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Meet a Mexican Techie and SMASH Scholar: Miguel Barba-Hernandez

This profile is part of a five part series in which the Kapor Center for Social Impact is sharing stories from our diverse tech community in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month!

Miguel Barba-Hernandez

What type of work do you do?

My current focus is being a teaching assistant in a Computer Science course for 14 underrepresented high school students that are located from all over California as part of the SMASH Academy. I also work in Product Design for East Bay College Fund and have worked as a Digital Marketing Fellow for both Google and the Hispanic Heritage Fund.

How do you identify/What is your background?

I am the son of two Mexican immigrants.

What brought you into tech?

My first interaction with using tech to build something was during my first summer as a SMASH (Summer Math and Science Honors) Academy scholar.

What do you enjoy most about your role and the work you do?

I am often changing roles but my work tends to revolve around helping to educate my community. Throughout high school I volunteered as a tutor for Metas, a program that prepares underrepresented K-12 students from San Pablo, Richmond, and throughout the Bay Area for success in higher education. This past summer I worked as a digital marketer for the immigration law firm of Dr. Marc Santamaria. Working for an immigration law firm was my way of protesting against Trump’s harsh and unfair immigration laws that are putting members of my community and my family at risk of deportation. Currently I am helping the East Bay College Fund to design a new gamified scholarship application that will help to engage more middle and high school students and hopefully increase the amount of students that will go on to graduate from college. The newest role I have taken on is being a teacher assistant for a year-long Computer Science course held by SMASH/LPFI. Courses like these are intended to expose students of underrepresented communities that would usually not have Computer Science taught in their schools. I attended one of these schools and luckily for me SMASH was there to provide the Computer Science education that my high school lacked.

Any other thoughts you’d like to share?

#DefendDACA #BlackLivesMatter