La vida de una Ingeniera Latina

SPANISH (Scroll down for English)

Hace unos días, hice una encuesta en mi cuenta de Instagram acerca de si debiese escribir mis artículos en inglés y también en español. La respuesta fue 100% positiva. Así que, a partir de este momento 2 artículos serán publicados simultáneamente: uno en ingles y uno en español.

Los primeros 12 años de mi vida los viví en Monterrey, México. Ahora vivo en Chicago, IL. Ya son 11 años en los Estados Unidos. El español siempre será mucho más fácil para mí. Puedo pensar, hablar, y entender mucho más rápido en español.  Aunque ahora, al haber vivido casi la mitad de mi vida en Estados Unidos, el ingles empieza a apoderarse de mi cerebro. Lamentablemente, ahora tengo que tomar pausas para asegurarme de que estoy usando todas las palabras correctas cuando hablo español en voz alta.  Pero ahora que comenzare a escribir en español, podre usar el español mucho más.

La idea de escribir en español fue de mi mamá. Aunque ella entiende un 70% del inglés, el español siempre será su primer y principal idioma. Mi mamá es parte de un grupo de Latinas en el mundo. Ellas, aunque vivan en lugares diferentes, usan su cultura y raíces para conectarse. Recientemente, mi mamá compartió mi blog con este grupo. Ellas preguntaron si mis publicaciones eran en español. ¡Felizmente hoy puedo decir que si!

Esto no solo es muy emocionante, pero también presenta un reto. Hace mucho tiempo que no escribo tanto en español. Podría simplemente usar el traductor de Google, pero eso solo empeoraría mi español.

Escribir en inglés y en español, no solo me ayudara a mí, pero también me ayudara a conectar con mas personas. De esta forma, ahora podre compartir mis experiencias en mi idioma natal a la vez que en mi idioma adoptivo. Estoy muy emocionada de poder anunciar esto. ¡Esten al pendiente de mis próximas publicaciones en los dos idiomas!


So, I made a little poll on my Instagram about creating content for this blog in English as well as Spanish. And I got a 100% yes to do both! So, from now on, I will be posting twice (one in English and one in Spanish) whenever there is a new post.

I lived my first 12 years of life in Monterrey, Mexico. I then moved to Chicago, IL. and have lived here for 11 years. Spanish will always be easier for me to think, talk, understand and pronounce. However, I got to say, since its almost half my life in the US, that English is slowly trying to take over my brain. Sadly, I now pause when speaking Spanish in order to get all the words right. But now writing my blog in English and Spanish will help me use my Spanish way more.

Writing in Spanish was my mom’s request. While she can understand about 70% of English, her Spanish will always be her main language. She is also in a group of Latinas all over the world. While they live in different parts of the world, they bond over their roots and culture. My mom recently shared my blog with them, and they asked if I was writing in Spanish. So, I am happily now writing in Spanish!

This is exciting as well as a challenging. I haven’t written full paragraphs in Spanish for a while now. And while I can just copy and paste everything in google to translate, it would just contribute to making my Spanish worse.

Not only will this help me, but it will also help me connect with so many more people. I will be able to share my experiences in my native language as well as in my new adopted language. I am very excited to be announcing this. Stay tuned for new posts coming in both languages soon!


Why Engineering?

When I was younger, I never really knew what I wanted my career to be. When people would ask me what I wanted to be, I never had a solid answer. You would think that I would have said: “A princess!” or “A doctor!” at some point. But truly, I never actually knew. I was also never super focused on a subject. All I knew was that I would eventually attend college, study, do good, and have a successful career, I was just missing the most important part: what the career was. I got to high school and I was still just as lost knowing what to study. I would change careers every other week. I went around pretty much every single career in hopes to find one that I liked.

So what exactly made me pick engineering?

This is a question I often prefer not to answer. And if I do, I try to omit the obvious reasons that influenced my views on engineering, in hopes to make other people understand the passion that I developed towards engineering. Because in reality, our careers are not just a job, but a way of thinking and lifestyle and I surely did not want to make the wrong decision.

So, I am an engineer, I must like science, correct? Well, somewhat. I do have to admit that I always had a special liking towards math. It always made sense and I liked being able to figure out how to solve it. But as far as science… I wasn’t so sure. Biology wasn’t my favorite. Chemistry, I would definitely pass. But, there was something about the physics class that I took senior year in high school. I got to tell you, it was probably the most challenging class I took in high school, but it was also the most rewarding. It took math and gave it a meaning. It connected it to the real world, and there was something in my brain that sparked every time I was able to solve a physics problem. I liked it so much, that I went into college thinking I would major in physics.

I walked into college. As a first semester student, managed to skip 1 math class in order to place myself in Calculus 1, which also gave me access to enroll in a calculus based physics class. I was ready to take the on the world… and I was dragged through the floor. I was not ready for that. One thing is starting college and adapting into the differences in assignments, work load, and responsibility. But going through that, while also throwing myself into those classes was suicide. I always did good in school, and it had a meaning behind which I will cover in another post, so going into college and almost failing my first physics test, made me doubt myself more than I ever had. And to be honest, that doubt persisted throughout my entire time in college.

So, what kept me going? I liked it. I liked the challenge. I felt the fear, and I stayed anyways. I had also found a career I liked and I wasn’t going to give it up for 1 failed exam.

I had it clear in my mind what I wanted:

  • I wanted a successful career with a steady future.
  • As selfish as it sounds, I wanted good money. I didn’t want to have to worry about not making enough. Especially because of how expensive college is.
  • I wanted a career that revolved the things I liked: Math, problem solving.
  • I wanted to do something special. There is simply not enough Latina engineers, and I was fully aware of it so I wanted to contribute and make a change.
  • I liked the challenge. I wanted to prove myself that I could do it.
  • I liked the reputation that engineering had: intelligent, successful, elegant, difficult. It was a very attracting career.
  • There was simply not other major that would attract my interest anymore. I felt right and I wanted to stay.

So I sucked it up. I cried over it and said I will try harder…. And sadly, this situation repeated over and over again throughout the next 5 years. So many times I felt defeated by a test, by an assignment, by a topic that will simply not make sense in my head. But I kept going.

My graduation day was probably one of the happiest days. I had made it.

Its about 6 months since I graduated and about a year working as an engineer. And let me tell you, being an official engineer is pretty great. It is all I wanted. I might not be working out math problems all the time, but I am out and about in a manufacturing plant solving problems, designing equipment to make manufacturing easier, and many other things. I love it. I am happy to go to work. I am happy with what I do and it makes me feel good, empowered, independent and a strong female.


I can be anything a man can be, but in pink.

Today I though I would share a small story. As you can tell by the colors of my blog, I love pink! I know it is a very girly color, but there is so much taboo around that color. There are men that don’t like to wear pink because they think it is girly, there are girls that hate the color pink because they don’t want to be the typical girly girl. I think it is just a pretty color that we (women) have used to represent our presence and our GRL PWR.

So, we have this small toolbox at work for the engineers to use whenever we are testing prototypes or other miscellaneous things. However, most of the tools have gone missing or stolen by now. So, I was thinking of ordering a tool kit for myself for work, since I am always struggling to find what I need through what is left over. I was happily browsing the internet for different kits to see which one would fit my needs better, based on what I am always looking for. I got to tell you this is not the first time that I am in search of a tool kit. I own a small personal collection of tools for the house. However, I cannot believe the lack of inclusion in such as simple thing as tools. All of the tool kits are red or orange or blue (all the good ones). And the few that I have seen in pink are filled with crappy and useless items. Some things include house scissors and a spatula. Yes, because I am going to assemble an electrical testing fixture with a spatula (notice my sarcasm there). Give me wire clippers, wrenches, hammers, even throw in a pink drill! The blue kits have them!  Anyways, I really want a pink set that is able to provide me with useful tools. Not call it a “house tool kit” that has cheap things. (Besides, if it is pink, it is less likely for my coworker to steal because they would be so easy to track). 

I also felt like sharing another small little story about today. So, I attended FABTECH Chicago this past November. I got to tell you, even though the point is to find vendors for your needs, there are so many learning opportunities. You get to see so many new developments! Machines that your company might be owning for years have now developed so much! You get to see everything running, you get to see all new products, automations, supplies, etc. This is awesome if you are new like me. Anyways back to the story, when I came back, I was sharing with my boss all the different colors of powder coating (They had a silver glittery one!) He suggested I requested a sample just to play around with it and test is at our location (Just for fun). But you all know I had to ask for pink! So, I contacted the company we always purchase powder coat from… and they don’t make pink powder coat! I located one that stated to have more than 100 colors. I looked over the catalog and picked a random pink shade and requested a sample. They replied within a couple of days:  All pinks are custom colors and could not send me a sample. Well, today one of the engineers was looking into a new type of powder coat that seems to be flexible. So, I thought I would ask him to see if they would send him some pink powder coat… and bingo!!! They will be sending some my way! So, now my coworkers and I have to come up with something to powder coat pink. One asked me if my new car would fit in the powder coat conveyor to try to paint my car pink (sadly not). So, stay tuned to see what we do with this pink powder coat. I have an idea already and I think it’s going to be awesome!!

Tips: Starting a New Job

It’s the first day in your new job… now what?

Ok, its actually been 5 weeks into my new job, but here is my advice lol

You already did the hard part: getting the job. Now it’s time to learn.
Just like in your first internship, no one expects you to know everything.

The first month or two will consist of learning how the company works, what your role is and how it ties to everything else, and remembering where everything is.

If your position is similar to your previous one, this will be a pretty easy adaptation. As long as you ask tons of questions you will learn what you need to know.

If you are making a change in careers (or if it’s your first job), it might take a bit more to get the hang of it. But no worries, it will come to you. Your boss obviously saw your resume and saw potential in you. Now you just have to make sure to be positive and give it your best shot.

Yea it is scary and uneasy since there is no one around that you know. So, I recommend to find a buddy, or at least someone you feel comfortable asking questions and such.

Just this week my boss sent a very vague email to the team and I quickly send a message to a teammate asking if he knew what he meant. He helped a lot. But having this person always makes days better, Just sending GIFs through teams makes a boring day fun!

Other than that, I tend to tag a long when I hear something interesting or that could help me. I also ask tons of questions, people actually like it (at least this far they have). It shows them I am interested and also develops teamwork.

The designs I have been working on lately are quite different to what I am used to, so I find the right person who could help me on specific details, but sometimes I even schedule a meeting with the whole team to share my concerns, ask questions, and learn.

Lastly, take full ownership of your projects (AKA follow up, make sure it’s moving forward) and if you see something you could help in, chip in!

My Interview Experience

My interview experience (especially with this new remote era): 

How many interviews did I do? I lost track to be honest. But for each company that I received an offer from, I did 3 (and sometimes a half more).  

First Interview : Recruiter

1st was with either a recruiter or HR manager. Some even got recorded so that others in the company could watch later to evaluate my candidacy and get a better sense of who I was.  

Let’s take a pause here to mention that after that step, some companies asked me to complete questionaries, personality  or even technical tests or exercises (one took almost 4 hrs!) 

Second Interview : Hiring Manager

2nd was with the Hiring Manager (in my case they were the Engineering Managers). 

This is a great opportunity to get to know who you will be reporting to and if it is a good fit. This is where you can get to learn the most about the position, your responsibilities, etc. 

Trust me, you want to know these details from who you will be reporting to, not a recruiter or HR. I had a recruiter tell me the job required 10% travel and when I got to the hiring manager it turned out to be 35% or more! That’s a big difference! 

Third Interview: Team

3rd will most likely be with the team. About 3-4 people. In here, you can get a sense of the work environment and relations and if you fit in.. Remember you will be working with this team every day!  

In this step it is also likely that you will receive a tour of the shop/factory (if applicable). I would also like to mention that the first 2 interviews were remote and this one was the only in person one. But some companies might do all online, or more in person, depending on their guidelines.  

What’s next?

After this third interview, hopefully a job offer will follow. There will be some places that might be straight to the point and might tell you we will be sending an offer. Some might end it generically. (I actually go an offer from an interview I thought didn’t go so great)  

So don’t get impatient after this step. Sometimes they might need to give you another call before a company can extend you an offer, sometimes they will call you with an offer already, and sometimes they might even offer during your team  interview.  

Put your best self, prepare, and Good luck! You will do great! 

Are you currently looking for a job? Did you find this helpful? 

An Introverted Engineer

Ok so here is the thing, I am an introvert.

Yes, even as I am typing this to be published on a public website, or even though I have spoken in front of more than 700 people, I am still the biggest introvert.

As ingenieras, there is that big stereotype that engineers are introverts. Sadly, it is mostly true. Most of us might enjoy doing our own thing. Working on our own. Having control of situations or even just simply a private life. But if we want to be successful, we must learn how to navigate a world of extroverts.

What’s they key?

Understanding our preferences, our goals, and what needs to be done to get there.

For example, I prefer minding my own business. Staying low profile, and worrying about my own career. But I also want to grow, I want to help others, and make the world a better place.

However, that requires doing things that I might not enjoy, such as public speaking, creating campaigns, and many other extrovert things that terrify me. But I know that doing those things will cause greater  good, and will help me get places. So, I put on my big pants and launched that blog, gave that talk, organized that event. Because at the end, when it is done (and while doing it might have made me terribly uncomfortable) I will feel accomplished. I will be proud of myself. I will be one step closer to my goal.

Imagine if I had given into my fear of public speaking and had never created Latina Engineer. We would be still far from connecting all Latina Engineers around the world.

This is something I am constantly working on. For example, I am part of a group of Latinas in STEM creators. And from time to time, we hold video calls. Well, while I might seem super talkative on my YouTube videos or events that I have hosted, I am still a quiet person at heart. I like to sit back and listen (or watch). So when we have these meetings, which is full of extroverted amazing happy Latinas, I tend to sit in the back quietly listening. Sometimes this makes me feel left out and that I don’t belong or that maybe they don’t like me. But this is just me being the introvert that I am and overthinking everything.  People won’t stop and ask you to speak or give your opinion, you have to go out there and join! You have to be your own advocate!  So I take these meetings as practice! So when I am in the same situation with a client, a business meeting, an important work meeting, I speak up and join in the conversation instead of keeping everything to myself.

I also wanted to include another example. I am leader. Yes, I know, I am contradicting myself. How can you be an introvert and a leader at the same time? Hear me out. Don’t let anything (any definition or adjective) limit you from who your are.  I know I am extremely shy, but I also know the potential I have as a leader, I just have to find a way to combine both things.

So let’s say you are like me, you want to have a leadership or management position but you are shy or not sure how to get there, maybe even scared or feel like you lack the confidence to do so.

You have to throw yourself out there. You have to be uncomfortable to grow. As introverts, we often try to avoid any uncomfortable situation, but we must proceed, even if its in baby steps.

So volunteer to do that presentation. Ask more questions! Practice speaking louder, paused and clearer. Practice confidence or powerful poses. Try things that might embarrass you but that are good (such as giving speeches, or leading a team), maybe somewhere nobody knows you. Do the thing you always wanted to do but were too scared.

Little by little, it will make you grow.

A year ago, I would avoid being alone at all costs. I would avoid places where I had to network. But after running this thing (lol by thing I meant Latina Engineer) I have learned how much I might  still hate small talks and first meets, but I know I can do it. I feel comfortable and experienced after how much I have exposed myself through Latina Engineer. This platform I created didn’t wait for me to be comfortable. It just threw me into many things that made me nervous and nerve wracking. But I am glad it did. You do not have to go as fast as me,  but one step at a time.

I now find myself (still terrified) but speaking clearer, more confident. Expressing my own opinion (when appropriate). Seeking bigger goals. Executing leadership in projects at work, etc.

This will not change who you are, but it will help you develop the tools you need to keep advancing in the professional world. You will be more confident during an interview. You will develop a stronger image. You will be way better at networking (and this is key to find amazing opportunities). You will not stay quiet at meetings anymore (something that I am still working on)

I invite you to try 1 new thing that might make you uncomfortable today but that can help you grow.

Lastly, thank you so much for taking the time to read this. I hope I was able to help you or inspire you. Thank you for being part of Latina Engineer.

Community College Checklist!

Are you starting your career at a community college? look no further! this guide will help you understand how to make the most out of your time in community college!

We need to stop looking at community colleges as education for those that can’t afford a university. These colleges have amazing resources, and while they might take a bit more work if you are planning on transferring, they can offer better education, amazing resources and opportunities, while staying close to home before going to a University.

Do you need an associates degree?

Hopefully by the time you go into college you know what you want to major in. Is it a 2 year technical career? is it a Bachelor’s? a Master’s? a PhD? This will be crucial for you to identify what classes to take an how to not waste any time, even as you figure out your major. I, for example knew I wanted a bachelor’s in STEM. What I didn’t know was that since my goal was set, I did not need an associates, and I ended up taking more gen ed classes (that didn’t transfer) just to get an extra degree that I don’t need because my bachelors overwrites the associates.

How many core classes towards your major do they offer?

Community colleges wont have every class you might need, so identify only the classes that you need. Sometimes you might only be in community college for 1 year, sometimes you do the 2 full years, sometimes they have so many classes that actually apply to your major that you might stay longer. You timeline is not set to “what everyone else does” (especially if you are in STEM). So figure it our and understand that its okay to transfer when you need to and not because someone else tells you!

Do all of your classes transfer?

Hopefully, your CC works closely with the school you intend to transfer to, If this is the case, it will be much easier to identify if all the classes you take will transfer simultaneously. If not, then you need to go out of your way, collect syllabus, talk to professors, counselors at both schools and ask to make sure all your classes in fact will transfers. Never take a no for an answer, especially if you already took the class. The last thing you want to do in retake it, and pay again, when the education that you got was fair and sufficient compared to a 4 year university.

Do they understand your needs?

I am bringing up this for 2 important reasons:

1. Community colleges might try to convince you to get a smaller degree with them (ex. an associates) because it helps them (not you!)

2. If a counselor ever tells you that you should change majors, they shouldn’t be counselors. Just because you are a woman, a minority, are struggling (trust me its temporary), or simply there’s no chemistry, it is no reason for them to decide YOUR future. Unless of course you literally asked them for their advice.

Do they have clubs related to your major?

This is not a deal breaker, but college is about meeting people with similar interests. So, if you are starting college or are currently in college, find a club you like. And if there is none, create one!

I literally did that, and that’s how I found some of my closest friends to date! You just need 3 more people and a mission. (hint: try to make it educational, but it can literally be for ANYTHING!)

What scholarships do they offer?

Never, ever! go into college without looking for scholarships. And apply! Even if the due dates have passed, ask the coordinator of that scholarship. This is exactly how I became an NSF scholar and an amazing mentorship program. The due date had passed, I didn’t qualify for money, but they were thrilled to have me be part of their group. We meet monthly, had presentations on many STEM courses, participated in a research competition, found an amazing woman in STEM mentor and overall learned all the opportunities I had in STEM before picking Mechanical Engineering.

Why Start at a Community College

College doesn’t have to be expensive or a big change. By staying close to home at a community college, not only are you making this transition easier, but it also lets be more focused on your classes.

Community colleges offer many benefits that include: cheaper education, smaller classes, avoiding paying rent by staying home, greater opportunities to get involved and really meet the staff, a way to get the most out of scholarships.

Below is a list of classes that as a STEM major you should focus on taking right away.

MATH: Cal 1, Calc 2, Calc 3, Differential Equations

SCIENCE: General Biology, Chemistry 1, Chemistry 2 (if required for your major. Especially for Biomedical Eng.), Physics 1 & Physics 2 (be sure that your physics courses are calculus based. Manu community colleges have different levels of physics).

OTHERS: English 1, English 2, Communications (These are required for any major) If you can get all of these classes out of the way in a community college, you are saving tons of money and still getting the education that you need.

What I recommend is that you start early by takin 1 class your summer before starting college and also take advantages of the summers in between. One more thing I wanted to point out is to be careful when planning your curriculum. These classes tend to be offered only on certain semesters at smaller schools. For example, Physics 1 is often only thought in the fall semester and Physics 2 in the spring semester. so plan accordingly.

Disclaimer: I am not a professional school counselor. The tips and guides I provide are my own opinions and are meant to provide a better idea in how to get the most out of school.

A Guide to STEM Careers

Below you can find a list of STEM majors and careers divided by category provided by ACT.

You can also visit the link below which does an amazing job at describing some of the most popular STEM degrees to help you gets started in picking a major.


Science Majors/Occupations

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Animal Sciences
  • Astronomy
  • Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology
  • Biochemistry and Biophysics
  • Biology, General
  • Cell/Cellular Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Ecology
  • Environmental Science
  • Food Sciences and Technology
  • Forestry
  • Genetics
  • Geological and Earth Sciences
  • Horticulture Science
  • Marine/Aquatic Biology
  • Microbiology and Immunology
  • Natural Resources Conservation, General
  • Natural Resources Management
  • Physical Sciences, General
  • Physics
  • Science Education
  • Wildlife and Wildlands Management
  • Zoology

Computer Science and Mathematics Majors/Occupations

  • Actuarial Science
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Business/Management Quantitative Methods, General
  • Computer and Information Sciences, General
  • Computer Network/Telecommunications
  • Computer Science and Programming
  • Computer Software and Media Application
  • Computer System Administration
  • Data Management Technology
  • Information Science
  • Management Information Systems
  • Mathematics Education
  • Mathematics, General
  • Statistics
  • Webpage Design

Medical and Health Majors/Occupations

  • Athletic Training
  • Chiropractic (Pre-Chiropractic)
  • Dentistry (Pre-Dentistry)
  • Emergency Medical Technology
  • Food and Nutrition
  • Health/Medical Technology, General
  • Medical Laboratory Technology
  • Medical Radiologic Technology
  • Medicine (Pre-Medicine)
  • Nuclear Medicine Technology
  • Nursing, Practical/Vocational (LPN)
  • Nursing, Registered (BS/RN)
  • Optometry (Pre-Optometry)
  • Osteopathic Medicine
  • Pharmacy (Pre-Pharmacy)
  • Physical Therapy (Pre-Physical Therapy)
  • Physician Assisting
  • Respiratory Therapy Technology
  • Surgical Technology
  • Veterinarian Assisting/Technology
  • Veterinary Medicine (Pre-Vet)

Engineering and Technology Majors/Occupations

  • Aeronautical/Aerospace Engineering Technology
  • Aerospace/Aeronautical Engineering
  • Agricultural/Bioengineering
  • Architectural Drafting/CAD Technology
  • Architectural Engineering
  • Architectural Engineering Technology
  • Architecture, General
  • Automotive Engineering Technology
  • Biomedical Engineering- Electrical
  • Biomedical Engineering -Mechanical
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Civil Engineering Technology
  • Computer Engineering
  • Computer Engineering Technology
  • Construction Engineering/Management
  • Construction/Building Technology
  • Drafting/CAD Technology, General
  • Electrical, Electronic, and Communication Engineering
  • Electrical/Electronics Engineering Technology
  • Electromechanical/Biomedical Engineering Technology
  • Engineering (Pre-Engineering), General
  • Engineering Technology, General
  • Environmental Control Technologies
  • Environmental Health Engineering
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Industrial Production Technologies
  • Mechanical Drafting/CAD Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering Technology
  • Mechatronics Engineer
  • Military Technologies
  • Nuclear Engineering
  • Petroleum Engineer
  • Quality Control and Safety Technologies
  • Robotics Engineer
  • Surveying Technology

If your main interest is engineering, below I provided some links to help you discover some of the most popular engineering fields. This website does an amazing job at covering each engineering type listed below:

Mechanical Engineering


Electrical Engineering


Aerospace Engineering


Biomedical Engineering


Civil Engineering


Practice Makes Perfect

I consider myself average. I will never be the smartest person in the room. But I can be the most dedicated, and that will always make me be the best.

One of the biggest challenges I had during engineering school was thinking that I was not smart enough for engineering, and being a female only multiplied that fear. But with time I learned that it’s all about practice. That is the key to be successful. Just like any sport, practice, practice, practice.

It took me a while to understand this. Now, it is the very first piece of advice I give to anyone interested in engineering. I have seen students switch majors because of the same very thought. And I know others don’t even give it a try because they think courses such as physics, dynamics, or fluids, just sound intimidating. But the truth is, none of us knew any of this. We just stick through it.

Every semester, the same story would repeat. I would go in excited for the new semester. I would start learning new content. I would feel like I had it. I was going to do good. Then… the first exam would come by and destroy both my confidence and grades. My first semester at a 4-year university (junior year) was the worst. That’s when I began taking all my engineering courses. After the first wave of exams, I was destroyed. I thought I couldn’t do it. I wasn’t ready for this. I started making plans about changing majors, or just dropping out of school completely. I was so silly. Somehow, I pushed through (props to my fiancé for always talking me up). The low scores would push me to try harder for the rest of the semester. I couldn’t let anything distract me from my goals. Many times, I took it as a challenge: I had to prove, both myself and my professors, that those grades did not represent my intelligence.

What exactly did I do to get better? I practiced, practiced, and practiced. I would read the entire chapters. Word by word. I would read them again. Then I would write down notes. Then, I would rewrite the class notes. Then, I would move on into the homework. If I really couldn’t figure it out, I would ask for the answers to my classmates or online and work through it to make sense out of them. Then I would throw it away, and do all the problems again on my own, to prove I understood them. For exams, or quizzes, I would re-do all of the homework’s from the chapters covered. Then, I would go back to my textbook and do as many problems from the back of the chapter (sometimes all of them), until I understood everything and until I felt like I could solve every type of scenario. Sometimes I would also explain the content to fellow classmates. It was exhausting, but it worked from me.

Now, I am not saying you must do everything I did, but my point is, from practice and repetition, I was able to teach myself.

There were times where I would be doing my homework and would cry from frustration. I just got chills remembering how stressful it got sometimes. But later, I would look back and see how something that seemed so difficult made sense now.  So no, if you think you are not smart enough, or someone questions your abilities to become an engineer don’t listen! Anybody can become an engineer. It is all in the passion and dedication that we put into it.

Customizable Engineering

My engineering life has been pretty unique this past few weeks. While my official work title is Manufacturing Engineer, my education was mainly Mechanical Engineering.

I was lucky to find a job that lets me do both. My responsibilities as a Mfg. Eng. are to analyze new potential products and define whether they are feasible to manufacture or what changes would make them be manufacturable. I am responsible to create and improve processes for new and existing products. This includes figuring out what is wrong when defects arise and how to solve them. We also create or modify equipment. It is so cool to take a machine and create pieces from scrap that will work with that specific piece of equipment. Or even creating a whole customizable testing fixture that will adapt to our products. It sparks my creativity for sure and lets me use my mechanical engineering skills. However, I also contribute to the Engineering design team. Here we take our costumers designs or requests for designs and create manufacturable models and blueprints. This means that I can go one step further and be the one who can make those mfg. critiques literally happen. In this phase of engineering, I am also in charge on making blueprints that provide everything that the production plant will need to create the parts. This is where the hands on learning is important and why I spent time just joining the production team and operators, just so I can better understand what problems we have and how things work. In my case, since I am manufacturing, I can combine those skills with the mechanical skills I learned in school to understand better and create better designs. 

I originally I wanted to jump in solemnly as a design engineer, but I am really glad I rather took a manufacturing position first. In order to be a good designer, one must understand how things will be made. I am also blessed to be able to have a customizable job where I can do different things and different roles. Have I told you guys I can also do quotes on new products? I have been trained in many different areas in our company so there’s never a boring day.However since every single design engineer has been sent home to work from home, I am the only one that is left (which is mostly because I am a manufacturing position). So many small things fall on me like testing and research for new products, or heat treatments, among other things that they can’t do from home. I would be making video call meetings with the engineers to trouble shoot problems. It is been quite a hectic journey. I enjoy it because I have been learning more and been more in charge of things. but its just so lonely being one of the few left in the office.

Its been 3 weeks today, and it seems like this will go over for another 3 more. I am just aiming to become a better engineer from this isolation. Sometimes it’s hard to think positively with what is going on. But today I remember how much I like my job. and how blessed to have a job that inspires me and motivates me.

I will never stop speaking Spanish.

I might not be as good speaking Spanish as I was before I left Mexico, but I will never forget how to speak it. Neither will I be ashamed. Why would I? By being bilingual, I can understand twice as many things. I can also talk to many more people than I could if I only spoke English or only Spanish. But, do you know what is the best thing? I can help other people.

I will never be your typical Mexican girl. I am way far from that. I don’t like avocado or guac. I don’t like mole. I don’t listen to banda or corridos. I rarely even watch a partido. But I will always be proud of where I come from and from my people.

The saddest thing is: people think they can get to tell me whether I am enough Mexican (or Latina) or not. Let me tell you, it is not their role to decide that. There is no such thing as a perfect Mexican anyways.

I come from a city in Mexico that is relatively close to the US Border (Monterrey, Mx). As a result, we have adopted many customs and ideas from the U.S. I was also never raised with machista rules. When we moved to the U.S., we tried to adapt. Now, they try to tell me that I am not Mexican enough… But not eating any of those things listed above, or not listening to specific types of music, doesn’t stop me from being Mexican. It is the values that we have. The principles that I follow in my life. Let me tell you, I have never met a pueblo más unido que el de Mexico.

When I am in Mexico, everybody says good morning. EVERYBODY. Away from Mexico, I struggle to make eye contact with people around me. In Mexico, you can make a friend anywhere. I mean ANYWHERE. On the bus, on the subway, in the mercado, it doesn’t matter. And the friendships that we make, are forever. The most important thing in our life is our families. If you don’t get along with my parents, forget about it. We will do anything for our loved ones. I mean ANYTHING.

There are reasons why I do what I do. The same reasons why I am respectful, why I work hard, why I chose a school where I could stay living at home. It’s the values I was taught. I would rather stay home and help my mom pick up the kids or help with their homework, than having a dorm living experience. The things that I believe make me Mexican do not come wrapped in a hoja de tamal, or colorful papel picado.

There have been times where my ethnicity has been believed to be other because I have semi light skin, or my last name is not very common. Sometimes I also feel that it was to do with the fact that I am an engineer. So, they don’t assume I can be a Latina. They think I must be something else. Or other times, it’s because I go places where I might be the only Latina. So, they are quick to believe I might be Italian, Mediterranean, or something else. But I am quick to tell them: I am from Mexico. Born and Raised, and proud of it.  You can find me speaking Spanish pretty much everywhere and as much as I can. It is still my most dominant language and the only way to make Spanish a standard is by using it. I, as my dad always does, request someone to help me at a store, bank, or restaurant in Spanish. Why? Because if there is demand for Spanish speaking people then they must fulfill to be successful. It’s a win-win.

When I came to this country, I learned the importance of having your roots muy en alto. There will be people that will make us feel less, won’t believe in us, and even discriminate us for being darker or speaking differently. My family and I have gotten dirty looks even for just taking a picture with Santa.

For this reason, one of my favorite things to do is help and support other hispanics. I don’t care if you are Mexican, Hoduran, Guatemalan, etc. We are all in this together. Ask me to help you and I will be right there. At work, about 80% of operators are Hispanic. Speaking Spanish has led me to be well liked among all of them (This is something very important for me since I am a Manufacturing Engineer). Having them trust me, not only helps me in my job, it also makes me feel good. Form all the engineers, I am one of two that speak Spanish. I am one of two that can go up and talk to almost every single operator due to my bilingual skills. However, the thing that makes my heart fill with joy is being able to help others with important things due to my bilingual skills. I feel privileged to be looked as someone to be trusted. I have been asked to be a translator at specific events, helped a translate important paperwork, or even just translate school emails for parents that want the best for their kids. We live in a country where Hispanics still face many unfairnesses. But we are a hard-working. If I was blessed to have everything I ever needed, I will use my place to change the norms.

Just today, I made an impact at work. As a manufacturing engineer, I spend quite some time writing work instructions and training people. 85% of the training I do is in Spanish. So, today while I was training an employee, I realized he wasn’t looking at the work instructions. I had heard him speak some English, but I didn’t think he couldn’t read it. I was doing the training in Spanish by the way, but not because I didn’t think he would understand, but because I generally speak Spanish to whoever I know can speak it. I prefer it. I am better in Spanish after all. That’s when I realized… I wasn’t doing enough. Then, I thought, I can write these instructions in Spanish. I will make a Spanish version of them. I do it all the time with my blog. The challenge was, how do I get is as an official document? So, on I went to talk to my boss about it. He was all in! We figured we could do it simultaneously. So, step 1 in English followed by step 1 in Spanish, then step 2 also English and Spanish and so on. I also found out that the company used to do English and Spanish work orders before but haven’t since 2000 or 2002! That’s a long time!

I feel great at bringing this change back. I am helping the employees do their job better and fully understand the process. I am also making it a norm to begin using bilingual work instructions again. Would a one-language speaker would have been able to do that? I don’t think so! (I should make a list of benefits of hiring a Latina engineer). As students, we are always encouraged to learn a second language. While I didn’t learn mine in school, I never thought it would be this useful. I spend a good portion of my life translating form English to Spanish or vice versa either at work, home, or a store. And I will always be more than happy to do it. To me, it comes naturally. To me, it feels like I am helping. To me, it feels like I am opening doors. To me, supporting my Hispanic community this way is what makes me a Latina.

Traditional Mexican Outfit form Monterrey, Mexico.


Nunca dejare de hablar español.

Puede que no sea tan buena hablando español como antes de dejar México, pero nunca me olvidaré de cómo hablarlo. Tampoco me avergonzaré. ¿Por qué habría de hacerlo? Al ser bilingüe, puedo entender el doble de cosas. También puedo hablar con muchas más personas de las que podría si solo hablara Ingles, o solo español. Pero ¿sabes qué es lo mejor? Puedo ayudar a otras personas.

Nunca seré tu típica chica mexicana. Estoy muy lejos de eso. No me gusta el aguacate o el guacamole. No me gusta el mole. No escucho banda ni corridos. Raramente veo un partido. Pero siempre estaré orgullosa de donde vengo y de mi gente.

Lo más triste es: la gente piensa que puede llegar a decirme si soy lo suficientemente mexicana (o latina) o no. Déjame decirte que no es su papel decidir eso. No hay tal cosa como un mexicano perfecto de todos modos.

Vengo de una ciudad en México que está relativamente cerca de la frontera de los Estados Unidos (Monterrey, Mx). Como resultado, hemos adoptado muchas costumbres e ideas de los EE. UU. Tampoco me criaron con las reglas machistas, o me inculcaron comida tradicional mexicana. Cuando nos mudamos a los EE. UU., Intentamos adaptarnos. Ahora, intentan decirme que no soy lo suficientemente mexicana … Pero no comer ninguna de las cosas mencionadas anteriormente, o no escuchar tipos específicos de música, no me impide ser mexicano. Son los valores que tenemos. Los principios que sigo en mi vida. Déjame decirte que nunca he conocido un pueblo más unido que el de México.

Cuando estoy en México, todos dicen buenos días. TODOS. Lejos de México, tengo dificultad para hacer contacto visual con las personas que me rodean. En México, puedes hacer amigos en cualquier lugar. Me refiero a CUALQUIER LUGAR. En el autobús, en el metro, en el mercado, no importa. Y las amistades que hacemos son para siempre. Lo más importante en nuestra vida son nuestras familias. Si no te llevas bien con mis padres, olvídalo. Haremos cualquier cosa por nuestros seres queridos. Me refiero a CUALQUIER COSA.

Hay razones por las que hago lo que hago. Las mismas razones por las que soy respetuosa, por qué trabajo duro, por qué elegí una escuela donde podría quedarme viviendo en casa. Son los valores que me enseñaron. Prefiero quedarme en casa y ayudar a mi madre a recoger a los niños o ayudarlos con su tarea, que tener una experiencia de vida de dormitorio universitario. Las cosas que creo que me hacen mexicana no vienen envueltas en una hoja de tamal o un colorido papel picado.

Ha habido momentos en los que se cree que mi origen étnico es otro porque tengo una piel semi clara, o mi apellido no es muy común. A veces también siento que tiene que ver con el hecho de que soy ingeniera. Entonces, no asumen que puedo ser latina. Piensan que debo ser otra cosa. O en otras ocasiones, es porque voy a lugares donde podría ser la única latina. Por lo tanto, se apresuran a creer que podría ser italiana, mediterránea u otra cosa. Pero les digo rápidamente: soy de México. Nacida y criada, y orgullosa de ello. Puedes encontrarme hablando español prácticamente en todas partes y tanto como pueda. Sigue siendo mi idioma más dominante y la única forma de hacer que el español sea un estándar es usarlo. Yo, como siempre hace mi padre, solicito a alguien que me ayude en una tienda, banco o restaurante en español. ¿Por qué? Porque si hay demanda de personas de habla hispana, entonces deben cumplir para ganar los clientes.

Cuando vine a este país, aprendí la importancia de tener mis raíces muy en alto. Habrá personas que nos harán sentir menos, no creerán en nosotros e incluso nos discriminarán por ser más oscuros o hablar de manera diferente. Mi familia y yo nos han tirado miradas intimidantes incluso solo por tomarnos una foto con Santa.

Por esta razón, una de mis actividades favoritas es ayudar y apoyar a otros hispanos. No me importa si eres mexicano, hondureño, guatemalteco, etc. Estamos todos juntos en esto. Pídeme que te ayude y estaré allí. En el trabajo, alrededor del 80% de los operadores son hispanos. Hablar español me ha llevado a ser muy querido entre todos (esto es algo muy importante para mí ya que soy ingeniero de fabricación). Que confíen en mí, no solo me ayuda en mi trabajo, sino que también me hace sentir bien. De todos los ingenieros, soy uno de los dos que hablan español. Soy uno de los dos que pueden hablar con casi todos los operadores debido a mis habilidades bilingües. Sin embargo, lo que hace que mi corazón se llene de alegría, es poder ayudar a otros con cosas importantes debido a mis habilidades bilingües. Me siento privilegiada de ser considerada alguien de confianza. Me han pedido que sea traductora en eventos, he ayudado a traducir documentos importantes, o incluso a traducir correos electrónicos escolares para padres que desean lo mejor para sus hijos. Vivimos en un país donde los hispanos aún enfrentan muchas injusticias y limitaciones. Pero somos trabajadores. Si tuve la bendición de tener todo lo que alguna vez necesité, usaré mi lugar para cambiar las normas.

Justo hoy, hice un impacto en el trabajo. Como ingeniera de Manufactura, paso bastante tiempo escribiendo instrucciones de trabajo y entrenando a personas. El 85% de la capacitación que hago es en español. Entonces, hoy, mientras estaba entrenando a un empleado, me di cuenta de que no estaba mirando las instrucciones. Lo había escuchado hablar algo de inglés, pero no pensé que no pudiera leerlo. Por cierto, estaba haciendo el entrenamiento en español, pero no porque no pensara que él lo entendería, sino porque generalmente hablo español con quien sea que pueda hablarlo. Lo prefiero. Hablo mejor en español después de todo. Fue entonces cuando me di cuenta … que no estaba haciendo lo suficiente. Entonces, pensé, puedo escribir estas instrucciones en español. Haré una versión en español. Lo hago todo el tiempo con mi blog. El desafío fue, ¿cómo puedo hacerlo un documento oficial? Entonces, fui a hablar con mi jefe al respecto. ¡él estuvo de acuerdo totalmente! Pensamos que podíamos hacerlo simultáneamente. Entonces, paso 1 en inglés seguido del paso 1 en español, luego el paso 2 también en inglés y español, y así sucesivamente. ¡También descubrí que la compañía solía hacer instrucciones en inglés y español antes, pero no lo ha hecho desde 2000 o 2002! ¡Eso es un largo tiempo!

Me siento genial al traer este cambio de regreso. Estoy ayudando a los empleados a hacer su trabajo mejor y comprender completamente el proceso. También estoy haciendo una norma comenzar a usar instrucciones de trabajo bilingües nuevamente. ¿Habría podido hacer eso un hablante de un solo idioma? ¡No lo creo! (Debería hacer una lista de los beneficios de contratar a una ingeniera latina). Como estudiantes, siempre se nos alienta a aprender un segundo idioma. Si bien no aprendí el mío en la escuela, nunca pensé que sería tan útil. Paso una buena parte de mi vida traduciendo del inglés al español o viceversa, ya sea en el trabajo, el hogar o una tienda. Y siempre estaré más que feliz de hacerlo. Para mí, es algo natural. Para mí, estoy ayudando. Para mí, estoy abriendo puertas. Para mí, apoyar a mi comunidad hispana de esta manera es lo que me hace latina.

Not validating yourself.

When I picked engineering, I wasn’t sure if I could make it. The thought of not being smart enough governed my mind for about 80% of my 5 years in school. I should have believed in myself a little more. After all, I graduated. I finally had made it.

Today, I proudly say I am an engineer. I am a professional.

However, when I am at work, I have trouble believing that I am the engineer.

I think some of it has to do with the fact that I began working in this company as an intern. I eventually transitioned from intern to full time engineer. However, since my first months, and even still now, I have been in a mindset of learning form everyone else (Which is great, you should always be looking to learn more, but in this specific case it was that I still felt like a student). So, sometimes I still feel like I do not have enough authority to make a decision. I forget I am now one of the engineers.

Let me tell you a couple of anecdotes:

Last week, I was doing some research between the departments to see what has been causing multiple defects after plating. I kept going back between deburring and plating, talking to different operators, understanding the defects, and trying to get to the root cause. I had one part number that was specifically being a challenge. There were no visible defects on the surface, but once plated, the defects would become visible and rework had to be done. I knew the plating couldn’t be it, because similar pieces were plating just fine. I stumbled trying to figure out what was happening. I was feeling a little unsure about how to move forward. Then, as I was discussing my findings and questions with the quality inspector, he reminded me: “You decide how we should move forward, you are the engineer.” While I wasn’t a 100% confident that my process would work, He gave me the confidence that I needed to move forward and try to find a root cause instead of running to someone else to help me.

I had a similar situation just earlier this morning. One of the supervisors came to me to develop a new method to manufacture a specific part. Based on my time here, I know that we have done the same thing with other pieces before, saving us time and money, but I also knew that some have been total fails. Most of it has to do with the size of the parts and our capabilities. However, this piece was in the middle of being too large for it too work or still within the range (So far, we haven’t set guidelines for this process). My first instinct was no (mostly to be on the safe side), but I was still not sure and felt like needed someone else to make that decision.

So, I went back to the supervisor and advised to consult with engineering. Especially the managers, someone that had more experience than me! But our production supervisor heard us and said: “Who did you tell him to talk to? Engineering? You are an engineer”. And it hit me… Yes, I am! So, while I am not experienced enough to make this decision (But who knows everything? Right?). I will be scheduling a meeting to discuss with people that can advise me. The difference is that this time I will be having a set of questions covering the information that I don’t know so that I can make an informed decision to solve the problem with the best solution. 

I have been blessed to be working in an amazing environment. From day 1 of my internship to my 297th day as an actual engineer. My questions have always been listened and answered. They made my transition as a full time engineer much less scary.

However, what I learned today is that I should not keep hiding under the shadows of the rest of the engineers. I have proven myself to be successful. I have had good projects where I could prove my engineering skills. I realized I have to trust myself more. I realized I have all it takes to be an engineer.


Aprende a Valorarte

Cuando elegí ingeniería, no estaba segura de poder hacerlo. La idea de no ser lo suficientemente inteligente gobernó mi mente durante aproximadamente el 80% de mis 5 años en la escuela. Debería haber creído en mí un poco más. Después de todo, me gradué. Finalmente lo logré.

Hoy, orgullosamente digo que soy ingeniera. Soy un profesional.

Sin embargo, cuando estoy en el trabajo, me cuesta creer que soy una ingeniera.

Creo que el hecho de que comencé a trabajar en esta empresa como practicante tiene un poco que ver. Al final me transferí de practicante a ingeniera a tiempo completo ya. Sin embargo, desde mis primeros meses, e incluso ahora, he tenido la mentalidad de continuo aprendizaje (lo cual es genial, siempre debes buscar aprender más, pero en este caso específico fue que todavía me sentía como una estudiante). Entonces, a veces todavía siento que no tengo suficiente autoridad para tomar una decisión. Olvidé que ahora soy una de los ingenieros.

Déjame contarte un par de anécdotas:

La semana pasada, estaba haciendo una investigación entre los departamentos para ver qué ha estado causando múltiples defectos después del enchapado (plating). continúe investigando los diferentes departamentos, hablando con diferentes operadores, entendiendo los defectos e intentando llegar a la causa principal. Tenía un número de parte que específicamente era un desafío. No había defectos visibles en la superficie, pero una vez chapados, los defectos se volverían visibles y se tendría que volver a trabajar. Sabía que el enchapado no podía la causa, porque piezas similares estaban enchapando muy bien. Me atore tratando de averiguar qué estaba pasando. Me sentía un poco insegura sobre cómo avanzar. Luego, cuando estaba discutiendo mis hallazgos y preguntas con el inspector de calidad, el me recordó: “Tú decides cómo debemos avanzar, tú eres la ingeniera”. Si bien no estaba 100% seguro de que mi proceso funcionaría, Él me dio la confianza de que necesitaba avanzar e intentar encontrar una causa principal en lugar de buscar a alguien más para ayudarme.

Tuve una situación similar esta mañana. Uno de los supervisores vino a mí para desarrollar un nuevo método para fabricar una parte específica. Según mi tiempo aquí, sé que hemos hecho lo mismo con otras piezas antes, ahorrándonos tiempo y dinero, pero también sabía que algunas habían sido un total fracaso. La mayor parte tiene que ver con el tamaño de las piezas y nuestras capacidades. Sin embargo, esta pieza estaba en el medio de ser demasiado grande para funcionar o todavía dentro del rango (hasta ahora, no hemos establecido pautas para este proceso). Mi primer instinto fue decir que no (para evitar riesgo de fracasar), pero todavía no estaba segura y sentí que necesitaba a alguien más para tomar esa decisión.

Entonces, volví con el supervisor y le aconsejé consultar con ingeniería. Especialmente los gerentes. ¡Alguien que tuviera más experiencia que yo! Pero nuestro supervisor de producción nos escuchó y dijo: “¿Con quién le dijiste que hablara? ¿ingeniería? Tu eres una ingeniera”. Y boom! reaccione … ¡Sí, lo soy! Entonces, aunque no tengo suficiente experiencia para tomar esta decisión (¿Pero quién sabe todo? ¿Verdad?). Programaré una reunión para discutir con personas que puedan aconsejarme. La diferencia es que esta vez tendré un conjunto de preguntas que abarcarán la información que no conozco para poder tomar una decisión informada para resolver el problema con la mejor solución en lugar de correr a alguien para que resuelva mi problema.

He sido bendecida de trabajar en un entorno increíble. Desde el día 1 de mis practicas hasta mi día 297 como ingeniera. Mis preguntas siempre han sido escuchadas y respondidas. Hicieron mi transición como ingeniera a tiempo completo mucho menos aterradora.

Sin embargo, lo que aprendí hoy es que no debería seguir escondiéndome bajo las sombras del resto de los ingenieros. He demostrado ser exitosa. He tenido buenos proyectos donde pude demostrar mis habilidades de ingeniería. Me di cuenta de que tenía que confiar más en mí misma. Me di cuenta de que tengo todo lo necesario para ser una ingeniera.