Since graduating CAIS in 2011, Teresa Ibarra was awarded the 2014 ESA LOFT Innovation Award and was able to present her first programming project at the White House and the Capitol in Washington, D.C. Since then, she has interned as a Software Engineering Intern at Bloomberg, Slack, IBM, CircleCI, Stitch Fix, and Lucasfilm. She has been involved in diversity and inclusion efforts in technology, and has worked before as a lead instructor for STEAM: Coders and at Bessie Carmichael Elementary School and a Senior Fellow and Mentor at Code2040. She attends Harvey Mudd College and works as a Resident Assistant, where she is due to graduate this year.
“It wasn’t until I had to teach a student of mine how to use a computer mouse that I realized my privilege. I was encouraged as a child by my parents, friends, and computer teachers at CAIS and at Lowell to tinker with software until it eventually became my passion. In contrast, my students were disadvantaged Filipina immigrants who never had the opportunity to use a computer before. Typing on a keyboard was automatic for me and alien to them.
One of my most formative experiences as a child was Ms. Reimer’s Social Studies unit on Homelessness. During the unit, she urged us to consider the lives and experiences of people different from us and to be kind to everyone, regardless of their circumstance. This and other experiences at CAIS have taught me the value of serving others and has helped shaped me to be the person I am today. It behooves me to serve others and give back by empowering students underrepresented in technology because I grew up with privilege that others don’t.”