Dell Youth Learning Support Aims to Unlock Student Potential

Mariana is currently fifteen years old. As many other students around her age, she enjoys playing with her little sister and learning new subjects. Mariana’s family moved to the United States from El Salvador in 2016 on a quest for enhanced opportunities. “We left so I could have additional chances to work and study,” she says. It has been arduous to move here because I miss my aunts who are still in El Salvador”.

Last year, as an 8th grader at Joseph A Browne Middle School in Chelsea, MA, Mariana participated in Citizen Schools’ 8th Grade Academy and had the opportunity to explore career pathways through networking events like 6 Degrees and through Citizen Schools apprenticeships. In the Girls Who Code apprenticeship, she learned how to write computer code after school, all while receiving high marks in all her classes - and learning English as a second language. Earlier this year, Mariana was selected by Dell to be a featured Story of Youth Learning on their website, where she joins students from around the world the show how technology is helping to unlock their potential.

As a Citizen Schools National Leadership Partner, Dell has committed $500,000 to the organization to strengthen project-based applied science apprenticeships - helping nearly 2,000 students across the country, like Mariana, learn new technology skills.  As part of this investment, Dell will also provide hundreds of laptops for students, and power classroom teachers and Citizen Schools staff with cutting edge technological resources. Since 2014, Dell’s Youth Learning Program has directly impacted more than 4 million students globally, providing them access to technology and education. As a result, students that participated in the program expressed an interest in pursuing careers in STEM.

In the future, Mariana aspires to become a doctor, where she sees herself using technology to help people, sharing:

“My grandfather had issues with his knees and there were no good doctors for him. He fell and broke both knees and he needed surgery. The operation didn’t go well so the doctors wanted to operate again but my grandfather didn’t want to because it was so expensive and painful and he didn’t think it would help,” she says. “This is why I want to become a doctor.”

To see more of Mariana’s story - and hear from other students around the world who have been supported by the Dell Youth Learning Initiative - visit