Laura Valencia Fritsch

I developed a love for math and science when I was in high school. Math was one of those subjects that I was just good at.  My teachers took notice and encouraged me to consider a career in math and science. At that point in time, I didn’t realize going to college was an option for me. I didn’t know what engineering was; I just knew that I liked to solve problems. ⁣
Also, in high school I was part of the Science Olympiad team. One year, I built a Rube Goldberg machine, which had to accomplish a simple task utilizing five forms of energy transitions. During the competition, my electronics failed and I had to touch the machine during the competition to fix the issue. I ended up getting second bronze that year. It was then that I knew I needed to learn more about electronics and how they worked. That’s when I decided to become an electrical engineer. ⁣

I am a huge advocate for youth in STEM. As young kids, most of us have no idea what engineering is. Gender biases and societal constraints make careers in STEM for women almost unachievable. Because of this, I advocate for nonprofit organizations such as the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), FIRST Robotics and SciGirls. Organizations that bring STEM awareness to young kids and provide minority representation. Organizations that help young college students attain careers in engineering and empower women.  ⁣
How do I make time? I prioritize. I think we can all prioritize what matters most. In my opinion, bringing STEM awareness to our youth is what matters most.⁣

The most heartfelt piece of advice I could give to women in engineering wanting to take their career to the next level is the same piece of advice I would give to any young girl wanting to pursue a career in STEM. I would say: “Don’t let the perceptions of others stop you from achieving your dreams. Stand tall and confident in your abilities and go for it!” @lnvalencia

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