June 26, 2009Her job: Avionics Systems Engineer, The Boeing Company
Describe what you do in your current work situation?
I am an Avionics Systems Engineer at the Boeing Company in Seattle. On a daily basis, I design and develop advanced system enhancements for the next generation of airplane avionics.
Why did you choose engineering?
For as long as I can remember my interests and abilities have been in the fields of mathematics, science, and technology. In particular, I always had a profound interest in space science and space exploration, an interest that motivated me to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in the field of Physics and a Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. My ultimate dream while growing up was to become an astronaut. Needless to say, that dream has led me to great opportunities and opened many unexpected doors.
Where did you go to school and what degree(s) do you have?
University of Puerto Rico - Mayaguez B.S Physics, M.S. Mechanical Engineering
International Space University - Certificate in Space Studies
What kinds of activities have typically been part of your work?
I work in a multidisciplinary environment with very intelligent peers creating cool airplanes!
What do you like best about being an engineer?
Being an engineer and developing creative solutions for people has given me the opportunity to value the need of user-friendly applications. For me, the best part of being an engineer is having the opportunity to contribute to society by developing tomorrow’s technology, I truly enjoy improving the way in which humans interact with scientific and engineering applications.
Which of your career accomplishments are you proudest of?
I am most proud of my children, my husband and my family. My heart is truly filled with joy when I see them reach their full potential. Other moments that fill me with pride are those moments when I hear someone tell me that I have inspired them in one way or another, I absolutely love to hear the success stories of those whose lives I have touched.
What challenges have you met and conquered in your pursuit of an engineering career?
One of the greatest challenges that I faced while growing up was being raised in a community with very limited educational resources, and very few role models. Looking in retrospect, I believe that what helped me overcome adversity was having a burning passion towards space exploration - for me, a single dream made all the difference. For this reason, I am a firm believer that having a dream (and believing in that dream) is like creating your own recipe for success. I highly encourage you to find your passion because it will help you overcome challenges… Follow your dreams, and you will find a great future!
Please tell us a little about your family.
I am married to Travis Brady, a wonderful artist who creates 3D art for a video game company called Bungie. We have three wonderful, talented and respectful children: Jeilymar (14), Schaffer (15) and Tyson (17). Additionally even though I am a grown up, I continue to be very attached to my wonderful mom, Luz Santiago and my three brothers Fernando, Reynaldo and Emmanuell who live in Puerto Rico. I call them almost every day and I truly enjoy when we have the opportunity to reunite during family gatherings.
What are your short-term (1-2 years) and long-term (10+ years) goals?
Today, although I am very proud of my past endeavors and achievements, I have many dreams yet to accomplish including furthering my education. I am very eager to pursue a PhD in Human Centered Design and Engineering from the University of Washington. On my professional career, my long term goal is to be a leader of a highly technical organization. Furthermore, I want to accomplish my future dreams while continuing to have an ideal life balance, it is very important for me to maintain a happy family!
What (or who) had/has the greatest influence on your life choices?
My greatest inspiration in life was my own daughter! I was a mom at a young age, and being responsible for a little girl always motivated me to perform my very best in order to become a good role model for her.
What advice would you give to a young woman considering a career in engineering?
Are you ready to hear the secret recipe? Here it is: - Find your passion, set definite goals (long term goals and short term goals that help you reach your ultimate dream), work toward achieving those goal and never deviate from them! - Research, find opportunities for young girls and if you cannot find interesting opportunities in your vicinity, then create your own opportunities (start your own organizations, leadership programs, math or science clubs etc). - Speak with Engineers, find a mentor. - Always apply for anything that looks interesting to you, high school internships, scholarship etc. There are many scholarships for females who wish to pursue degrees in Science and Engineering. - Always follow your dreams and never – ever - give up!
Describe something about your life outside of work: your hobbies, or perhaps a favorite book.
For the past five years, I have been a Certified Flight Attendant and Crew member of a private company called Zero Gravity. Zero Gravity provides weightless flights to the general public - the ultimate goal of our company is to open space travel to civilians. Additionally, I truly enjoy giving back to the community through educational outreach; I routinely visit schools and universities to encourage young minds (especially females) to pursue degrees in technical fields.