Our Story

History, Mission and Vision, Our Approach, Team


“We INSPIRE and EMPOWER students to develop technology that impacts and improves their communities.” -Marissa Elena Yanez, PhD, Founder, Empoder

Mission: We EMPOWER low-income communities through innovative hands-on engineering and computer science education. By engaging students at a young age, we seek to prepare children with 21st century skills to pursue careers in engineering and computer science.  

We INSPIRE students to develop innovative solutions to issues that impact their communities. By guiding students to develop technology that impacts and improves society, we aim to inspire the next generation of socially responsible innovators. In this manner, we are empowering not only students, but entire communities as a whole.

Vision: We believe ALL students have the fundamental RIGHT to pursue an engineering or computer-science related career, regardless of their racial background and/or socio-economic status. We also believe in exposing all students to engineering and CS at a young age in an engaging and encouraging manner.

Our goal is to be able to prepare all students from low-income communities with high-quality in-school, after-school and summer programs in engineering and CS. This is necessary for diversifying the technology sector as a whole, and for creating a generation of engineers and computer scientists that will innovate solutions that impact and improve low-income communities.   

Our Approach: Our approach is twofold, we inspire and engage students in engineering and computer science at a young age through summer immersion programs. We then provide students with the proper preparation and skills to pursue careers in engineering and CS through year-round after-school and weekend programs.

Too often students grow up believing that engineering and computer science is nothing more than math and numbers. More often than not, students will dismiss a career in engineering and computer science before they even know what it is.

We present engineering and computer science concepts in an engaging and highly relevant manner. By helping students understand how engineering and technology impacts and improves the world, students become interested and inspired to learn more.

We keep students engaged through inquiry-based learning and  highly interactive hands-on activities. Through various instrumentation, coding and other types of activities, we encourage students to develop projects that are highly relevant to their social environment. In this way, we motivate students to develop innovative solutions to issues that impact their community.

Meet The Team

Marissa Elena Yanez, PhD

Marissa holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley and a PhD in Bioengineering from the University of Washington in Seattle, WA.

Ruben Alejos Palomares

Year-Round Program Professor, Electrical Engineering, UDLAP

Carmen Paola Hernandez Morales

Weekend Program

Omar Yair Guerra Salazar

Weekend Program

Mario Cuellar
Curriculum Advisor

(After-school STEM Coordinator for Ravenswood School District)

James Davis
Web Production, Media Support
Veronica Hernández Morales
Media Support
Juan Jose Rojas Villegas, M.S.

Director of Partnerships and Community Service
Professor of Industrial Engineering, UDLAP

Timothy Melano, PhD

Research Scientist in the SyNAPSE (Systems of Neuromorphic Adaptive PlasticScalable Electronics), IBM

Georgina Yanez Chin

Retired School Board Administrator, Oak Grove School District