Minecraft Education and Hispanic Heritage Foundation’s 'LatinExplorers' at the White House

28 Nov 2023 Characters from Minecraft Education: Latin Explorers 2

The blog was guest written by Minecraft Education program manager and executive producer Laylah Bulman.

I recently had the privilege of representing Minecraft Education at the White House for the 'Latinos in Space' event. This remarkable day was not only a personal milestone but also a testament to the growing impact of educational technologies in shaping the future of STEM fields.

The White House event, aligning with Hispanic Heritage Month, was a dynamic gathering of Latino STEM students and leaders. In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, the White House Office of Public Engagement and the National Space Council convened over 100 Latino science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) students and leaders from the space sector to discuss the Biden-Harris Administration’s ongoing efforts to inspire, prepare, and employ the current and future space workforce while ensuring opportunities reach the Latino community.

Laylah Bulman presenting at the White House

It was an opportunity to discuss our shared efforts in preparing and employing a diverse future space workforce, emphasizing the Latino community's role. Participating in the ‘Space to Inspire' panel, I spoke about the unlimited potential STEM learning holds for our youth, highlighting our collaboration with the Hispanic Heritage Foundation and the 'LatinExplorers 2' Minecraft world, which brings prominent Latina explorers, innovators and pioneers into Minecraft’s blocky world and expands a positive view of Latinos around the world. Dr. Ellen Ochoa, one of the esteemed characters in ‘LatinExplorers 2’, shared her epic experiences of being the first Latina astronaut to go to space on the panel as well.

Other speakers discussed the inspirational experience of working in science, opportunities available to young Latinos to advance understanding of space, and the importance of an inclusive and representative workforce. Community leaders shared personal anecdotes that underscored the value of community-based problem solving, pledging to continue collaborating with the Biden-Harris Administration on the shared objective of expanding Latino access and representation within the realms of space, STEM, and beyond.

Sharing the stage with luminaries like Marla Perez-Davis, Antonio Tijerino, Dr. Ellen Ochoa, and Chirag Parikh was an incredible experience. Their commitment to fostering a more inclusive future in space exploration deeply resonated with me. Their dedication reminds us that our journey towards innovation and inclusivity is both necessary and rewarding. This experience reinforced my belief that our leaders are not just working towards a better present but are also paving the way for future generations in space exploration. Diversity of thought and inclusivity in STEM are essential, echoing Lt. Col. Fernandez's words, “hard work works.”

Students playing Latin Explorers 2

This event reaffirmed my commitment to encouraging young minds, especially those using Minecraft Education. I want them to know that their dreams are valid, their aspirations matter, and they have a place in the universe's grand tapestry. I'm proud of the role Minecraft Education plays in fostering STEM interest among youth. 'LatinExplorers' and similar initiatives are crucial in creating engaging, educational experiences that resonate with diverse student communities.

My heartfelt thanks go to Dr. Quincy Kissiedu-Brown and everyone at the White House National Space Council for their unwavering support. Such collaborations are pivotal in inspiring the next generation of STEM enthusiasts and innovators.

Attendees of the White House Latinos in Space event

As I reflect on this incredible experience, my sense of purpose is stronger than ever. Through Minecraft Education, we're not just playing a game; we're shaping minds, nurturing dreams, and preparing a generation of explorers who will reach for the stars. Together, we are building a future where every child, irrespective of their background, can dream big and achieve even bigger in the vast expanse of space. 🚀✨

Follow our journey as we continue to merge education, technology, and the boundless possibilities of space exploration.

Check out ‘LatinExplorers 2’ available for free on the Minecraft Marketplace and in the Minecraft Education lesson library: https://education.minecraft.net/en-us/discover/hispanic-heritage.