Breaking News! Latina LEADS students take a behind-the-scenes look at the world of broadcasting

Posted on 05/27/2022 @ 08:04 AM

Tags: Empowerment, Women, Technology

By Melissa Cossio, LULAC Community & Workforce Development Programs Manager

People rely on news broadcasts each and every day and oftentimes plan their lives around the information they receive. They may select their outfit for the day based on a meteorologists’ report of the weather, take wellbeing advice from a healthcare professional being interviewed by an anchor, or plan a visit to a new restaurant or business being reported on by a journalist. News broadcasting also plays a pivotal role in helping communities stay up-to-date with important local, national, and international events.

But how do these news stories reach you and your families to keep you informed? Hispanic middle school-aged girls in the Latina LEADS program are learning all about the world of broadcasting.

The Latina LEADS program initiative provides middle school-aged girls with a STEAM-focused curriculum with educational lessons, interactive activities, keynote speakers, leadership development, academic and career guidance, and more! The rigorous and engaging curriculum introduces students to the important role of the arts in STEM and delves deeper into lessons focusing on the fields of technology, engineering, broadcasting, and cybersecurity. Through this initiative, LULAC and Charter Communications work closely to empower students and support efforts to increase female, Hispanic representation in STEAM fields of study and careers.

In March 2022, Charter Communications, (NASDAQ:CHTR) a leading broadband connectivity company and cable operator serving more than 32 million customers in 41 states through its Spectrum brand, generously hosted students from California, Florida, Ohio, and Texas for a virtual field trip where they joined Alex Stockwell, an anchor at the Spectrum News 1 location in Austin, TX for a behind-the-scenes tour around the studio. Students heard from professionals who work in front of and behind the cameras to make our newscasts possible every day. They learned about the important roles of meteorologists, broadcast engineers, producers, and senior managing editors.

After the tour, Emily Borchard, a meteorologist and traffic anchor with Spectrum News Austin and San Antonio, engaged students in a Q&A session where they learned more about her professional experience and role. Students asked thoughtful questions that gave them insight into how professionals collaborate as a team, work under pressure to meet tight deadlines, conduct reliable research and data collection, and use the latest technology in their roles. As an extension of this event, students engaged with a panel of broadcasting industry professionals during a second virtual field trip.

“I have learned a lot about STEAM and what it really means. Many speakers talk to us about our future and about interesting STEAM-related jobs they have,” states Katherine, a student from California, “before I joined the Latina LEADS program I was very unsure about my plans for the future. Hearing other Latinas really inspired me.”

Throughout the remainder of the program cycle, students will continue to participate in upcoming virtual field trip opportunities where they’ll hear from more role models and industry professionals in tech, engineering, and cybersecurity.

“I'm extremely grateful for the opportunity. I've learned a variety of topics and it’s helped me realize how many doors it can open for me and my future. Through the Latina LEADS program, I learned to grow in the path of engineering and gain more knowledge and comfortability with it. In addition to that, I've been opening doors for myself and getting more involved in engineering. I've been intrigued to even join my school's Robotics Team. This program has prepared me for my future because I've begun to speak with my parents and think about the career I want to have and what school I want to attend,” shares Aleyza, a student in the program.

To date, over 200 students across four states have been impacted by the Latina LEADS program. After completing the program, students report feeling more supported by the adults in their lives and demonstrated an increased interest in succeeding academically, attending college, and pursuing an education and career in the STEAM fields.

Learn more at LULAC.org/LatinaLEADS

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