Place of birth:
El Paso, Texas
High School Student
My freshmen year I took a class called Introduction to Engineering Design where I learned the basics of engineering. I learned how to do proper, effective and accurate sketches. I also became acquainted with software that professional engineers use like Autodesk Inventor and AutoCAD. In the course I knew that software was my way to go and in my sophomore year I took a junior engineering course called Digital Electronics. In DE I learned how to solder, bread board and create my own logic circuits not only physically but also with software called Multisim. At the same time, I was also taking Principles of Engineering where I was introduced to more hands on work and after learning how to program in RoboPro, RobotC, Legomindstorms and Java, I knew that computer science was my field. All I was missing was some motivation. I turned to the internet and stumbled upon NCWIT, something I remembered my teacher having mentioned. My hope was found. My sophomore year I won local winner and met other women that were interested and successful in CS. Among those women was Dr. Ceberio who offered me spot at an internship with the university. At the internship I got to explore the beauty of scratch, scrap, and the terminal. The year afterwards, I signed up for animation and learned how to use freehand, adobe and 3ds max.
By the end of the year, I was certified in all three totaling out to 10 certifications. That same year I also used a lot of InDesign, and Photoshop (both of which I am certified). By the time summer came, I had an internship called WWASP where I created a whole research project. My project was on the placebo effect but felt that computer science needed a role so I made an interactive simulation of the lab to show the judges. Right after WWASP, I participated in a program at White Sands called GEMS. Here I learned a lot about optics, cyber security, radios, satellites, and anechoic chambers. Now, as a senior in pre-engineering, I am building my own product and I know that computer science is on my side.
Why would you recommend exploring careers in science and technology to other Latina girls?
Never get discouraged by other peoples standards. Technology and computer science isn't limited to people based on their sex and based on the color of their skin. If you ever question your place in these fields, just remember what you are doing it for. In my case, and most likely yours, its because its your passion.
Remember all the people that helped you see the beauty of technology and if those people and yourself aren't enough drive, then remember all those who don't have the opportunity.