When Jacob Martinez asked a classroom of middle-schoolers to raise their hands if they had a computer at home, most of them did.
But as the 36-year-old Martinez dug deeper, hands began to drop. How many had broadband? How many shared their computers with fewer than three people? How many had computers less than five years old?
By the time Martinez (Oakes ’04, evolutionary biology) was done, only three of the students—all of whom resided in the mostly Hispanic farming community of Watsonville, where 20 percent of the population lives below the poverty line—still had their hands in the air.
“Imagine if these kids had more access,” asked Martinez, whose laid-back style belies his drive to change what he sees as a worrisome divide. “What could they create? What would come out of that?”