Yvonne De La Peña, Ph.D. | AT&T’s It Can Wait Campaign | Oscar Rojas | Clinic that Leaks HIV Status of Nearly 800 Patients via Email

October 2, 2015

Geek of the Week

Yvonne De La Peña, Ph.D.Yvonne De La PenaDr. Yvonne De La Peña is the Director of Learning & Engagement at CodeNow, a nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching underrepresented youth to code, collaborating with companies and professional developers to introduce students to a world of creation, technology, and future possibilities.  In this role, Dr. De La Peña manages the development, implementation, evaluation, and improvement of all educational programs; oversees curriculum design and development; and supervises student and volunteer recruitment, selection, training, and retention.  Passionate about addressing the underrepresentation of Latinas in computing, her doctoral dissertation, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), explored the characteristics of after-school programs in supporting the development of programming skills and computing concepts by young Latinas.  Dr. De La Peña has spent her career dedicated to this cause.  She is the Co-Organizer of NYC Tech Latinas, an organization dedicated to creating a dynamic network of individuals, information, and ideas to help increase the representation of Latinas in the tech industry, and she previously served as Chief Academic Officer at K12 Family Plaza, where she developed curriculum and online materials for publication based on current trends in e-learning and challenges faced by bilingual learners. She graduated with a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the School of Education & Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she focused on interactive learning media.

People’s Hero of the Week

AT&T’s It Can Wait CampaignICW BBSJIn 2013, AT&T launched its It Can Wait campaign to end texting and driving, collaborating with other telecom companies including Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, and over 200 other organizations that joined the movement.  According to AT&T, drivers who read and send text messages while driving are 23 times more likely to be in a crash.  However, statistics alone are often not enough to curb drivers’ behaviors while on the road.  The It Can Wait campaign goes a step further by putting faces behind these statistics and sharing real stories of people who have had their lives changed forever due to tragic accidents caused by distracted drivers.  In addition, the campaign encourages people to take an online pledge to “keep your eyes on the road, not on your phone,” with over 7.3 million pledges made to date.  To help drivers resist the urge to text while driving, AT&T also offers a DriveMode mobile app that silences message alerts and sends auto-replies when users are driving to let friends and family know they can’t respond.  Among the powerful videos It Can Wait has created is the story of Fletcher Cleaves, a promising football player out of Cordova High School in Memphis, TN who became paralyzed from the chest down in the aftermath of a tragic accident in 2009.  We encourage you to take the It Can Wait pledge, and to spread the word to your friends and loved ones.  You could help save someone’s life.

Multicultural Entrepreneur of the Week

Oscar RojasOscar RojasOscar Rojas is the founder and CEO of BroadWand Wireless, a company dedicated to “finding the ‘magic’ to help prepaid smartphone users optimize the consumption of their data allowance so that mobile internet is affordable for everyone.”  The company has created MOBIMAX, a next generation smartphone app for data management and control, currently available in select markets.  BroadWand also has a patent pending on a unique technology called “Intelligent Indexing and Tagging” (IIT) which will take prepaid mobile internet from 25% penetration to over 55% by 2018.  In addition to his role at BroadWand, Rojas also serves as Managing Partner at Watuu, a company that developed a keyboard app that allows users to express their emotions through song lyrics, and Managing Partner at AWA Rocks, a company that provides water water, salt and oil repellent Nano coating technology to electronics.  Rojas previously served as President of Brightstar LATAM (Latin America, where he was responsible for the strategic direction and day-to-day operations for 20 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Digital Divider of the Week

Clinic that Leaks HIV Status of Nearly 800 Patients via EmailtelemedicineA London health clinic recently confirmed that it leaked the HIV status of nearly 800 patients when an employee mistakenly sent an email newsletter to patients without using the blind carbon copy function. Patients who had opted in to the clinic’s online service to book appointments and receive test results via email were shocked and horrified to discover their HIV statuses had been leaked and are concerned about who may gain access to such private information. Although this occurred overseas, such an error could happen in any small clinic that relies on simple email programs to disseminate information. We live in a digital age where there is a persistent digital divide for low-income, elderly, minority, and rural communities who do not subscribe to broadband for cybersecurity concerns, and the telehealth applications of broadband access are a potential driver to get these groups connected. Unfortunately, while these groups can access better care thanks to telemedicine, many opt out due to these concerns, and leaks of highly sensitive personal health information exacerbate the problem.