When Katya Echazarreta moved from Mexico to the United States at the age of seven, she couldn’t speak a word of English. Three years later she was as fluent as a native. Eight years after that she was beginning her Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering at UCLA, and to date, she has worked on five NASA missions (including the Mars rover) and is currently pursuing a master’s! The influence of Katya’s mother (who always encouraged her to pursue her dreams), the support from her teachers, and her strong will and passion for learning, have allowed Katya to overcome the challenges that she has faced as a woman in STEM. She has made it her goal to instill confidence in other women in STEM, and ensure that they do not feel isolated, which is a key factor that causes many to leave their chosen fields. Tune in today to hear Katya’s inspiring story!
Sn. 3, #26 Katya Echazarreta: Aim for Mars!
Emily received her BA in Women’s Studies and JD from Temple University. Early on, she worked as a legal advocate for women in domestic violence cases. After practicing law, Emily began working on the business side of things. She is the co-owner of AAA School of Trucking, a truck and heavy equipment safety training firm, which she has spent the last 10 years growing into a thriving national business through government and military contracting and corporate partnerships.
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My roots start in Mexico where I was born. My family moved to the US when I was about 7 years old. Growing up in the US was difficult at first due to the language barrier, but I worked hard and was a fluent English speaker within two years. My mom instilled a strong work ethic in me since childhood and always encouraged me to follow my passions. Space, Math, Astronomy, and Physics have interested me for as long as I can remember and I never lost sight of that growing up.
My educational journey was not a straight shot. I graduated high school and enrolled in a Community College to study Electrical Engineering despite various setbacks. After three years I transferred to UCLA where I obtained my B.S. in Electrical Engineering. During my time at UCLA I got to be an intern at NASA JPL. Eventually, I transitioned to a full-time engineer and worked on 5 NASA missions including Perseverance and Europa Clipper. Currently, I am pursuing a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.
Throughout my journey in engineering school I was very aware about the lack of women in the field. This was very difficult for me because I did not have many people I could ask for advice regarding several topics such as the implicit biases we face on a daily basis. I’ve been given the opportunity to help guide those girls and women who, like me, are looking for someone with experience in what they are going through. Through honesty about the difficulties and encouragement, I hope to be able to help women be better prepared for their experience as a woman in STEM.
As an Electrical Engineer, I’ve grown to be very passionate about engineering education. I think that a big part of developing successful engineers is enthusiastic instructors. Through my work in science and engineering communication I hope to help bridge some of the existing gaps for students and young professionals.