Two engineers share passion for helping students in underserved communities

Meet our leadership award winners for October
Posted at 6:04 PM, Oct 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-30 18:36:27-04

(KGTV) SAN DIEGO — Two engineers are coming together in our community. They are helping students not only learn technology, but become more confident in showcasing their talents.

It’s like a real life video game. Mayte Guajardo programs a robot from her phone to navigate through a canvas, which resembles a city.

"We demonstrate how to code and get things done," said Guajardo.

Through code, she can tell the robot to do certain things in the city. 

It’s one of several free workshops offered by the nonprofit organization Greater Than Tech. Middle and high school students not only learn about STEM, but how to start a business. 

"We like to use real world applicability when it comes to technology that people are using everyday. It resembles certain things happening in their community. They go to school so there is a school in there. There are parks, so there is a park on the canvas," said Dr. Brittany Wheeler.

Wheeler and Jasmine LeFlore are the founders of Greater Than Tech. They are also aerospace engineers. 

"There is a lot more space for new ideas, new inventions to come out especially for people of color and under represented groups," said LeFlore.

The students create their own product and then present a business plan. 
They even build the robots themselves. Some of the robots even have cameras on them. They are very sophisticated. They can scan QR codes as well.

But beyond the tech, students say the confidence they gain from Wheeler and LeFlore is most valuable.

"They are basically my mothers. They have raised me and teach me a lot," said Guajardo.

"I have never seen Black women have a program like this. They are amazing. They look like me and they are doing things I want to do when I grow up," said student Rakiyah Lawal.

Wheeler and LeFlore say they are fulfilled, seeing a young girl not only create a product but command a room, promoting their product.

"We just want them to know they can do whatever they set their mind to," LeFlore added.

More than 300 students have participated in the programs.

Congratulations to our leadership award winners!