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Hispanic Heritage Month Member Spotlight #1

Meet and learn about four SWEesters in SWE's Latinos Affinity Group: Claudia Berdugo, Alejandra Leija, Carlotta Bowman and Camila Mancia.
Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, SWE will be highlighting Latinx/Hispanic women engineers and entrepreneurs in a series of blog posts.

Meet and learn about four SWEesters in SWE’s Latinos Affinity Group: Claudia Berdugo, Alejandra Leija, Carlotta Bowman and Camila Mancia.

Claudia BerdugoHispanic Heritage Month Spotlight

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Degrees/Certifications: B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Universidad Nacional de Colombia; Bogota, Colombia

Current Job/Title: Ph.D. Candidate in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Hobbies: Dancing, Reading, Travelling

Connection to Latinos AG: SWE member, from Colombia

Current SWE Positions: FY21 SWE Global Women Engineers AG Lead; SWE Leadership Coach – Leadership Coaching Committee

What does being Latina/Hispanic/an ally mean to you? 

Someone that acknowledges diversity and listens

Alejandra LeigjaHispanic Heritage Month Spotlight

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Degrees/Certifications: working towards Bachelor in Mechanical Engineering

Current Job/Title: Mechanical Engineering Student

Hobbies: Running, painting, plants, music

Connection to Latinos AG: President of SWE at Fresno State

What does being Latina/Hispanic/an ally mean to you? 

“It means that I am strong and empowered. I have determination. I love traditions from my family’s culture and representing other Latinas.”

Carlotta BowmanHispanic Heritage Month Spotlight

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Degrees/Certifications: Masters Cert at Thunderbird International Graduate School of Mgt Subject Matter

Global Leadership: MBA at Keller Graduate School of Mgt; Bachelors at University of New Mexico Subject

Matter Engineering and Finance: Associates at Purdue University

Current Job/Title: Development Manager of Programs

Hobbies: Cooking

Connection to the Latinos AG: SWE Member

What does being a Latina/Hispanic/an ally mean to you?

“It means strong family ties, faith, and love for others”

Camila ManciaHispanic Heritage Month Spotlight

Pronouns: She, her, hers

Degrees: B.S Industrial Engineering, M.B.A (STEM Track)

Current Job/Title: GRDP Engineer at Cameron, a Schlumberger Company

Hobbies: I love dancing! I currently teach group fitness classes such as Zumba (my go-to cardio), Pilates, Step, and other formats.

Connection to the Latinos AG: New Member – Latin American (El Salvador)

What does being Latina/an ally mean to you? 

To me, being Latina/Hispanic means finding diversity and adversity from a very young age and overcoming challenges. It means that you will be living proof to others that it is possible for women to be wonderful students, professionals, and even heads of households if you desire. It means paving the way for other Latinas who will also become the first-in-family to challenge generational stereotypes. It means cherishing your culture and taking the best parts of it to teach others about resilience, perseverance, and solidarity.

Other info: I was born in California but raised in El Salvador. So fun fact, in order to study in the US, I graduated from high school twice, once in El Salvador and once in Texas. I moved to the US when I was 17 years old to pursue higher education and did not want to let anything get in the way of my goals. I became a first-generation Latin-American female engineering student, graduated from Industrial Engineering Magna Cum Laude with a Minor in Mathematics, and completed a Master of Business Administration in the accelerated STEM track. But, school is not all there is to life. Following my passion for dance and movement, I became a group fitness instructor. I now teach Zumba, Pilates, Step, and other formats as a hobby.

Throughout my journey as a Collegiate and a Professional, the Society of Women Engineers opened my eyes to the possibilities of a career in engineering and the importance of inclusion. This is why I became involved in the organization 6 years ago as a student, and now I volunteer in SWE as a part of the Leadership Coaching Committee. I believe that diversity and adversity are crucial to triumph. Therefore, I have never been happier about my decision to move to the US where I get to experience diversity in my everyday life. I hope I can continue to lead by example and open doors for talented individuals who find representation in me.

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