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Celebrating Engineers Week, Part 4 A Q and A With Angela Diaz

To celebrate Engineers Week 2015 and the many ways in which engineering touches our daily lives, we reached out to several exceptional women engineers to learn about their paths to engineering, their roles as mentors, and their advice for students aspiring to STEM careers. Today, we hear from Angela Diaz, Mobility and Video Operations Manager for Northrop Grumman Enterprise Shared Services.

The following has been edited and condensed for clarity.
What does a typical work day look like for you?
A typical day involves working with customers to further define the issues they are encountering and then figuring out the best approach to solving their problems. Every day is something different, which I like.
Tell us about how you chose to become an engineer.
I went to college as an undeclared major and after my first year of getting all my General Education completed, I needed to choose a major. Looking through the catalog of majors, the one that looked interesting to me was Electrical Engineering (EE). Once I started taking EE courses, I fell in love with it. I was always good at math and science, so it was a perfect fit for me.
What do you most enjoy about engineering?
I love the challenges. I like that when I come to work, I know I won’t be doing the same thing over and over. There is always something new that comes up that needs to be addressed.
What do you wish more people knew about engineering?
I wish more people know that engineering isn’t a boring career. I don’t think that a lot of people know what you do when you say you are an engineer; they either think you drive a train or you are just sitting around doing math problems. At the core, as one of my professors in college said, an engineer is a problem solver. If you like the challenge of solving complex problems, engineering is a great career choice.
What advice do you give to young people who are interested in engineering?
I tell young people to definitely pursue their interest in engineering. It’s a very challenging and rewarding career. You can do anything with an engineering degree and there are ample opportunities for people with an engineering background.
Tell us a about a teacher or mentor who impacted you on your path to becoming an engineer.
My Physics and AP Calculus teacher at Woodrow Wilson High School in Los Angeles, Mr. Nicholson, had a huge impact on my decision to go into engineering. He made the classes he taught easy to enjoy and took the time to make sure his students clearly understood the topics he was going over. A lot of people shy away from math and science because they think it is so difficult to understand. But when you have a teacher who makes it so easy and fun, that intimidation hurdle goes away. If he had not been such an amazing math and science teacher, I don’t think I would have pursued a career in engineering.