These organizations have given me a community of people where I can see other Latinos and Latinas, especially upperclassmen, who are excelling in STEM graduate and do incredible things. And I think without that, especially in classes where I didn’t see that many people of color, it would have been easy for me to think, “I don’t see myself represented here, maybe this isn’t for me.” The group has also provided me and others with resources and opportunities to excel in our respective fields. For example, there are opportunities to meet with Latinx engineers working in Silicon Valley and beyond to hear more about their experience as professionals, and there are grant opportunities to fund research or classes to help students continue to expand their knowledge over the summer.
I’m one of the cofounders of SLAE, which is actually a small group within SOLE that helps bring awareness to the issues that come not only with being a person of color, but a woman of color in STEM. We felt we needed to make a space in which we could support and educate our members on the intersectionality of issues like the pay gap, diversity in tech and more. It’s so fulfilling to see SLAE grow as a cohort and gain so much attention on campus. Even within the Latino culture, there can be a lot of machismo, or sexism, and I hope by focusing attention on gender issues within the SOLE community, we’ll create some positive change that will reverberate to all parts of campus.