November 13, 2020

MentorTalks: Becoming an Online Pioneer

How do you think ahead of the curve, especially in a pandemic?

Educator, entrepreneur, and Gilman Scholarship exchange alumna Bianca Alvarado was tackling online education well before COVID-19 upended education in the United States. What guided her? A strong sense of community and her cross-cultural, cross-border upbringing: Bianca grew up on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.

Bianca joined us on MentorTalks on Friday, November 20, 2020 to discuss her career as entrepreneur and founder of La Casa Azul, a non-profit organization that aims to equip Hispanic youth with the technology skills necessary to succeed in a career in digital media and content creation. With the transition from in-person workshops to an online learning structure in light of the the global pandemic, Bianca credits the AlumniTIES seminar, “Stronger American Cities: Closing the Skills Gap and Building Entrepreneurial Ecosystems,” for encouraging her to think ahead and shift toward an online learning environment ahead of the curve.

As we celebrate International Education Week and Global Entrepreneurship Week, Bianca shared how she has drawn on her exchange experiences to build a career as an online pioneer. She also spoke on the lessons she learned throughout her program. Her biggest advice was for those starting out in their careers: to not wait, to pursue their ambitions, and to seek out mentors early on.

Bianca also highlighted the importance of stepping out of one’s comfort zone, emphasizing that while it’s often hard to know which questions to ask, “once you connect with those resources, we’re here and open to collaborating.”

Learn more about our speaker:

mentortalks Bianca Alvarado

Founder, Baja Urban and Casa Azul; Educator

Bianca Alvarado is an educator and an entrepreneur, and a self described “online pioneer.” Originally from both sides of the U.S./Mexico border, Bianca has used her formative experiences to inform her career and community development projects. She is the founder of Baja Urban, a publishing company that creates multicultural and socially conscious books and media. She is also the founder of Casa Azul, a program designed to train Hispanic youth in digital media and technology in the border town of Chula Vista, California, that was started through an Alumni TIES grant. On top of this, she has several “spin-off” businesses and is a Spanish language teacher in Chula Vista.

Bianca is a Gilman Scholarship recipient to Uruguay. She earned her Bachelor of Arts from San Diego State University in International Relations and her Master of Arts in Social Innovation from the University of San Diego.

She is a community leader with over 7 years of experience engaging in projects related to community development, STEM, and workforce development. Bianca uses her diverse and multidisciplinary background in working with nonprofits, technology, and education as an eLearning specialist and consultant.

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