Rene Cardona, a user experience designer at Polycom, is our volunteer of the month for May 2017. He has designed software such as mobile applications and websites for startups in Austin and across the country. He is finishing his dual Masters degree in advertising and public affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, where he has studied integrated brand communication, the power of media strategy for nonprofits, and how technology can empower consumers to be better informed of policy. Rene has played an integral role in developing strategies, assisting with user research, and creating visually-appealing and effective graphics for Latinitas over the past year.
Latinitas: Why did you choose to support Latinitas with your volunteer efforts over any other organization?
Rene Cardona: I chose to support Latinitas because technology education can have a multiplicative effect on underserved communities. I believe the work Latinitas does needs to spread to other Latino-populated areas because of the importance of coding, design and media production to our current and future economy. Latina youth, just as anyone, deserve the attention and resources to learn important 21st century skills like software development and design.
Had I not had an introduction to media arts in middle school, I don’t know where I would be. I am Latino and I work in tech as a software designer. My first exposure to applications like Photoshop and video editing software came in middle school, and my passion to produce art via these tools persisted. This class was an important stepping stone to not only my career choice but also as a way to harness creativity and apply it.
By teaching one student, Latinitas has the power to empower an entire family. That student who learns about app design and development can help her siblings or other family members understand the power and importance of technology. I can only imagine what life could have been like for me and my siblings if we had access to the educational programming Latinitas provides.
I chose Latinitas because I believe Latinitas has the power to provide services to all of Texas so no child is left as merely a user or consumer of technology but instead an avid builder and participant of our future.
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