Meet Beatriz Perez, Science Club for Girls' Mentor
Updated: Apr 22
Beatriz Perez is one of Science Club for Girls' (SCFG) 121 volunteer Mentors who teach and support youth in our weekly Science Clubs this spring semester. Beatriz is a Mexican-American first generation college graduate, currently working at Amazon as an ASIC Engineer (ASIC stands for "Application Specific Integrated Circuit"). Beatriz's enthusiasm for STEM, her work, and life is infectious. We are so lucky to have her as a Mentor, and we hope you enjoy getting to know her through this interview.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your educational and work background.
I grew up in Oklahoma with my parents and four siblings. I am the first and only one in my family to move away from home. I left for New York City at 18 for college without ever visiting New York, going on a plane, or knowing a single person in the city. I went to NYU and graduated in May 2022 with a Bachelors in Computer Engineering and a minor in Robotics. I've been heavily involved with Robotics for the past seven years, I absolutely love it. I currently work at Amazon as an ASIC engineer. An ASIC engineer is an electrical engineer that focuses on the development of chips for electronic devices. Chips are analogous to the brain of electronics. I work on the team that makes chips for Amazon Blink cameras and Ring doorbells.
How did you get interested in STEM?
I’ve always enjoyed math ever since I was a kid. Math is a numerical puzzle to me, and it’s so fun to explore and solve. Although I knew I loved math from the start, engineering and the concept of STEM were not introduced to me until my sophomore year of high school. Until then, I didn’t even know what an engineer was.
Because I grew up attending poorly-funded schools, there weren’t many extra curricular opportunities past the bare requirements. When I went to a new high school, I learned that engineering meant building, innovation, and creativity. I used everything in my power to explore it in different ways. I got involved with a robotics team even though it was all boys at the time. I took engineering classes. I signed up for a part-time technical school to explore computer science while I attended high school.
Robotics is what really made me grow my interest in STEM. I led our robotics team to the youth World Competition, and it was empowering knowing I achieved so much as the only woman on the team. Our robotics team fully immersed ourselves into trying to get more girls involved. We held summer camps, mentored teams, and helped start up all girls groups. It was teaching and empowering these kids about something that I absolutely enjoyed that really solidified my love for the study and field.
What is your dream job?
My dream job will integrate my creative and crafty side with technology. One of my biggest issues with figuring out what I want to do with my life is being weighed down with the question of “am I making a positive impact on the world?”. I always thought that the only way I could meaningfully impact the world would be by inventing something practical or working on something practical. I have finally realized that helping better the world can come in many forms.
Animatronics is a field I'm interested in because it bridges robotics with creativity and the arts. Animatronics are the realistic-appearing robotic humans or animals commonly seen in Disney parks or in movies. The first time I rode a Disney ride and saw these animatronics, I was mind blown. It made my whole day and helped me realize that even putting a smile on someone’s face is making a positive impact on the world.
I’m also interested in exploring engineering in theater. All the electronics and automation that happens on Broadway is mind blowing. I would love to work on something like this for one of my future jobs.
There are so many areas I would love to explore, I don’t have a single dream job or any idea where I will be 10 years from now and that’s what's so exciting to me. I have the ability to do absolutely anything.
Why did you become a Mentor with Science Club for Girls?
I have a deep passion for mentoring girls in STEM. Growing up as a low-income, Hispanic female to immigrant parents, the concept of becoming an engineer was so foreign. I want to help support, encourage, and lead girls and women to pursue these STEM fields that have been discouraged to us for generations. I moved to Massachusetts in August and have been volunteering at SCFG since. I love volunteering at Science Club because it gives me an opportunity to encourage these girls to go in and change the gender standards.
How old are the students in your Science Club?
I work with the 5th to 7th grade group. Because they are older, a lot of these girls have a very heavy opinion on what they believe they enjoy versus don’t enjoy. A few of them have openly told me that they hated engineering, so I’ve enjoyed changing their mindset and introducing them to activities they’ve gone on to enjoy!
If there was one thing you could say to your mentees, what would it be?
Don’t hold such strong opinions on things you haven’t experienced. This is one of the biggest downfalls with being close-minded in life. There are so many beliefs and judgements coming from everyone around that it’s easy to dismiss things so quickly. Everyone has their own point of view.
Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it, whether it be engineering, a new hobby, a new food, a new location, anything.
Is there anything else you’d like to share
I’d love to highlight my “girl hero” right now. Her name is Kat Echazaretta. She is a Mexican electrical engineer who became the first Mexican born woman to go to space. As a Mexican Electrical Engineer, I see myself in her. She reminds me that with determination and grit, anything is reachable. Even the sky isn't the limit.
Thank you, Beatriz, for your courage, passion, leadership, insight, and for being an inspiration to us all!