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Samsung Innovation Campus Learner Spotlight: Perla Villarreal


Underscoring our commitment to educating and empowering the next generation of diverse innovators, Samsung Electronics America launched its second annual Samsung Innovation Campus in the U.S. in November 2022. The virtual seven-month educational program was designed to offer Millennial and Gen Z women the opportunity to gain practical education in emerging technologies and enhance their employment prospects. And the 2023 cohort is midway through their Artificial Intelligence Course, which is rooted in problem-based learning (PBL).

While a PwC study estimates that artificial intelligence (AI) has a $15.7 trillion potential contribution to the global economy by 2030, there’s a significant challenge related to the diversity of those programming the technology itself. The World Economic Forum notes that about 78% of global AI professionals are male. With heightened attention on and the accelerated pace of investments in AI, the gender gap in this space has the potential to create a vastly inequitable future — economically and for our industry. That’s why it’s vital to support the inclusion of different genders, as well as races, ethnicities, orientations, identities, ages, and abilities, into AI design and development as it will inevitably change existing biases and minimize the likelihood of discrimination by AI systems.

For our Samsung Innovation Campus Learner series, we asked a few Artificial Intelligence Course participants – like Perla Villarreal – to share the reasons why they’re pursuing AI via the program and their views on the need to make the industry more gender-diverse.

My name is Perla Villarreal. As a 30-year-old first-generation American and Latina from Houston, Texas, I joined Samsung Innovation Campus because, as a technology consultant, I strongly believe AI skills are a critical tool to have in my toolkit. When engaging with clients and understanding their business needs, it’s important for me to have an understanding of a large array of possible approaches for designing the appropriate solution — and AI should be one of them.

I’m currently in month 6 of the 7-month program and I’m especially enjoying the course work on AI Ethics because it is at its infancy – and it’s such an important, interesting, and intricate space. I believe ethics must be embedded in the design and development process from the very beginning of AI creation. Like with many complex and evolving ecosystem of practices and guidelines, there is no silver bullet, and it will take consistent feedback, growth, and end-user interactions to make progress.


Samsung’s decision to address gender diversity in AI by offering the course to women aged 17-35 from across the U.S is a phenomenal first step in the right direction. As a woman in tech, I often hear about the “pipeline problem” — a claim that there are just not enough women in the industry to choose from. This program and cohort have proven that is simply not the case. There are so many women in this cohort eager to grow and ultimately improve this field. AI comes with a lot of ethical implications and unprecedented discussions that need to be led by a diverse group of people that includes us: women, Latinas.

Ultimately, my goal is to leverage the knowledge that I’m gaining from the Samsung Innovation Campus program as a springboard to become a better and more responsible technologist. No matter where my career takes me, I know that AI will be a valuable tool to have and understand.

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