Hacking their Way into the Booming Tech Industry, On Roadtrip Nation XIII

In an industry incubating the world’s next innovative leaders, what will the future look like if it does not include more young people from diverse backgrounds?

The tech industry is booming and offering young people with coding skills an opportunity to jump into high-salaried positions, sometimes even before completing their college degrees. However, of the total computer science degrees awarded in 2014, only 16.5% were given to women and only 5.8% to underrepresented minorities.

The glaring lack of diversity raises cause for concern especially among the younger generation as they seek leaders they can relate to and who are finding success and creating impact through their work. Roadtrip Nation XIII takes a closer look at diversity in Tech, as we grapple with how to encourage more young women and minorities to pursue education in computer science. Three young coders venture out on a road trip where they meet with hackers, volcanologists, and CEOs who are crushing the stereotypes and making their own mark in the industry.

Despite her love and curiosity for computer science, 20-year-old Natalie lacks role models in her chosen field of coding, especially as a young Latina entering a male-dominated field. Her working-class family living in Malden, Massachusetts supports her pursuits, but the college classroom often feels lonely and full of obstacles unique to her upbringing as the daughter of Brazilian immigrants.

Coming from Houston, Texas, 29-year-old Robin grew up in a small Native American tribe with limited access to technology. Although she has a passion for computer science, she also feels like her pursuit of higher education distances her from her family. On this roadtrip, she hopes to learn how others like herself succeed by standing out from the crowd instead of conforming to cultural expectations.

As a working student, father, and motorcycle mechanic, 26-year-old Zoed from Long Beach, California often faces skepticism over his decision to pursue computer science. However, he’s determined to prove that one’s appearance has nothing to do with their passions, goals and abilities.

Traveling across 5,064 miles from Los Angeles to Boston, our road-trippers Natalie, Robin and Zoed meet with experienced professionals who offer their advice and share stories of success. They prove that, despite the obstacles facing many women and young minorities in today’s tech industry, there is still a path to success. Whether learning how hacker Samy Kamkar went from nearly landing in federal prison at age 16 to starting a successful career in computer science, or how leaders like Dima Elissa from Chicago are changing the way we practice medicine with the advances of 3D printing, each road-tripper discovers that embracing your true passion and unique identity is the best way to answer your calling in life.

Media Contact

Download Social Media Toolkit.
Loureen Ayyoub, loureen@roadtripnation.com
Christina Reagan, creagan@kqed.org

Funding
Roadtrip Nation XIII
is made possible by:
Microsoft

Websites and Social Media
Website: roadtripnation.com
Education Site: roadtripnation.org
Twitter: twitter.com/RoadtripNation
Facebook: facebook.com/RoadtripNation
YouTube: youtube.com/roadtripnation

About Roadtrip Nation

Roadtrip Nation started in 2001 when three friends fresh out of college weren’t sure what to do with their lives. Their solution? To road-trip around the country and ask people who do what they love how they got to where they are today. What started as a road trip sparked an annual documentary series, a number of books, online tools, and an educational organization—all dedicated to helping individuals define their own roads in life. In 2009, Roadtrip Nation expanded into education with the creation of The Roadtrip Nation Experience, a project-based self-discovery curriculum designed to help students explore their identities and find careers aligned with their interests. Today, Roadtrip Nation continues to empower individuals to create meaningful lives doing what they love. To learn more about Roadtrip Nation, visit www.roadtripnation.com. For more information about Roadtrip Nation in education, visit www.roadtripnation.org.

About KQED Public Television

KQED Public Television, one of the country’s most popular public television stations, brings the values of public media to homes around the Bay Area with EMMY® Award–winning programming that inspires, informs and entertains. KQED produces local series like Check, Please! Bay AreaTruly CASan Francisco Opera and ImageMakers, as well as popular programs for national broadcast such as Jacques Pepin: Heart & Soul and Film School Shorts. KQED also distributes programming, including Joseph Rosendo’s Travelscope, Roadtrip Nation and Joanne Weir Gets Fresh, to public media stations across the country. KQED Public Television channels are KQED 9 (San Francisco/Bay Area, also available in HD), KQED Plus (Bay Area, also available in HD) and KQET (Monterey/Salinas). KQED also offers digital channels available via XFINITY and over-the-air, each with distinct quality programming: KQED World, KQED Life, KQED Kids and KQED V-me (Spanish language).

About American Public Television

APT (APTonline.org) has been a leading distributor of high-quality, top-rated programming to America’s public television stations since 1961. Since 2004, APT has distributed approximately half of the top 100 highest-rated public television titles. Among its 300 new program titles per year are prominent documentaries, news and current affairs programs, dramatic series, how-to programs, children’s series and classic movies, including For Love of Liberty: The Story of America’s Black PatriotsA Ripple of Hope, Rick Steves’ Europe, Newsline, Globe Trekker, Simply Ming, Joseph Rosendo’s Travelscope, America’s Test Kitchen From Cook’s Illustrated, Lidia’s ItalyP. Allen Smith’s Garden Home, Midsomer Murders, Moyers & Company, Doc Martin, Rosemary & ThymeBBC World News, The Rat Pack: Live and Swingin’, Johnny Mathis: Wonderful, Wonderful! and John Denver: The Wildlife Concert. APT also licenses programs internationally through its APT Worldwide service. In 2006, APT launched and nationally distributed Create® – the TV channel featuring the best of public television’s lifestyle programming. APT is also a partner in the WORLD™ channel expansion project including its web presence at WORLDcompass.org. For more information about APT’s programs and services, visit APTonline.org. For more information on Create, visit CreateTV.com.