Latinas are as Americans as you are. It is about time we should even stop saying or iterating that.
Latinas have proven time and again that they can do whatever they want to, despite all the hurdles & obstacles. Once they set their mind to something, there is no stopping them. This National Hispanic/LatinX Heritage Month, we take our time to honor a few Latina women who not only paved their way to success in STEM but revolutionized it as well.
We have only chosen a few women here, but if we start creating a list, there won’t be enough space. Hence, it is important that not just this month but rather we continue honoring the progress of these women in STEM and their community yearlong.
So, here are five Latinas in STEM and their achievements you should know about:
Calline Sanchez is the ultimate women leader you should be aware of. The Vice President of IBM WW Systems Lab Service and the State Leader at IBM for Arizona and New Mexico State, she also advocates for a female-focused revolution. She is not only a leader in technology but a strong believer in young girls opting for STEM fields.
When she isn’t focusing on her job at IBM where she leads 450 engineers and scientists, she works with local groups including the South Arizona Leadership Council, the Southern Arizona Research, and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers among others to mobilize young girls to take part in what we call male-dominated fields.
Sanchez was hired on a temporary gig in IBM, but that first job took her to more than 25 countries as a part of tech, corporate, and government projects. This one Latina woman has inspired young girls to do their best and prove their mettle. To date, hundreds and thousands of women have followed her footsteps to conquer the male populated STEM fields.
ANDREA VALDIVIA SHINN
Currently serving as the Vice President - Consumer Agent Payments & Settlements Operations, Product Engineering Lead – Goldman Sachs, Andrea Valdivia has also worked as the Chief Operating Officer of Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), a nonprofit dedicated to fostering Hispanic leadership in STEM. She is also currently serving as the board advisor at the SHPE Dallas-Fort Worth where she acts as the servant leader to the Hispanic Community. Shinn also works for these underserved areas and communities as a real estate investor in North Texas.
Her career has been all about delivering innovative business solutions for consumer financial products. She has been associated with Goldman Sachs, in one capacity or the other, for around nine years and has worked on new business development and regulatory initiatives. Andrea Valdivia Shinn can be found inspiring Hispanic women to stop letting people define them by a certain identity and fearlessly make their way up in STEM.
A STEM Advocate and an Engineer from MIT, Jazlyn Carvajal is a Senior Project Manager for a commercial construction contractor in Silicon Valley. She is also a full-time co-founder of Latinas in STEM Foundation. It is a national nonprofit organization focusing on inspiring and empowering Latina to pursue STEM fields. She is also a co-founder of Stay On Your Daily (SOYD), a business consulting firm that focuses on business development and operational efficiency. She has expertise in many places and she is acing at them all.
Carjaval became popular for completing the award-winning $178 million, 375,000 square feet Union City High School with rooftop stadium. She has been juggling multi-million-dollar projects like they are nothing. This is why, she also served as Co-Chair to NJ Governor, Phil Murphy's Transition Committee on Government Technology and Innovation.
Jazlyn Carvajal made her way through STEM and not proved her competence in the field but is now actively advocating to ensure the disparity ends and more & more Latina women fulfill their dreams of becoming future STEM leaders.
DIANA ALBARRÁN CHICAS
Another co-founder in Latinas in STEM, Diana Albarran Chicas is an MIT Engineer now working as a Technical Partner to VP, Systems Engineering at Maxar. Her areas of expertise are also unique, because she introduces herself as someone who is revolutionizing the future of space, and she sure is. With the certification from Stevens Institute of Technology in Space Systems Engineering, she has been working in the sector to transform space sciences.
Chicas is a renowned social agent who challenges the status quo, advocates for STEM and with Latinas in STEM, inspire young Latinas to pursue higher education in the relevant fields. She is also the co-founder of LISTAS and Empower Educational Services. When she is not working, you will find her advocating for fellow Latinas and promoting diversity, inclusion, and belonging via her expertise.
A Software Project Manager, an Aviation enthusiast, and an advocate with a technical mind, Francesca Escoto is the Director of Black & Brown Founders. Her vast career includes developing new software to track aircraft engines, sales and process optimization, and project management. She is also a professional coach and a certified scrum master as well.
Escoto has a background in Industrial Engineering which serves her well in optimizing processes, reducing costs, and optimizing operations, etc. She has used these skills to grow many businesses. She is a serial entrepreneur, business coach, speaker, and a leader who works for every black and brown woman out there & motivates them to do their best despite what people say.
These were five Latina women among the list of hundreds of ambitious entrepreneurs, and STEM leaders. Despite having a marginalized status, they did not let the odds get the best of them.
They came, they conquered, and they proved that racism won’t be allowed to win over their ambitions, aspirations, passion, hard work, and dedication!