Interview with Carlos Chavez: CCATE mentor and Intern; start of Pfizer partnership

Carlos Chavez has been with CCATE since 2018. He is a Mexican-American first generation college student studying Computer Science at Temple University. He enjoys promoting equality and diversity in STEM, as well as programming, working out and drinking coffee. He grew up in Norristown where he was very aware of the lack of resources and opportunities for Latinx students. Instead of letting those odds define him, he used it as motivation and to inspire other children like himself. His initial thought was to start a coding class in Norristown to expose children to Computer Science. And when he learned that CCATE was planning their summer camp, he proposed the idea. He then took on the challenge of creating a curriculum for a programming course even though he had no prior teaching experience. 

A year later, due to his involvement at CCATE he was able to secure an internship at Pfizer Inc. He did so well that he was able to continue on as an intern the following year and also pave the way for more CCATE interns. At Pfizer, he is currently interning as a mobile application developer, which involves developing, testing, and publishing apps. He enjoys working at Pfizer because of the work environment and culture. 

This year, Carlos Chavez also was invited to the prestigious Hispanic Student Leadership Summit through the Hispanich Association of Colleges and Universities sponsored by Google. The summit was created to bring Hispanic student leaders together to share innovative and creative practices with one another. This group also collaborates with Google’s Hispanic leadership to benefit their universities, student organizations and communities. It also includes technical/design-thinking workshops, leadership sessions, fireside chats, along with a mentoring program. The summit usually takes place in Austin, Texas at a Google campus but because of COVID-19 it has moved onto a virtual format. This program impacts many communities across the US by connecting Latinx leaders to discuss problems in their communities and how to address them. And for Carlos, it has been inspiring to see other Latinx individuals in careers that he would like to explore.

He says CCATE has helped him grow not only as an individual, but as a leader. He says he is always thinking about ways he can help improve the community and how he can help others achieve their goals. His main message is to embrace difference and diversity: “Just because you are different doesn’t mean you don’t bring anything to the table. What you bring to the table ARE your differences!” 

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