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On Engineering in Crisis: Creating Your Environment

Over the next few weeks, we invite you to join us for a short-form blog series on how SWE Members are navigating the world amidst COVID-19. In this fourth blog, we are pleased to feature Yareni Patricia Lara Rodriguez from University of Puerto Rico.
On Engineering In Crisis: Creating Your Environment

Today, we are pleased to feature Yareni Patricia Lara Rodriguez from University of Puerto Rico. These blogs will showcase how different SWE members are engineering their lives during this fluid and ever-changing environment.

Want to be featured? Submit your engineering in crisis story here.

Your Name & Affiliation: Yareni Patricia Lara Rodriguez from University of Puerto Rico

Engineering Discipline: Bioengineering


How do you handle stress and maintain a work-life balance right now?

Every morning I try to do at least a 10 minute exercise routine. When I have more time, I do 30 minutes. I get dressed like a normal day going to the university or laboratory to work. I prepared and cleaned my desk and my home office space to have only the things I may need for working. I have breaks of 10 or 15 minutes and keep a calendar of my deadlines to make a weekly schedule. I reward myself by watching at night all my pending movies I wanted to watch.

Do you have any tips for studying or working from home? 

  • Play music that you know helps you to be focused.
  • Prepare your environment. Work close to a window where you can see nature or daylight. Also, you can light candles or a diffuser to give you a comfy smell.
  • Ask your colleagues to have online meetings if they are involved in a current project with you to have the feeling they also are involved in the progress.
  • Have a realistic to do list and check mark the things you have done. Have the list visible to you so you can measure your own progress and it can help you to feel positive and productive.
  • Try to write those emails that you think people may not answer because of the current situation. Do it! Now is the time – people may have more time than ever to reply to you.
  • Complete all your pending webinars from SWE’s Advance Learning Center!

How do you maintain community with your fellow SWE members, section, or affiliate?

I am part of the lead mentoring committee of SWE Latinos Affinity Group. We have meetings every 3 months. We also keep in touch on our Facebook page SWE Latinos AG.  I also participate and collaborate with the SWE-RUM section at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez.

Engineers will be part of the critical solution to the global crisis created by COVID19. How are you engineering in crisis today?

This month I had several deadlines for research papers and scholarships. I did encourage my colleagues to get the research papers done and submit our work. My plan is to have a scholarship that allows me to have time beside my studies to collaborate in community projects (like 3D printing masks or ventilators) to apply my engineering skills and help to reduce the impact of the current crisis and similar ones in the future.

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