America Miranda, SARSEF Program Manager, has been named the first ever Phoenix YWCA Emerging Leader.
YWCA’s Tribute to Leadership Awards Program has been an annual celebration to recognize the accomplishments of leaders in our community who strive to improve the lives of women, girls, and people of color through leadership, advocacy, and community service.
America joined the SARSEF team in January 2021 with 15 years of experience in large scale event and concert production, as well as experience coordinating community and school programs. Beyond her work at SARSEF, her volunteer work shows a clear dedication to building just communities in Arizona.
Her service includes but is not limited to:
- Volunteering with Abolition Yuma County which advocates for migrant individuals seeking asylum to do free translating, help find resources, and whatever is needed.
- Volunteering with several different groups to do border aid runs in Nogales and Ciudad Juarez, providing water and food to migrant individuals.
- Delivering clothing, shoes and monetary help in Mexico, mainly Sonora, on a monthly basis
America Miranda: “I am honored to receive this award… but the work doesn’t stop here. I am grateful to have the opportunity to serve my community and hopefully inspire others to do the same”
America Miranda has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to eliminating racism and empowering women in Arizona. At SARSEF, she runs two programs serving students statewide. SARSEF’s Racing the Sun is a statewide high school college-preparatory program that engages teams of high school students to design, build, and race their own solar go-karts. They learn engineering and communication skills, explore related careers, and join the race to make transportation sustainable. While the pandemic brought a new set of challenges, it took the right person to build the program to new heights while actively ensuring the program is engaging and supporting high school girls as well as Hispanic and Latino families. America Miranda has taken on that challenge and is building toward a program more reflective of the state’s population. Not only is she working to build relationships and recruit teams near the US/Mexico border, successfully registering a team in Rio Rico this year, she also registered the first all-female racing team since SARSEF acquired the program in 2019.
From America’s first day at SARSEF, she has been an advocate for Hispanic and Latino families. She understands that our efforts need to go beyond translation projects. She actively ensures that SARSEF shows up where Hispanic and Latino families will be and builds spaces for them within the science and engineering education community.
Another great example of her work is SARSEF’s annual ACES Camp, a week-long summer camp for ~40 middle school girls in the Sunnyside Unified School District. While America had worked on the camp previously, this summer was her first time as Camp Director. She introduced several innovative features that were pivotal to the camp’s success including bilingual curriculum and sessions with Hispanic and Latino women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) who shared about their careers and encouraged the campers to pursue STEM. The camp’s final celebration welcomed the campers’ families, where students showed off their real-world, problem-solving projects to proud caregivers while a mariachi band played in the background. Speakers motivated families to keep their kids involved in science and engineering while offering their support and resources. Siblings wanted to know when it would be their turn to be ACES campers. SARSEF’s exit survey showed that by the end of ACES Camp, 61% of the campers said they were highly likely or likely to choose a career in science or engineering.
Join us in celebration on Wednesday, March 29th at The Croft Downtown in Phoenix, Arizona from 4:30-7:30! Purchase your tickets here!