Editor's Note: This post is part of a series produced by HuffPost's Girls In STEM Mentorship Program. Join the community as we discuss issues affecting women in science, technology, engineering and math.
Growing up in Lima, Peru, I knew I wanted to be a diplomat. I had this grand plan completely mapped out and, all of a sudden, life happened. My baby brother got cancer, and in order to save his life, we moved to the United States. When we relocated, so did my dreams. I spent the following years in hospitals with fantastic doctors, so I decided I wanted a career in medicine. But the first time I got nauseated at the sight of blood, I knew that being a doctor was out. I realized that life is unpredictable; dreams and plans need to be able to change, so I learned the importance of flexibility.
When the time came to choose a degree, I knew I needed to choose one that would allow me to "be anything that I wanted to be," like mom would say. I needed a plan, but one that would allow me to adapt to change, so I could realize any dream I had. That's what led me to engineering.
Engineers are logical thinkers. They are problem solvers that are constantly thinking of ways to solve issues, to make things better. As a woman, I found that our tendency to think (and often over think) played nicely into engineering. Moreover, I met doctors, lawyers, and many other professionals that graduated with an engineering degree and became something else later on. That's the flexibility I wanted. It became clear to me that this degree was the perfect foundation to fulfill my dreams.
And as I think about engineering, I can't help but feel compelled to encourage more women to consider this field. There were only a couple of us in my class, but we led the pack. I always heard how tough engineering was, but each time I passed a class, I gained confidence in my ability to think differently and built on that flexible foundation I desperately sought. I learned to shift focus from the ordinary analysis of situations to deep assessments with alternative solutions. This shift, this re-focusing of thoughts, is engineering's greatest asset ... and the reason why it's a perfect fit for a woman.
I know now that engineering gave me a wonderful foundation to help me realize my dreams. If not for the flexibility to adapt as needed, I may not have watched my career grow like it did. Moreover, I know that I still can become something else if I wanted. Will I be a diplomat years from now? Or a doctor? I don't know, but I know I could ... and that is what engineering created for me.
If you choose engineering, the same could happen for you. It's wonderful to know that you can "engineer" dreams and make them your reality ... whatever they may be and however they may change.
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