Meet the sister developers behind the human trafficking app
But first, they have to explain to their mother hackathons are not just parties.
Their birth certificates say Penelope and America Lopez and their hustle says East L.A. But to the tech world, they are known as the “Cyber Code Twins.” They shared the same womb and now they are on the same mission to bring tech back to their communities and to inspire youth into tech . They are applying their tech skills to combat one of the most dire crimes today-human trafficking. Their project Beacon of Hope is an IoT app that helps track the location of human trafficking victims. They aren’t just making their momma proud, they are making LA proud, and making the world a safer place with wearable tech and mobile apps.
Their company has an impressive portfolio of awards and community outreach attached to that Lopez name that includes recognition at LA’s Best Awards for being role models in tech in the alumni of LA’s Best After School Enrichment Program. They have also been prized winners at top tech events that include first place at AngelHack. They have been honored by Hilda L. Solis, former Secretary of Labor under Barack Obama, and have been featured on TEDx Talk on “The Hackathon Effect.” They have also been inspiring youth as featured speakers at Girls Who Code. Their LA hustle has also gotten them international attention when they graced the business start up platform 4YFN Barcelona and were part of the chosen Top Ten Latino Leaders for the Delegation of the Foreign Ministry of Foreign Affairs at “Start-up Nation.”
Here is what they had to say about their dreams, their influences, and getting their mom to understand that Hackathons are not just parties.
We’re local at…
Born and raised in East LA.
Our hobbies and passion projects include…
startups, hackathons, and learning the latest tech in IoT, VR, Amazon Alexa, and bots.
Our typical work day consists of…
doing hackathons, research, startups
…. But according to my mom our day consists of
according to my mom I do parties in the weekend…mom really, we do code at hackathons in the weekend. Took her awhile to know that as she started following us on social media to see we are doing exactly that…and yes, sometimes hackathons does come with a party ;)
Our Dream in our work and lives...
is to bring tech back to our communities as well. It does matter where we come from because our communities is what made us to create those tech. That’s why you need diversity in tech to reflect our generation. In life, we are still in keeping in touch with our communities to inspire kids and adults alike, and helping grow our tech communities across borders as well.
We come from a family that is …
Supportive and always asking on what we are doing. They even try out our projects and also joined in on the sharing economy. (That’s because they want to know who are we bringing home to. No mom, they are just friends. Developer Friend Zoned.)They keep up with tech as they beat us in using other social media like snapchat and whatsapp.
Our first job in the field was…
doing workshops teaching kids how to code over a summer.
We knew we wanted to become a developer when…
we went to an AT&T hackathon
We learned a lot from…
LA’s Best, Innovation Lab from CSULA, AngelsHack, Justin Wu from Hackapreneur
The values that are important in an employer..
integrity, communication, and a love for their communities
An employee in the tech sector needs to know…
to know how to promote themselves in social media, presenting, networking and to be successful in our field of work is not to do a scarcity mentality. Share what you know and be engaged in your community by coding some basics: C++, JS, APIs
We felt the most accomplished in our career when….
we can teach others what I have learned
We define success as..
Success is not what you accomplish in life, it is what you inspire others to do.
The three most influential Latinx in our lives are…
The Chapa Twins from Stanford, Alberto from LOFT Coders, and our mom as she encourages us to do better
Our advice to aspiring professionals..
You are never going to feel 100% ready when an opportunity arises. The best thing you can do is share it with your community and go for it.
Looking for a Community and an opportunity to help you thrive ?
Check back next week for other Latinx game changers and innovators shaking things up in our series of Latinx in STEM spotlights for Latino Heritage Month.
Written by Michelle Cruz.
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