Hi everyone! My name is Melissa Villanueva and I am a Test Systems Engineer at a startup in Southern California.
During school, I was always very shy and too afraid to ask for help when I needed it. This led me to not doing great in math classes because I would fall behind on the material. However, this didn’t stop me from applying to Cal Poly Pomona as an Aerospace Engineering major. I thought that when I got to college, I would magically get the confidence I needed to succeed in my classes. But being one of the few Latinas in my engineering courses didn’t help my confidence at all. So I started getting involved in organizations, such as SHPE and SWE, so I could lean on communities that would understand my struggles of being a minority in my classes.
Once I became more sociable, I started applying and taking on leadership roles within these student organizations. They helped me become a better leader, student, and advocate for minorities.
I am now the SHPEtinas Director for SHPE Region 2 and it has been amazing! I’ve gotten to meet so many Latina Engineers and they are incredible. I hope that as a team, we can motivate young Latinas to pursue careers in STEM and encourage them to speak up and build the confidence they need to succeed. @mel.villa