“Be the change you want to see in the world” is Emma Reeder’s favorite quote. After seeing it on a bumper sticker in the fourth grade, Emma knew she wanted to work in the realm of social justice. Currently a junior at St. Olaf’s college, Emma studies Spanish, women’s and gender studies, and race and ethnic studies.
Coming from a broad humanities background, Emma wasn’t sure she could find a job that fit her unique skills and passions. In December 2020, she began an internship with Community Tech Network. As a bilingual digital literacy coach, Emma gets to use her Spanish skills while working towards social equity. “I didn’t have hope that I would do a meaningful job like this … but I found it. I really did,” she says.
Emma is especially passionate about working with our Spanish-speaking learners: “For them, it is doubly difficult. When we try to find apps and resources, a lot of them are only in English. They don’t have a Spanish version. These learners didn’t grow up with technology, and language can be another barrier that other people don’t have to go through.”
This is why bilingual coaches, like Emma, are so important. Learning how to use new technology can be a vulnerable and intimidating experience. Older adult learners must have someone they can communicate with confidently and comfortably. Emma is passionate about lessening the language barrier when it comes to accessing technology.
“When we only use English, we are insinuating that English is the superior language — which it’s not — in addition to devaluing other languages and the people who only speak those languages,” she says. “Everyone has the right to access what they need in their own language.”
In February, Emma is continuing her work with CTN in her new position, as CTN’s first bilingual training and administrative associate. We are grateful for her enthusiasm and insight!