angeles. She previously held positions as Director of Government and Foundation Relations for the Valley Economic Development Center, and as Development and Communications Manager for Project GRAD Los Angeles. Leticia graduated from Stanford University with a M.A. degree in Education and a B.A. in Political Science. She also served as Board Chair of the Pacoima Development Federal Credit Union, and as a Board member for the Andrés y María Cárdenas Family Foundation. Leticia is a native of the Pacoima community and graduated from San Fernando High School.
“Having grown up and worked in the community, I am thrilled to join DIY Girls as the next Executive Director and to provide much needed STEM programs for young girls,” remarked Rodriguez. “I am excited to lead DIY Girls through continued growth and to ensure continuity for the girls in our program from elementary school through college graduation and their careers. My vision is that they will return to the greater Los Angeles region as engineers, scientists, inventors, computer programmers, and more, enriching the community as a whole.”
Founded by Los Angeles Board of Public Works Commissioner Luz Rivas in 2011, DIY Girls has received various accolades for its work empowering young girls in the STEM fields, including Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams Prize (2016) and Certificates of Recognition from the California Secretary of State Alex Padilla (2016). DIY Girls has received national media coverage for their innovative approach to STEM education, including on NPR Morning Edition, Mashable, and the Huffington Post.
DIY Girls believes that every girl should have access to high quality STEM education that prepares them for jobs in technical fields of the 21st century. It is the organization’s goal to diversify the STEM fields of the future to ensure that women and underrepresented groups have a voice in shaping the technology of the future.