p. 41 p. 42 p. 43

I was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles, California. From a very young age, I was interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. I was good at math, and I had a knack for putting things together. In high school, I held leadership positions on my robotics team, and as a college undergraduate student, I majored in physics. I participated in six summer internships at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory working on space technology, with my favorite being midinfrared instrument thermal testing for the James Webb Space Telescope. I then earned my master’s degree in mechanical engineering. With this rigorous experience in STEM, I decided to pursue traditional engineering roles.

What I had neglected in that thought process are the other interests and skills that I had developed during my early growth in the STEM fields. In high school, I held a leadership position on the Student Council. As an undergraduate, I also majored in religion. I enjoyed ceramics and cooking and thrived when I was able to work on projects where I could help my teammates formulate strategies for design and execution. It was during a conversation with a mentor that I realized that I had so much more to offer. To have a fruitful career, I needed to foster my STEM side as well as my creative and gregarious nature. I wanted to pursue a career where I worked with teams of engineers in a way that I could help them get to a finish line, be their advocate, and serve as a translator in a world that often does not understand the needs and decisions of high-functioning engineering teams.

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