Table of contents:
- Only 13% of engineering jobs in the United States are held by women, and an even smaller percentage of them are Latinas. According to the latest report from the National Science Foundation, only 2% of the engineers employed are Hispanic women, says NBC News
- How did you start in engineering?
- Where do you work now?
- Why is diversity in science and engineering important?
- What is the best advice you can give a Latina who wants to immerse herself in a STEM career?
- What are the advantages that growing up as a Latina has given your career?
Video: Latina Engineer In Silicon Valley Thanks A Mexican University For Helping To Launch Her Career
Only 13% of engineering jobs in the United States are held by women, and an even smaller percentage of them are Latinas. According to the latest report from the National Science Foundation, only 2% of the engineers employed are Hispanic women, says NBC News
Nora Naranjo, who worked at various startups, before getting her current job, has had a path to success and is helping to change the technology and automation aspect of the restaurant industry. We asked this native of Baja California, Mexico, some questions about her work in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
How did you start in engineering?
Designing and building was a constant interest throughout my childhood and student life, as was consumer technology. After graduating from graphic design and working full time, I still needed science in my life. I wanted to study at a university that could keep up with my learning and experimentation, that's why I enrolled in Mechatronic Engineering at CETYS University in Baja California, Mexico, when my scholarship was approved. Most of the faculty of engineering became great friends. Today I am excited about the possibilities of students interacting with new products and technologies in their new Center for Innovation and Design (CEID).
Where do you work now?
Eatsa, a fast food startup in San Francisco, California. I am working to advance automation in the restaurant industry as restaurant owners want to create the magic recipe for customers to have a faster and more accurate experience. With automation I also focus on creating a better quality of life for the people behind the kitchen.
Why is diversity in science and engineering important?
Diversity in engineering and design teams helps solve problems. Diversity is not only important because it is moral. Diversity offers better solutions. For example, not having a visually impaired person to help with the design eliminates the possibility that the products could be used by visually impaired people, as they were not included in the design solution.
And encouraging Latinas to enter STEM at an early age is critical. Most of the girls who do an excellent job in math and science see that gender roles are limited. Most girls lose interest when they grow up, so we have to focus on that transition.
What is the best advice you can give a Latina who wants to immerse herself in a STEM career?
Believe in yourself first, in everything else second. The first and most important step is to look inside yourself and take an inventory of your skills. Ask yourself what you do well, write it down and give it a try. Ask yourself what you could do better, write it down and work on it. A constant mistake I made when I started in technology was believing in superior engineers more than myself, doubting my ideas because they didn't align with the rest of the team, only to discover, after months and several design cycles, that I had the reason all the time. Having a physical list of your talents, abilities, and areas of opportunity is a great tool for making technical and personal decisions.
What are the advantages that growing up as a Latina has given your career?
Growing up Latina makes you take nothing for granted. I grew up watching my parents fight to build a house, a name, and a company. I grew up knowing that my public representatives would ignore all injustices. I grew up improvising solutions to major problems. I grew up defending myself because no one else would. Latinas build resilience, empathy and independence: characteristics required for any leadership position.