How Much Math Is Used In Being A Financial Advisor Latinas and Science

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Latinas and Science

It’s hard to be a scientist and Latina at the same time. People can never correctly guess what I do for a living. If I tell them I have my own business, they assume I have a restaurant. The truth is, I can’t cook, but I have owned and operated an engineering applications company since the early 1980s.

I constantly fight against people’s preconceived ideas of what a successful Latina does or looks like. A lot of people think Latina and they think Jennifer Lopez. Sorry, I don’t look or sing like her. Early in life, my mother told me, “Honey, study math.” You see, he couldn’t sing, but he excelled in math and science. So I followed his advice.

I started college when I was 16, on a full scholarship, and graduated with honors with a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico. The biggest challenge I faced was being a young woman in a predominantly male field. Note that only 10% of our class were women. Several professors were downright hostile to having women in their classes. One of them was known to say, “Women belong at home, and should be kept barefoot and pregnant.” That was in 1972. However, I did not let their prejudices stop me from continuing my studies. Instead, I became president of the school’s chapter of the Society of Women Engineers and created programs to highlight the positive roles of women in engineering.

I also took advantage of having so many men in my class: I met my husband Germán, another chemical engineering student, on my first day at university and we’ve been together ever since.

When I talk to younger women and they ask me if I’m happy with my career choices, I tell them this:

• An engineering degree opens up many career options. Degree in hand, my first assignment was doing computer simulations for the largest company in the world at the time, Exxon Corporation. Several years later, my engineering degree caught the attention of New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean, and he personally interviewed me for the position of Director of the NJ Small Business Division in the late 1980s. I became the top Hispanic in his administration.

• In a recent Charlotte Observer article titled “A Bidding War for Engineers,” the columnist wrote that “Even though the economy is cooling, engineers are in high demand and the competition to hire them s “it’s been fierce… But with graduation. Rates have dropped 20 percent over the last two decades, there’s not enough to go around.” Due to the limited supply, engineers will be needed in droves for years to come.

• An engineering background taught me better how to learn on my own. Among other subjects, I have taught myself finance and investment strategies, thus keeping me competitive in business.

I also explain to young women why people can never guess my profession: There are very few of us! Census data indicates that 4 percent of all science and technology professionals in the country are Hispanic, and that number includes both men and women. In 2003, according to the National Science Foundation, Latinas made up only 1% of all employed scientists and engineers.

But we need more. Everywhere I go, I extol the values ​​of a science, technology, math and engineering career. And I can see the results of this preaching in our daughters. My oldest graduated with honors from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and now works at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He speaks four languages, has traveled extensively and won robotics competitions in the US and Europe. My youngest is studying Chemistry and Forensic Sciences at the University of the Sciences (USP) in Philadelphia. She was one of the top 20 students in her high school class and is also an accomplished pianist and artist.

Both serve as reminders that any woman with the right support, role models and opportunities can break stereotypes, make an impact and transform the world of science as we know it today.

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