Luz Rivas: Meet the Woman Helping Latinas Dominate STEM

August 21 - Sarah Ashlock

FIRST THOUGHT: Decisions, Decisions

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how many decisions we have to make in a day. Should I make coffee at home or run to Starbucks? Should I wear a dress or yoga pants? Should I leave by 7 or 7:15? Easier decisions feel better in the moment: Starbucks, yoga pants, 7:15. But what would happen if we chose the not-so-easy option every once in a while? Doing things that are only a sliver more difficult or time-consuming adds pep in your step. See if trying new things has a domino effect on your day, with one positive choice leading to another.


One of the most difficult decisions a girl can make is to learn something new. From choosing a macramé wall hanging to operating a new app, it takes guts to start (and even more guts to stay) the course. Let’s take STEM, for instance. When the National Girls Collaborative Project looked at male and female enrollment in AP computer science classes, it discovered that males enrolled at a rate of 81 percent, while females enrolled at a rate of just 19 percent.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Luz Rivas, Founder of DIY Girls

Oftentimes, the make-or-break moment of taking the more difficult path centers around whether you’ve got support. Otherwise, you may be clueless. Plenty of parents, for example, are plain clueless about which technological activities and courses their kids should check out. That’s why we can’t rave enough about today’s Woman to Watch, Luz Rivas.

Luz was raised in Los Angeles by Mexican immigrants. She worked two jobs in high school to save money for college, and her hard work certainly paid off. She was the first person in her family to attend college. Ever the learner, Luz took on the male-dominated field of electrical engineering, and graduated with a degree in electrical engineering before scoring a job at Motorola.

Aside from her engineering chops, Luz is also a STEM educator. Her DIY mindset inspired her to launch DIY Girls, a super cool nonprofit that offers young girls hands-on learning in the STEM fields. DIY Girls teaches girls in fourth through 12th grades a bevy of STEM topics, like creative electronics, which helps them learn about developing electronic textiles, motors and more. One of the awe-inspiring projects DIY Girls spearheaded is called InvenTeam, in which a dozen Latina students from an LA school are inventing a shelter for homeless women and kids. The goal is to create something that’s not just temporary but also portable, UV-resistant, insulated and solar powered.

Those who have collaborated with Luz remark about her passion and dedication, particularly the example she sets for Latinas. According to the DIY Girls founder herself, Latinas represent only 2 percent of employed scientists and engineers in the United States.

It comes as no surprise then that Luz took on a role in public service. In 2016, she was appointed to the Board of Public Works. Since then, she’s collected political steam and earned her current gig as a member of the California State Assembly. Hmm, I wonder if Luz’s journey might include a stint in the Oval Office? She’d have our vote.

Luz has no doubt made her single mom proud. From the San Fernando Valley to the California State Assembly, she proves that with the right mindset, you could take on the world.

Follow Luz on Twitter at @LuzRivas.


As Martin Luther King Jr. said:

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character: that is the goal of true education.”

Get On The Dot in your inbox each day.
Copyright 2018 © On The Dot Woman - All Rights Reserved Privacy Policy