URBAN TxT teens visit Google

URBAN TxT at Google

URBAN TxT students and staff with Eric Schmidt, Google Chairman.

Three members of URBAN Teens eXploring Technology received a private tour of the Google LA office, participated in a discussion with Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen, and then met Google’s chairman at the organization’s Venice office. 

“I am a coder and I’m seventeen years old,” said Alejandro to Eric Schmidt, Chairman of Google. “What advice can you give me?” asked the South LA teen at the culmination of Google LA’s speaker series session and May 10th’s fire side chat.

“Keep doing what you’re doing and you will be wealthy beyond your dreams,” answered Schmidt. “We need a million of you.”

The teen is part of URBAN Teens eXploring Technology (URBAN TxT), a nonprofit organization in South Los Angeles. The organization creates tech entrepreneurs by teaching teens in South Los Angeles computer programming, web development, design, and most importantly leadership skills.

Alejandro and two additional URBAN TxT students were invited to the Google LA event by the URBAN TxT leadership team. The founder, Oscar Menjivar, coordinated a tour of the offices for the teens before the fire side chat. All three teens agreed the video game rooms were the “coolest part of all.”

Alejandro, URBAN TxT student

Alejandro, URBAN TxT student, at Google L.A.’s fireside chat.

The Thursday night event was part of a book tour Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen, director of Google Ideas,  are in to promote “The New Digital Age,” a book they co-authored. During the intimate and insightful conversation both authors shared their learnings picked up from traveling the world and seeing how developing countries adapt to technology. 

To explain the power of Google technology, Schmidt shared a story of students in Libya using Google Maps to create safe routes to school while bombings occur across the country. “You think Google Maps matters? It matters a lot if you are being bombed.”

As the discussion opened Cohen was quick to explain that 5 billion people in developing countries will soon be joining the world wide web as they gain access to connectivity and tech platforms. “Every country will benefit from having access to the Internet.

Across the span of two hours the two Googlers, the audience, and Dr. Ernest James Wilson, the Dean of the Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism at USC and the moderator for the event, predicted what the future holds for us as technology becomes a bigger part of our lives. 

Two main consensus came out of the night’s discussion – the Internet can be a great leveler but developing countries will struggle to adapt, and we need to open up STEM paths to kids in all parts of the country and access can gain the tools necessary for the 21st century job market. 

For kids and teens like the ones in URBAN TxT, having access to individuals like Schmidt and Cohen, organizations like Google, and discussions like the ones held at the fire side chat can serve as catalysts to power them forward. Sergio, one of the other URBAN TxT teens in attendance, knew he wanted to keep learning HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS. “After hearing Eric and Jared speak today, I want to be a computer science major and then come work at Google,” said Sergio.

 URBAN TxT is a nonprofit organization that encourages inner city teen males to become catalysts of change in urban communities. The organization develops teens from South LA and Watts into a new generation of leaders through technology. To learn more about URBAN TxT visit www.urbantxt.com.   


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