Why I'm Running
As we begin the New Year, it is a time of both hope and concern.
Our President seems more focused on proving his manliness than improving the lives of American families. Middle class and low income families have been left behind, and the tax bill just signed into law will make things even worse. And, too many of our children aren’t receiving the education they need and deserve.
And yet, the American Dream remains alive. As Americans, optimism comes naturally to us. If we’re going to preserve the American Dream, we have to preserve opportunity: The opportunity to create a better life for your family... the opportunity to succeed, regardless of gender, ethnicity, birthplace, or sexual orientation…and the opportunity to carve your own path.
I know all this from firsthand experience, and I want to make sure that every person has the same opportunity. That’s why today, I‘m announcing my campaign for State Assembly.
I am an engineer by training, an educator by passion, and a public servant by instinct.
I was raised by my immigrant mother who cleaned bathrooms to pay for food and rent. My fifth-grade teacher encouraged me to learn about computers and my high school math teacher encouraged me to apply to MIT. Four years later, I graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering from MIT, where fewer than one in four students in the program were female. After working in engineering, my passion to get kids interested in science and technology led me to pursue a Master of Education from Harvard University.
I believe that science and technology offer a vital road to good jobs, and the fact that girls and women are not encouraged to pursue these fields leaves many at a permanent economic disadvantage. As a result, I founded DIY (Do-It- Yourself) Girls, a nonprofit based in Pacoima that offers programs for girls interested in science and technology. Since 2012, DIY Girls has served over 2,000 girls in grades 4-12, helping them to develop 21st century skills and capabilities as engineers and designers.
In the Assembly, I will continue to focus on creating economic opportunity for every Californian by fighting for quality educational opportunities that prepare them for higher paying jobs. And, I will work with local businesses to make sure they have opportunities to compete fairly with giant corporations.
I’m proud that as I start this campaign, I have the support of so many local leaders who have dedicated their careers to creating opportunity, including Congressman Tony Cardenas, Secretary of State Alex Padilla, and LA Councilwomen Nury Martinez and Monica Rodriguez. I’m just as proud to have the support of over 50 leaders in the fields of education and engineering, who know firsthand about the importance of creating economic opportunity through science and technology.
In the coming months, I look forward to hearing your concerns and dreams. I will work hard to earn your trust and support.
Congressman Tony Cardenas
Congresswoman Norma Torres
Congresswoman Maxine Waters
Congressman Pete Aguilar
Congressman Howard Berman (retired)
Congressman Salud Carbajal
CA Secretary of State Alex Padilla
CA State Controller Betty Yee
Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian
Assemblymember Jackie Goldberg (retired)
LA City Council President Herb Wesson
LA Councilwoman Nury Martinez
LA City Councilman Mitch Englander
LA Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez
LA Councilman Bob Blumenfield
LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl
LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn
San Fernando City Councilman Joel Fajardo
City of Calabasas Mayor Fred Gaines
Azusa Unified School District Board Member Xilonin Cruz-Gonzalez
California Democratic Party
Democratic Party of the San Fernando Valley
Los Angeles County Young Democrats
Stonewall Democratic Club
Stonewall Young Democrats
New Frontier Democratic Club
Planned Parenthood Advocacy Project Los Angeles County
Women's Political Committee
United Firefighters of Los Angeles City
Los Angeles Police Protective League
Latinas Lead CA
Voices for Progress
Alex Reza, Retired LAUSD Teacher and Community Activist
Gricelda Gutierrez, Telfair Elementary - Pacoima
Anita Zepeda, Executive Director, Vaughn Charter School
Ford Roosevelt, CEO, Project Grad
Carmen Gutierrez - San Fernando High School Alumni Association
Cristina Razo, O'Melveny Elementary - San Fernando
Norma Rodriguez, Telfair Elementary - Pacoima
Steve List - Sylmar Charter HS Agriculture Program
Violet Mardirosian - San Fernando HS Math/Science Magnet coordinator and DIY Girls InvenTeam Leader
Jose Razo - Principal, Telfair Elementary School - Pacoima
Vanessa Garza - Principal, Girls Athletic Leadership Charter School - Arleta
Donna Mandosa , Geffen Academy UCLA
Science, Engineering, and Technology Leaders *
Heren Molina, Past President, American Society of Civil Engineers - Pacoima
Rosa Delgado, President, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers - Sylmar Native
Leticia Rodriguez, Executive Director, DIY Girls - Pacoima
Hosna Qusmei, President, Society of Women Engineers - CSUN
Brent Bushnell, CEO & Roustabout, Two Bit Circus
Katherine Wilcox, Executive Director, EnCorps STEM Teachers Program
Josh Taylor, Founder and CEO, 9 Dots
LeeAnn Kline, Founder and CEO, STEM Advantage
Tara Tiger Brown, Founder, LA Makerspace
Dr. Michael Batie, President, Los Angeles Council of Black Professional Engineers
Raymond Ealy, Founder and CEO, STEAM Coders
Leah Haynes, Executive Director and Chief Juggler, Two Bit Circus Foundation
Lala Castro, Founder, Latina Geeks
Jazlyn Carvajal, Co-Founder, Latinas in STEM
Kimberly Bryant, Founder and CEO, Black Girls Code
Frances Pinedo, MIT Avanza Network
Jennifer Arguello, Board Member, Latinas in Computing
Jorge Cornejo, Founder, Hackerspace LA
Bing Jing, Founder and Owner, Rolling Robots
Neil Spears, Executive Director, PowerMyLearning
Amy Kim, COO, Iridescent and March for LA Organizer
Norma Fernandez, Senior Director, EveryoneOn
Leslie Aaronson, Strategic Director, National Center for Women and Information Technology and Girls Build LA
Gretchen Walker, Vice President of Education, The Tech Museum of Innovation
Paul Poole, Director of Education, Discovery Science Center
Lilly Kam, Director of STEM, i.am.angel Foundation
Mimi Ito, MacArthur Foundation Chair of Digital Media and Learning, UC Irvine
Ana Diaz-Hernandez, Diversity Council Member, Code.org
Stefanie Santos, Senior Advisor, White House Office of Science and Technology (Obama Administration)
Megan Arnett, Program Manager, Science Buddies
Janine Hernandez, Program Manager, TECHNOlochicas
Ben Dickow, Founder, West Side Science Club
Natalie Villalobos, Head of Global Programs for Women Techmakers, Google
Dr. Karina Edmonds, Google Cloud University Lead, Google
Anna Barber, Managing Director, TechStars LA
Peneleope and America Lopez, CyberCode Twins
Liliana Monge, CEO, Sabio Engineering and Security Professionals
Tracy Van Houten, Engineer, NASA Jet Propulsion Lab
Amy Jager, Project Engineer, The Aerospace Corporation
Diana Albarrán Chicas, Satellite Product Line Manager, Space Systems Loral
Veronica Garcia, Staff Engineer, Aerojet Rocketdyne
Belinda de la Libertad, Founder and Managing Partner, A-Z Techs
Stacie Henderson, CEO, Keep.com
Judith Ibarra-Bianchetta, Vice President, Tetra Tech
Julia Cheng, Board Member, Out in Tech
Jo Wright, Senior Technical Designer, DICE
Vyki Englert, Advisor, Code for America
Michele Lee, Co-founder, California Bioproducts Innovation Center
Women Business Leaders *
Priscilla Chavez, President, National Association of Women in Construction - LA
Eva Ho, General Partner, Fika Ventures
Nancy Perlman, Partner, Fourthwave
Megan Westerby, Director of Research, CBS International Studios
Grace Woo, Angel Investor, Pipeline Angels
Tamra Johnson, Founder and COO, FlexTeam
Saujin Yi, Founder and CEO, FlexTeam
* Titles for Identification Purposes Only
Luz Rivas has dedicated her professional career fighting to ensure every Californian has the opportunity to learn, prosper and succeed.
With a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from MIT and a Master's degree in Education from Harvard, Luz has focused on encouraging young girls to pursue training and careers in science, engineering, and technology. The founder of DIY Girls, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping girls become interested in math and science, Luz has helped set thousands of young women on the path towards economic empowerment, independence, and self-confidence.
Even as a child, Luz had a love of technology and science, and she has seen firsthand how these fields can allow girls and boys to become successful professionals. She succeeded in part because of adults repeatedly encouraged her to develop an interest in technology. That's why she has chosen to help other young people find the same opportunity.
Luz was raised in the Northeast San Fernando Valley by a single mother who cleaned bathrooms at a hospital in Lakeview Terrace. Initially the family rented a room in a house, and later lived in a converted garage and back houses in Pacoima, San Fernando and Arleta. Her mother took night classes to learn English and office skills, and ultimately got a new job.
As a fifth grader at Telfair Elementary in Pacoima, Luz became interested in technology and engineering when her teacher taught her class how to program an Apple IIe computer. That's when she knew that she loved technology. At Pacoima Middle School, she continued learning about computer science, and at San Fernando High School, she enrolled in a state program that helped students excel in math and science and go on to college in these fields.
While Luz was in high school, her mom was laid off, so Luz worked two jobs to save money for college. Her math teacher encouraged her to apply to MIT and she was admitted. Initially, Luz was nervous about leaving her family and friends in the San Fernando Valley, but a family friend loaned her $300 for a plane ticket so she could visit the campus. She fell in love with the school and four years later, Luz graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering.
After working as an Electrical Engineer at Motorola, Luz's passion to get kids interested in science and technology led her to earn a Masters of Education from Harvard University. After graduating, she returned to the Valley, and in 2011, Luz founded DIY Girls, a nonprofit based in the Valley that encourages girls to become interested in science and technology. Since 2012, the program has served over 2000 girls from grades 4-12, helping them develop skills as engineering and designers. DIY Girls also works with partner schools throughout the Northeast Valley to create new science and technology programs.
DIY Girls has also organized workshops and events for hundreds of women throughout Los Angeles, where they have had the opportunity to learn new skills and connect with tech leaders. Many of these women have found mentors, training opportunities, and transitioned to new careers.
Most recently, Luz served as a City of Los Angeles Public Works Commissioner where she continued her gender equity work. In that capacity she worked on events to help women-owned businesses compete for city contracts. She also led a recruitment initiative for women engineers in Public Works by reaching out to groups like the Society of Women Engineers to increase the number of women applicants.
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