Why did you want to be involved with this campaign?
I think immediately when they told me about it I was like, "Yeah, this is perfect." I kind of witnessed the power of technology in underprivileged schools because that literally is my mom's story. My mom has been a teacher for 20 years in Oakland [,California]—and not in the great parts of Oakland. Those underprivileged and underserved schools do not have the resources or the budget to have that type of access. We glamorize being a singer, a dancer, an athlete, and that's awesome, but most kids just say, "I want to be famous." What I saw through my mom bringing technology into her schools, [was] her opening a door that otherwise they wouldn't have been able to see—opportunities for themselves in other fields and in other ways.
[My mom] was just telling me about bringing in 3-D printers to schools. First of all, I had just recently seen a 3-D printer [and] I thought it was the coolest shit in the world, and I'm 20 years old. That's something that is so cool for a young person to be able to see, have it right in front of them, and be hands-on, like "Wow that exists. I can do that, I can make that happen." I think it's really cool, especially with how many tech jobs there actually are in the real world. It's a real world thing that they can achieve and they can get out there and do. So I think it's just kind of putting a spotlight on them and allowing them to be able to just open their minds.
STEM is a huge industry, but there are so few women involved—especially women of color—that most kids don't even think about having jobs in that field, especially young girls. When I was in middle school, STEM was such a boy's club.
That's what my mom says. Many times, as young women, we're encouraged more to go the artsy route towards creative writing or something else, and that's awesome if you want to do it. It's cool to see not just diversity but diversity as far as gender in that field.
So what exactly does your role with the campaign entail?
I shot a PSA and basically, the angle is "There's already me, there's already so and so, but we need more yous. Go after something that's for you." I feel like that's a powerful statement [to tell] kids. You could be the next LeBron James or you could be the next so and so, and it's always this celebrity or whatever. But to say to a kid that you could be the next you, that's powerful. You can create your own future and look at all these opportunities that are here for you and look at all the people that are going to help you get there. I think that's kind of the thing that's around what it is today. I think it's powerful and it's very much connected to what I personally have experienced again through my mom and both of my parents being educators. [I'm] raising awareness, but also, because I'm young, I get those kids who are in the programs excited about it and even more hyped up about the stuff that they're learning and they're into, knowing that I'm seeing them and I'm watching them and I'm encouraging them to keep going in that field.