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Health & Safety Engineer Paulina Castrellón

Astronaut's Daughter
How did Paulina Castrelleón find her people and her calling in life as a first generation college student? Spoiler alert: the movie Encanto played a part but so did ignoring the haters!
Show transcript
00:00
Hey, everyone.
00:00
Welcome to astronaut's daughter.
00:02
I am your host, Vanessa Hernandez and I am, in fact the daughter
00:06
of an astronaut today's episode.
00:08
I sit down with Paulina Cas.
00:10
She is an environmental health and safety engineer.
00:13
She gives amazing advice.
00:15
That is truly inspirational.
00:17
I took a lot away from it and I can't wait for you to hear what
00:20
she has to say.
00:38
Welcome to astronauts daughter.
00:40
I'm so excited to have you here and talk to you about your life
00:44
your career.
00:45
Any advice you have to give to our listeners and watchers?
00:48
Yeah.
00:48
Well, I just want to say thank you for having me here.
00:51
Super excited to be chatting with you.
00:53
So my name is Paulina Castrillon.
00:55
I am an environmental health and safety engineer.
00:57
You know, obviously we're going to get into your career and
00:59
what you do, but I'd really love to go from the very beginning
01:03
and talk about your childhood, like how you grew up that foundation
01:08
and we'll build from there.
01:10
Yeah.
01:10
So I grew up in the San Fernando Valley 818.
01:13
I'm a valley girl at heart and it's just me and my brother.
01:17
I don't have any other siblings.
01:19
We're a year apart.
01:20
And when we grew up in the valley, it's very interesting because
01:23
I am a first Latina, first born, first girl, first daughter
01:28
first of the, the first of everything in the entire family
01:30
My mom, at the time when we were little, I'll never forget my
01:33
mom was a surgical tech and she was working in Cedar Sinai in
01:36
Beverly Hills, but she didn't do that for very long.
01:39
Um And my father works in construction, working for Los Angeles
01:42
Department of Water and Power.
01:44
And so growing up when we were little, like, I didn't really
01:46
see my parents that much because they were working, you know
01:48
they were young parents, they had to work all the time.
01:51
At some point.
01:52
I want to say maybe in middle school, my parents were kind of
01:55
like, ok, we need to spend more time with our kids.
01:58
And then that's when we actually moved out of the valley and
02:00
we moved to the high desert.
02:01
And then that's when my mom became a stay at home wife.
02:05
Uh stay at home mom essentially.
02:06
And at that point it was like, really cool and really weird
02:09
because I'll never forget there was one point.
02:11
I was like, I don't know her, I don't see her.
02:13
I don't talk to her.
02:14
Wait, I have the exact same experience with my dad because
02:19
my mom was a stay at home mom too.
02:20
She didn't go beyond, you know, a few college courses before
02:24
she married my dad and decided to stay home and take care of
02:27
her kids.
02:28
And I'm one of four.
02:28
So that's like, oh, yeah, she had, she was like, I got to take
02:31
care of and my dad, he traveled a lot for work and I had to go and
02:38
train and all of that and there was a point in his career where
02:42
he was, like, all right, I'm going to retire from NASA.
02:44
I'm going to be at home and you know, with my kids and I remember
02:48
that shift and it was so drastic.
02:52
I was like, who are you?
02:53
Like, I only know you in the like 7 to 10 p.m. you know, but I knew
03:00
my mom at night but by the time my mom got home, you know, I understand
03:04
now as an adult like God damn, what she did was hard, like what
03:08
she did, she has the hardest job ever.
03:10
And like, you know, as an adult now I tell my mom, like my mom
03:12
is my son and my moon.
03:14
I see my mom when I wake up, I see my mom before I go to bed, I talk
03:17
to her all the time.
03:18
She's my best friend and I love my dad.
03:20
But I tell my dad like no, she, she got a harder job than you,
03:22
sir.
03:23
Like no, like I tell that to my dad too.
03:27
Sometimes I have to rein him and be like, look, appreciate
03:30
your wife because that job is hard.
03:34
It is.
03:34
And you don't realize it because you go to work and you go to
03:37
a job like a 9 to 5 and all of your, your therapist, your mom cooked
03:40
your because your mom did everything for you while your daddy
03:43
was there.
03:43
What was your mom doing?
03:44
Right.
03:45
So you got to give props to our moms and definitely like growing
03:48
up, you know, um my mom when she became a stay at home mom, she
03:52
was so adamant for me and my brother, like you have to go to school
03:55
you have to go to college.
03:56
There is no trust fund.
03:57
If something happens to me and your dad, like that's it.
04:00
You have to take care of yourself.
04:02
And you know, I remember in school like even when I was little
04:06
I really didn't know what I wanted to be.
04:07
To be honest, I just, I wanted to be in TV.
04:10
I wanted to be like on Telemundo, I knew that I liked to talk
04:14
and I was always told like, oh, she's a character like she belongs
04:18
on TV.
04:18
So that was my goal be on TV.
04:21
And my brother was like, he wanted to be a vet, he wanted to be
04:24
a doctor, he's going to be a lawyer.
04:26
Like it was very interesting listening to it.
04:30
Now as an adult, this my brother, as a male, young boy was doctor
04:34
lawyer, engineer, daughter TV.
04:38
And that's it.
04:39
You know, I had to find that little shift by myself on my own
04:43
in my own journey of life, which it was very nice.
04:46
But yeah, in my childhood though, I have to admit, like my parents
04:50
did the best that they could and we had an awesome life, the
04:52
four of us and we still do.
04:53
We have a great time together.
04:55
So they really encouraged you.
04:56
Like they were like, all right, you're going to go to school
04:58
you're going to college no matter what it takes, this is your
05:01
path.
05:01
So when you started college, like, what was it like then figuring
05:05
out what you wanted to do, did you originally know?
05:08
Ok, I'm going to go into stem like this is the career path I'm
05:10
going to go.
05:11
Oh, no, no, no, no, no.
05:13
So I remember being in high school actually because, you know
05:16
when you're in high school, by junior year, senior year,
05:18
you need to start preparing to start college applications
05:22
or, you know, do extra curricular activities, things like
05:25
that.
05:26
And I remember my mom would tell me, like, what do you want to
05:29
do?
05:29
And I was like, I don't know, it's such a hard question to ask
05:33
someone who is 16, 17, not even 18 yet, what they want to do,
05:38
what they want to spend so much money in for the next four years
05:44
and then figure it out right now.
05:46
I really had no idea.
05:48
So my mom kind of helped me, like I told her I was like, I want
05:50
to be on TV.
05:50
And she was like, OK, communications, public relations.
05:54
I was like, sure, why not?
05:57
And I remember I started applying to Cal State LAUCL A, I mean
06:01
I applied to Cal State Northridge.
06:03
I applied to tons of universities and, um, you know, regardless
06:06
whatever I was going to do, my mom was just like, you need to
06:09
go to college, like you're not going to be in this house and
06:11
not do nothing.
06:12
And I went to school, I had a job and when I got into school, it
06:16
was like, OK, I went in with communications and public relations
06:19
at California State University Northridge and I remember
06:21
my first day of school.
06:22
I was like, all right, I'm going to be on TV.
06:24
That's what Pauline is going to do.
06:26
And this is a great school with media.
06:28
Uh CN has a wonderful program when it comes to Pr and media and
06:31
visual arts.
06:32
So I was like, I'm in the right hands.
06:34
I'm going to do OK.
06:35
But then somewhere along that line, like that's when that
06:38
shift changed.
06:39
I think we talked about earlier when I took an elective and
06:42
I was like, this is not for me anymore.
06:44
Yeah, there's always that one class I feel like when people
06:49
like start college and they're experimenting, I think the
06:52
best thing colleges do is give you general classes that you're
06:56
required to take because then you start experimenting and
06:59
you start looking at different classes because it's just
07:01
one course.
07:02
Absolutely.
07:03
And it might spark some sort of curiosity and cause you to change
07:07
your major, which I feel like that's exactly what happened
07:10
I mean, I went in with communications and pr and I was like,
07:13
OK, I took a theaters class.
07:15
I had to take just like the basic, like an English class.
07:18
And at the time, and I'm sure college is still impacted, I had
07:22
to crash classes.
07:23
I had to be on a wait list.
07:24
It was hard and I needed to take an elective to fulfill a certain
07:28
category.
07:30
And the elective at sea Sun was environmental occupational
07:33
health 101, I fell in love with the chorus.
07:35
I was like, what is this?
07:36
I never heard of such a thing.
07:38
This is people have a job in this.
07:40
Like, what do you do in this?
07:42
And I became fascinated and intrigued with the concept of
07:46
combining medicine, engineering and public health and that
07:50
it's all of these different concepts and a little bit of communication
07:54
because essentially my job overall, I have to communicate
07:58
all this terminology, public health aspects, engineering
08:00
aspects to our employees and the terminology that they're
08:04
going to understand, to keep them safe.
08:05
Right?
08:06
And so, so interesting to me because it was everything that
08:09
I ever wanted and more.
08:10
But I didn't know.
08:12
How do I switch my major?
08:13
How do we get there?
08:14
How do we do it?
08:15
And then, because it's scary that shift, it's like, well,
08:18
I already started in this one major.
08:20
Do I just follow through?
08:21
Because this is what I did?
08:22
Or do I take that leap and switch?
08:26
Well, going back to is I didn't know what STEM was.
08:29
I didn't know the acronym.
08:30
I had no one in my family who did STEM.
08:32
So I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
08:36
And I remember at the time at sea.
08:38
So I had the actual catalog book where you look at the classes
08:42
and I would look at like, OK, what does this course entail like
08:44
Wow, calculus, physics.
08:46
And I just told myself when I left high school, I'm not doing
08:49
any more math.
08:50
Like I'm not going to touch another chemistry class, right
08:53
And then when I looked at the pre rex, this class, I had to take
08:56
om I had to take thermo everything that I had to take for this
09:00
major was pretty much equivalent to a pre-med student.
09:03
And I was like time out.
09:04
Is that what I want to do?
09:05
Like is that what we're going to do right now?
09:07
Paulina, I was kind of scared like, how am I going to tell my
09:09
friends, how am I going to tell my family?
09:11
Like this is going to be challenging?
09:13
But I wanted to do it.
09:15
Something sparked a fire in me and said you have to do it.
09:18
I love that.
09:19
And we talked a little bit earlier about how you may have had
09:23
someone in your life that discouraged you in the beginning
09:27
from switching.
09:28
So I kind of want to talk about that because I relate to that
09:32
story a lot and we'll get into it.
09:33
Yeah.
09:34
So at the time again, no one in my family did stem.
09:38
I didn't have anyone to ask about engineering or medicine
09:42
I had no one to go to.
09:43
But at the time, the person who I was dating was in, he was a civil
09:47
engineer or graduated as a civil engineer, had a civil engineering
09:51
job, family, civil engineer, yada yada ya.
09:53
And I brought it up to him saying like, hey, I'm interested
09:56
in doing this.
09:57
Like I'm kind of scared to do calculus and physics and I knew
10:00
he had already taken it and I had asked him like, you know, what's
10:06
it like?
10:06
And instead of being supportive and instead of being, you
10:09
know, you can do it, I got told, you know, you're going to just
10:13
waste your money, you're going to struggle, you're not going
10:17
to be able to do it.
10:18
It was everything that I didn't want to hear and no shade to
10:21
him, not trying to bash him.
10:23
We all move on.
10:23
But I mean, a little shade to him because that was not cool.
10:28
Like when he said that I needed to hear that young Paulina needed
10:33
to hear that because like I told you earlier, young Paulina
10:35
was collecting red flags and that was like, girl, you about
10:40
to change your whole major, you about to change your whole
10:42
life and this man don't support you.
10:45
No, the last red flag he needed.
10:47
Oh no.
10:47
And I already had other red flags and I was like, I don't need
10:50
two backpacks of red flags.
10:51
We need to change this.
10:52
And so I was like, I'm done.
10:54
I can't do this.
10:54
Switch my major and I went ham, like I went hard into school
10:59
I deleted all my social media and I remember like, even my friends
11:02
like at some point I was like, I love you, but I really, I'm
11:04
going to do this.
11:05
I'm going to prove everybody wrong, everyone who thought
11:07
that I couldn't do this.
11:08
I'm going to do it.
11:09
Everyone who thought that, oh, she'll probably give up.
11:12
You're going to see me.
11:13
Everyone who thought that like, oh, she's just this pretty
11:16
face and she's doing it for whatever.
11:18
Watch me.
11:19
You're going to come to my graduation date and you're going
11:22
to say my name and I'm going to look at you in the face and be like
11:25
I did it like I couldn't wait for that moment and it took me a
11:28
long time.
11:29
I did not in four years, but that was in my head every day when
11:33
I would go to class, like I'm going to do it.
11:34
I'm going to give them a big fu in everybody's faces, even the
11:38
people that I love because even the people that I love, like
11:40
they just kept telling me, are you sure?
11:42
Are you sure?
11:43
And it made me feel like damn, y'all don't have faith in me.
11:46
Y'all don't believe in me and I have no idea because I'm so proud
11:51
of young Paulina that I had that fire to do that because somebody
11:55
else could have been scared and no, I'm not going to do this
11:58
and anyone who's in a bad relationship right now or just even
12:03
friends, family, loved ones, whatever it is.
12:05
Like if you find something that you're inspired by, that motivates
12:09
you that you are interested in doing it, do it because sometimes
12:13
in life, the things that you do are the things that make you
12:16
happy.
12:16
Not everybody wants to see you happy, not everybody wants
12:19
to see you win.
12:20
Not everybody wants to see you.
12:21
That's what I call a you problem.
12:24
Not a me problem because that's stemming from your own insecurity
12:27
because it's tugging on the insecurity that you already have
12:31
of like maybe I can't do this, but I just need one person to say
12:35
I believe in, you know, you can do that, you know, but I love
12:39
how you took that doubt that they had and be like OK, watch me
12:44
and it may feel scary, but you're going to be so thankful to
12:48
pass you for pushing through that and be like, watch, watch
12:52
me.
12:53
Oh, dude, when I graduated on stage, like I remember that day
12:57
when I graduated, I'm going to have to post these pictures
12:59
on Instagram.
13:00
I actually had pneumonia in my graduation ceremony.
13:04
I was there with a Haler, you know, and they were like, and I
13:08
was like, ain't nobody going to stop me, not even pneumonia
13:11
Like I was going to get that diploma.
13:12
I didn't care.
13:14
I was so determined.
13:15
I was like, I worked my butt off and I just remember like going
13:18
to my family like I did it.
13:19
Yeah.
13:20
And I think it's important to note that like, especially in
13:23
romantic relationships but even personal relationships
13:26
but romantic relationships, especially when you're young
13:29
how easy you can be influenced by that other person.
13:34
And just to remember not to let that influence you and be stronger
13:39
than they think you are because in college, you know, I'm going
13:43
to get into, I want to hear your story.
13:45
Um I had this one person who I was quite frankly obsessed with
13:51
like, I didn't day in high school.
13:53
I didn't date in college.
13:54
And this was the first real person that I had a crush on, like
13:57
this person had a hole over me and I was crushing hard.
14:00
And I remember we worked together and we were sharing stories
14:04
about, you know, I was a junior in college and that's like the
14:07
time where you're like, ok, I have my major, we're getting
14:11
into like, our real life, what we're going to do after graduation
14:14
what jobs are we going to get?
14:16
Where are we going to apply?
14:17
You know, what are our bigger dreams?
14:19
And we were sharing that with each other and I remember him
14:22
sharing his dreams with me and me being like, wow, like you
14:26
can do it like that's awesome, like supportive girlfriend
14:29
supportive person, like we weren't together, but we were
14:32
still like close and you know, I felt like he was a good friend
14:35
and I obviously had feelings for him and you know, wanted to
14:37
be supportive and be a good person.
14:40
Like that's what a good person does, right?
14:44
And then it got to be my turn and to share, you know, what at that
14:48
moment, what my dreams were and what I wanted to accomplish
14:51
in my life.
14:51
And I remember listing everything and, and, and just going
14:55
into so much detail and me being so like, visibly passionate
15:00
you know, I love it and getting like this, no response from
15:05
him and him being that's a little too far fetched.
15:08
Don't you think that's a little too out of reach for you?
15:12
Like maybe bring it down a notch.
15:15
And I just remember because I was so excited in that moment
15:18
sharing that with him.
15:20
And to get that response from him completely shattered.
15:23
And I was like, you know what, I'm not gonna let this one person
15:27
who I may have strong feelings for affect me because, you know
15:32
he says I can't do it.
15:33
Ok, watch me, watch me, watch me do what I need to do and he won't
15:38
be in my life to see it or he will, but he'll be watching from
15:40
social media.
15:41
He'll be watching from afar.
15:43
Not in my back pocket.
15:44
So, like, hello?
15:45
Hi.
15:46
How are you doing?
15:47
But absolutely.
15:48
But it's true.
15:48
It's like, you know, you can either let a relationship control
15:52
you and let, let their words have power and meaning over you
15:56
or you can be like, thank you for your opinion.
16:00
But I don't care.
16:02
Yeah.
16:02
And it's so important though, especially when you're in college
16:05
and, you know, you're a first gen or just in college, a student
16:09
you need community.
16:10
You need people to support you.
16:12
I mean, when I was younger I was like, I'm going to do it alone
16:15
I'm going to do it alone.
16:16
No, I couldn't do it alone.
16:17
You can't do it alone.
16:18
No one is meant to be alone and no one can do things in this world
16:23
alone.
16:23
Right.
16:23
With that community where, what advice do you have to give
16:27
to people who may not have that in their personal relationships
16:31
or romantic relationships?
16:32
Like, are there other places that people can go to find that
16:35
community.
16:36
Um, so there's so many wonderful organizations, like, if
16:39
you're a student right now and you're thinking like, ok, I
16:41
don't have a partner or my friends or my family don't support
16:44
me.
16:44
Ok, if you're in school, get involved with clubs, there's
16:47
a wonderful club that I'm involved with and colleges all around
16:50
have them.
16:50
It's called Ship Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers
16:54
They have different chapters.
16:55
But these organizations, these clubs, you join them and you
16:58
meet people like it's specifically based for the Latin community
17:01
But guess what?
17:03
They're in STEM too.
17:05
So you get to meet other engineers who are in the Latinx community
17:07
who can help you out.
17:08
If not, you have Society of Women Engineers.
17:11
Now, I'm talking about STEM clubs but there's so many other
17:14
clubs that are not related to STEM join those clubs, get in
17:17
a sorority, get in a fraternity, build your family, build
17:21
your community, build that support.
17:23
If not, you know, join colleges have this at, we have the gym
17:28
and they have the inter mural teams.
17:30
So I joined the soccer team.
17:31
Yeah, dude, I met all these cool people that I'm still friends
17:34
with.
17:34
We still follow each other on social.
17:36
I think it's important to note that it doesn't have to be academic
17:39
either it could be something as simple as sports or theater
17:44
or anything.
17:46
Going back to you being first gen and your parents and all of
17:50
that.
17:51
What was that like growing up?
17:52
Like did you feel that intense pressure of like, OK, have to
17:56
succeed or whatever I do.
17:58
The perfect example is like the Disney movie, Luisa Tick Tick
18:03
Tick.
18:04
When I saw that movie, I was like, dude Disney just exposed
18:08
me like, oh my God, that is my life.
18:12
And you know, it's crazy because when I'm with my family, I
18:15
have to put on a mask.
18:16
I'm fine.
18:16
I'm not crying.
18:17
I'm not sad.
18:18
I'm not depressed.
18:19
I don't have anxiety.
18:20
But then when I'm by myself, oh I fall and my boyfriend sees
18:25
it and he's like you good.
18:26
And I'm like, you know, I have a functioning anxiety meaning
18:30
that I thrive working under pressure.
18:33
I don't, I'm not good at setting boundaries.
18:36
I'm a people pleaser.
18:37
I don't know how to say no, I'm a type, a personality.
18:40
I'm a perfectionist.
18:41
Anything that I do is going to be perfect.
18:43
I'm an organized freak.
18:44
Like everything's got to be on the dot However, it may sound
18:47
good to other people, but they're also bad because they're
18:50
habits of mind that I have to understand nothing is perfect
18:54
One thing that my therapist always tells me that I love progress
18:58
over perfection and especially being as a first Gen Latina
19:02
growing up when I was younger, I have this mentality of I have
19:05
to be perfect.
19:06
I have to do it the right way.
19:08
So now as an adult, I've told myself, don't put an age to something
19:13
that I want because you're setting yourself up for expectations
19:16
and you hurt yourself at the end of the day, what you should
19:18
strive for is just to be a better person than what you were yesterday
19:21
and be a better version of you and that you're healthy, mentally
19:25
physically, spiritually and everything else at the end
19:28
of the day.
19:29
No, because when you're a first gen yes, I still have pressure
19:33
today.
19:33
I still have sometimes the anxiety of like, I'm in school again
19:36
I'm doing my graduate program and I sometimes have the feeling
19:39
like damn it, I need to pass.
19:41
I need to make sure I get a si need to make sure I graduate.
19:44
But then I have to check myself and be like hold up, girl, hold
19:47
up.
19:48
You already made it on nasa's website.
19:49
What do you have to prove?
19:51
Definitely.
19:51
And I love what you said about progress over perfection because
19:56
perfection is something that one I think every person strives
20:00
for and it keeps them from getting to their actual goal.
20:03
Like for me, there's this one, I saw this one, Tik Tok and well
20:07
one, I want your therapist's number because she sounds great
20:11
and I could use her.
20:12
But right now Tik Tok is my therapy and I stumbled across this
20:17
one Tik Tok where it gave me really great.
20:20
I, and it has stuck with me ever since and I use it now as my life
20:24
motto and it was do a crappy job.
20:27
That was the, that was just it.
20:29
Tell me how to do a crappy job because it's like we constantly
20:34
strive for perfection and because of that, it keeps us from
20:39
doing the actual job.
20:41
And it's like you, you step back and you think to yourself,
20:44
can I do a crappy job at this one thing?
20:47
Yeah, I can have, I can, I can just do it and that gets you from
20:53
doing the actual task versus doing nothing at all.
20:57
And we talked a little bit about anxiety earlier and like mental
21:00
health.
21:00
And again, you know what if you're a student, I can't emphasize
21:03
so many students who are in school today, they get a grade and
21:07
they get a bad grade and instantly they feel that that grade
21:11
is going to, you know, determine who they are their worth and
21:15
everything.
21:15
And I will say right now, yes, I have a good job.
21:18
Yes, I have done good things in my career.
21:20
But yeah, I failed.
21:21
Om, I got FS.
21:23
Yeah, I struggled in school and did not graduate with a 4.0
21:26
I didn't graduate top of my class.
21:28
I didn't graduate with beautiful colors on my graduation
21:31
gown.
21:32
No progress over perfection.
21:35
You also, if you're a student, you need to understand, you
21:37
need to take care of your mental health.
21:38
There's nothing wrong if you're a 4.0 student and you reach
21:41
for the stars.
21:41
Absolutely.
21:42
But don't hurt yourself to get there.
21:45
School for me.
21:46
It was more of a challenge.
21:47
You know, I had to read things like I remember I would read a
21:49
paragraph and I was like, three times and I still don't get
21:52
it.
21:52
And I would think like, what's wrong with me?
21:54
I couldn't get it or all my notes.
21:56
I do my notes in color.
21:58
I learned, I'm a visual learner.
21:59
I had to write on a white board, do colors and people would do
22:02
mental math and I'm there like writing the whole thing out
22:06
You just do things differently.
22:07
But if I got a bad grade instantly, I felt like a failure.
22:10
And still to this day, I'll never forget.
22:13
I love my mom.
22:14
I love you mom.
22:15
I got a bad grade.
22:16
I remember I failed chem.
22:17
And instantly my mom and dad went in on me like they just kind
22:21
of like shunned me where my brother was.
22:22
Like, I got all A's, I passed all my classes and it was like,
22:27
ok, ok.
22:28
And I had to pick myself up and wipe my own tears and reenroll
22:33
in the same damn class that I failed and take it again.
22:37
And when I passed instead of being like, yes, it was like, well
22:40
you should have passed the first time or you should have passed
22:45
this and again.
22:47
I love my parents.
22:48
But these are things that I hope parents when they listen to
22:50
today don't do that because you're going to create trauma
22:55
that you don't even know if your kid fails a class, don't punish
22:59
them, don't scold them, go figure out why, what happened,
23:03
what's going on.
23:04
There's probably things that you don't even know what's going
23:07
on with your kids.
23:08
And if not, maybe it's a teacher thing.
23:10
Right.
23:10
Maybe it's a university thing.
23:12
There are so many students and I think, and, and give me your
23:16
opinion on this.
23:17
Um, but the, the discrepancy or I think the thing that's missing
23:22
here is just your parents didn't go to college.
23:25
So they don't know, they didn't know the intensity of college
23:28
courses or what you're going through or what it really takes
23:31
and the work that it takes to be, you know, to go through those
23:35
classes.
23:35
Like I had this conversation with my therapist and now my friends
23:38
who are moms, um, every child is different.
23:42
My brother learns different.
23:43
I learn different.
23:44
He likes blue.
23:45
I like pink, he likes chocolate.
23:47
I like dark chocolate.
23:48
We're all different.
23:49
So you have to talk to each child differently.
23:52
You have to give them love differently.
23:55
You have to listen to them differently.
23:57
That's something that I talk to my mom a lot with because I,
24:01
I will sometimes be that child that will kind of criticize
24:06
my mom at times when I'm frustrated and be like, well, you do
24:09
this for Antonio.
24:10
But you never did that to me or like you did this for Julio and
24:14
I never did it to me and stuff like that.
24:16
And she's like, you guys are all different.
24:19
You didn't need that, but he does or like you needed this more
24:24
and he doesn't.
24:24
And that really opened my eyes to, oh, we're all different
24:28
We all need different things.
24:30
But with that being said, I think parents could also do a better
24:34
job of like, OK, well, if we're all different, then maybe not
24:38
have the same expectations for all of us and that, you know
24:43
that and also if you're a student, I will say a lot of universities
24:46
when you pay for tuition, utilize those resources.
24:49
I didn't know this until I got out of college.
24:51
That's all of your tuition.
24:53
Um When you pay like for example, State University Northridge
24:55
their tuition, when you pay, you automatically get free therapy
24:59
Didn't know that.
25:00
Did I know that?
25:01
Yeah.
25:01
So if you're a student and you want to do therapy, they offer
25:04
therapy also.
25:05
They have what's called like the disability offices services
25:08
Um If you go in there and maybe you have a DH D you have a learning
25:12
disability, anything like that, you can sign up, go talk to
25:15
them, go talk to a counselor, you can have someone take notes
25:17
for you.
25:18
Maybe you're sick or you need extra notes or you need your visual
25:21
learner.
25:22
Maybe you need extra time on your test.
25:23
They have these resources that are already included in your
25:26
tuition but you as a student maybe don't know.
25:29
So take advantage of that because you already feel low at home
25:33
You failed in class, you don't know what to do and you need that
25:35
extra help.
25:36
There is extra help, if not utilize social media, there's
25:39
so many different types of tutors now on Instagram who are
25:43
offering help and services for engineering classes.
25:46
If you're in work, a lot of companies now will pay for tutors
25:49
for you.
25:50
Yeah, it's just like looking for the resources that you need
25:53
and being ok with that.
25:55
Like it's not not a big deal if you need that extra help, it's
26:00
ok to ask for it.
26:01
Ok, let me say that again.
26:04
It's ok to ask for help, say louder for the people in the back
26:08
It's ok to ask for help.
26:10
No really.
26:10
It is because I think when we go to college and when we start
26:15
to kind of go on our own, this is the first time we're away from
26:19
our parents, we're away from our siblings.
26:21
We're truly like out figuring out life as young adults.
26:26
And the one thing that you want to do is be like I can do it all
26:29
on my own.
26:30
I can make I can succeed on my own.
26:32
I don't need anyone's help.
26:33
I know when I was in college, I felt like I had something to prove
26:37
too kind of like you did where I was like, I don't need to call
26:40
my dad when, if I'm struggling with the class or I want to make
26:44
sure that if I succeed, I can say, oh, it was all on my own.
26:47
But there were times where I would just be like, I need help
26:51
I'm struggling and I found that in my professors, I found that
26:56
in tutoring centers and I found that in, you know, kids in classes
27:01
who did better than I did, I saw who excelled in the class and
27:05
I was like, go sit next to them.
27:06
I can be your friend, your friend.
27:08
You know, those are, those are like, honestly more strategic
27:11
moves than just like accepting the bad grade.
27:15
I was like, I'm gonna do whatever it takes to get that, you know
27:18
good grade.
27:19
But um moving on from college, like actually getting into
27:24
the workforce, like, what was it like in your first, like couple
27:28
of experiences being a Latina in stem like in your industry
27:33
you know, were you thriving?
27:36
Was it hard, like, tell me, oh man.
27:40
So my very first job after my internship, um it was my very first
27:45
job.
27:46
I won't say the company, but it was a wonderful company in the
27:49
sense that I had a wonderful opportunity to travel the world
27:52
And I remember when I originally, you know, wanted to do Telemundo
27:56
working on TV.
27:57
I was like, oh, I'll work on the travel channel.
27:59
Be like the next Anthony Bourdain.
28:00
Like, oh, I love it.
28:02
And this job gave me the opportunity to travel.
28:04
I got to travel all around the world.
28:05
I had a company car, I had a company credit card.
28:08
I got to stay in hotels every week.
28:09
I was in a new city.
28:10
I was like, damn, this feels like a Drake song.
28:13
So when this company I was with uh I was the only woman, all men
28:18
and one of my male colleagues that I had to work with.
28:21
I had to travel with this man, this man, I would say he's in the
28:23
age of like 45 50 man married has kids and we would travel in
28:29
the car together and he would make inappropriate comments
28:32
and say, you know, if my wife died, I would definitely remarry
28:35
someone who was like 28 which at the time I was like 26 27 right
28:39
And I would just look at him and like, that's weird.
28:43
That's weird, you know, and then he would ask me about like
28:45
oh, are you dating anyone?
28:47
And I would just say no, no or do you like men?
28:50
No.
28:51
Do you like women?
28:51
No?
28:52
What do you like?
28:53
Like no, no means no, right?
28:56
And it got to the point where this man was making inappropriate
29:00
comments.
29:01
Um We even have a company policy where when you stay in the hotels
29:05
you have to stay in different rooms and different floors
29:07
If I stay on the first floor, he can't be on the first floor.
29:10
And when we would go to these hotel check ins, he would request
29:13
at the front to be on the same floor that I am on.
29:16
And I would be like, what are you doing?
29:18
Like what are you doing?
29:19
They would allow that like they didn't think that was like
29:24
on their end of like, oh, this older man is requesting to be
29:29
at the hotel, at the hotel.
29:32
They're just doing their job.
29:33
So this is the thing.
29:34
I was a young girl too.
29:35
This is my first job.
29:36
I didn't know what to do.
29:37
And I remember I would share my location with my parents, even
29:40
my best friend at the time.
29:42
She was like my sister, I would share my location with people
29:45
because I got scared like I'm scared to be with him and I have
29:49
to be with him all the time.
29:51
And then it got to the point where I'll never forget there was
29:54
a vice president in business sales.
29:56
Now I work in safety engineering.
29:58
Ok.
29:59
Safety engineering.
30:00
I do engineering work.
30:01
I do engineering inspections.
30:02
I do engineering jobs.
30:03
The VP of sales requested me to attend a VP of sales meeting
30:10
in Mantey, California to be his plus one.
30:15
Hm.
30:16
And the company allowed it.
30:19
Well, guess what?
30:20
When the CEO saw me and she said, what are you doing here?
30:23
I said, I'm so glad that you asked that.
30:25
So and so requested me and he paid with his own money for me to
30:30
be there.
30:31
So, oh, red flags all around.
30:35
I just want to do a little trigger warning because I think we'll
30:37
be talking about and I'm so glad you said that again, trigger
30:41
warning because now we're going to go into sexual harassment
30:44
sexual assault.
30:44
And again, I will say this does not happen.
30:47
Not all companies, not everyone will experience this in their
30:50
lifetime.
30:51
It's unfortunate that I did have to go through this.
30:53
But at the same time, I learned a lot out of this, that very first
30:57
job I did experience sexual harassment.
30:59
I experienced, you know, discrimination.
31:02
I was called names.
31:03
I, a lot of things happened to me and it sucked because I was
31:07
so young.
31:08
It was my first job and it made me feel like, oh my God, is this
31:11
really going to be what the rest of my life is going to be?
31:13
Like, because it's a first experience, you're like, ok, if
31:16
I'm experiencing it here, I'm going to experience it at the
31:20
next place I work at.
31:22
And that's scary.
31:23
So in that moment where you're like, OK, maybe this industry
31:27
is not for me, maybe I should step away from this.
31:29
I did.
31:29
I really took a moment of like, maybe, maybe engineering is
31:33
not for me.
31:34
Maybe everyone's going to see me as office booty eye candy
31:38
Maybe, maybe men are all men like this.
31:41
Like, it really hurt me and it sucked because I love my job.
31:45
I love what I was doing.
31:46
I love that my work, but I was scared to go to work.
31:51
And I remember I went to the company, you know, I left the company
31:53
There is some legal stuff that happened.
31:56
What not.
31:56
And I was determined to get a new job.
31:58
I got a new job in the Bay area.
32:00
And I remember when I was there, a whole new Paulina came out
32:03
It was, it was so traumatizing, it was so scary.
32:06
And I will say this right now.
32:08
If anyone is experiencing workplace harassment, you know
32:11
sexual assault or any type of bullying, mansplaining anything
32:16
of those sort.
32:18
Um There are resources out there.
32:20
So number one, I will say which I didn't know at the time, but
32:24
now I know and especially going through what I did I had to learn
32:27
on my own is the minute you get harassed, get bullied, you get
32:32
told an inappropriate comment.
32:34
Listen, man or woman, I need you to document that.
32:37
Document that right now.
32:38
And when you document it, whether it's your own personal notebook
32:40
or you put it in an email, you're going to go ahead and document
32:43
it for yourself.
32:44
You need a record.
32:44
OK?
32:45
I always say if it's not in writing, it didn't happen and the
32:48
reason being is because hr and ethics is going to ask for proof
32:52
How did it happen?
32:53
I want to emphasize that hr just does their job.
32:56
But that's the first thing they ask is like, OK, did it happen
33:00
How did it happen?
33:00
All of the details?
33:02
So if you come prepared, they, they got you absolutely 100%
33:06
They are not the enemy, they want to help you.
33:08
So if you have that prepared, you're golden.
33:12
But I will say the hardest part of everything is speaking up
33:16
because even I didn't want to speak up.
33:19
Even I didn't want to say anything because I felt embarrassed
33:22
I felt like I just started this job.
33:24
They're going to like, what the hell, you know, and then not
33:27
only that, like when I went to them, they weren't doing anything
33:30
again.
33:30
Not all companies are like that.
33:32
So document it, speak up.
33:34
If you can't speak up to your company, I want you to speak up
33:37
to a friend, go to a friend, go to a counselor, go to a therapist
33:40
until you build the strength inside you.
33:44
But you need to report it.
33:45
And the reason if you don't report it at work, that person who's
33:48
doing all of those things to you is doing it to somebody else
33:52
right?
33:53
And so we need to put an end to that in the workplace.
33:56
And yes, a lot of women do get harassed and a lot of times like
34:01
I was telling you earlier, I'm not married.
34:03
I don't have kids.
34:04
And I've always said the most dangerous people in the world
34:06
are people who have nothing to lose.
34:08
I will go toe to toe with you because if something happens to
34:11
me, I'll go get a new job tomorrow.
34:12
I'm not scared.
34:13
I don't have someone who is dependent of me.
34:16
But if I was a mother and if I had other responsibilities, I
34:20
think I would look at things very differently because I have
34:23
mouth defeat, right?
34:24
So it's my duty to go speak up and fight for those other women
34:28
fight for those other men who are getting harassed at work
34:31
If you can't go to HR and ethics, your next stop you can go to
34:35
is the EEO the equal employment opportunity or you can come
34:41
to a your environmental health and safety department, which
34:44
is me.
34:44
We kind of fall under that jurisdiction with OSHA about your
34:48
employee rights and employer rights.
34:50
And there's been times where sometimes people feel more comfortable
34:53
talking to me than hr or especially if there's a language barrier
34:57
because I do speak Spanish.
34:58
They want to come talk to me versus somebody else, ok?
35:01
It will stay confident.
35:03
I have to keep it confidential.
35:04
I make the documentation.
35:06
I go to our hr department, we make a documentation, we make
35:09
a record, we have to interview the employee that gets put in
35:11
the employee record like there's a whole process about it
35:14
But at the end of the day, I need everybody to know that you're
35:18
not alone and you don't have to do this alone.
35:20
And there are people here to help you like me hr, ethics counselors
35:25
therapists utilize those resources at the end of the day
35:28
if you're at work right now and you're unhappy because someone
35:31
is making you feel uncomfortable.
35:33
Speak up and again, speaking up is hard.
35:36
I was, I it took me a while to speak up.
35:40
It took me a very long time to talk about it.
35:42
And if you want to just talk to me about it, I'm more than happy
35:45
to help you point you in the right direction.
35:47
If you have legal questions again because you have rights
35:51
as an employee and if you don't know your rights, please come
35:54
to me.
35:54
I can help you with that.
35:55
That is what I do.
35:57
That is also part of my job.
35:58
I will say I'm not a lawyer, but I do know lawyers in the employee
36:02
law.
36:02
I do know hr representatives in employee actions.
36:06
So please please please know that you're not alone, right
36:09
And I think that's such great advice, especially for young
36:12
women who are just starting out like how you did and you had
36:16
no idea.
36:17
You had no prior information of what you could do until it happened
36:22
So like giving those resources, I think is so valuable and
36:26
just knowing and having them in the back of your pocket.
36:28
I mean, I pray that it doesn't happen and it's, you know, we
36:32
can, you know, I think that's the big part of speaking up when
36:35
you see it happen, not only if it's happening to you, but if
36:38
you see it happening to other people say something because
36:42
that's the only way we're going to work towards, you know,
36:45
holding people accountable who do it.
36:48
I mean, going back to culture change, right?
36:49
We have to change the culture in the workplace.
36:52
There should be no reason why men and women are getting harassed
36:55
or discriminated or anything.
36:56
So now that you're in your career and you moved past all of those
37:01
negative experiences, you really push through them because
37:04
you're like, no, I deserve to be here.
37:06
I'm here.
37:07
What are you doing right now that really excites you in your
37:11
work.
37:12
OK.
37:13
So work wise.
37:15
Um some of them have some really cool projects that I am working
37:18
on right now.
37:18
I can't talk about all of them, but one of them that I'm super
37:21
excited about um is working with the collaboration with N
37:25
A.
37:26
Um So I work with Lockheed Martin.
37:27
So the collaboration of Lockheed Martin and NASA working
37:30
on the X 59 hypersonic low boom plane.
37:34
Um pretty much essentially this plane is an experimental
37:37
plane when this plane gets ready for testing.
37:39
The whole point of this plane is that when it has the sonic boom
37:42
The sonic boom should be as low as or I should say as quiet as
37:46
closing a door.
37:47
If you've ever heard a Sonic boom, the way how Sonic booms work
37:50
I mean, where I live, we have planes everywhere and Sonic
37:53
booms happen and it feels like an earthquake.
37:55
But in general, just being involved with this on the operations
38:00
and manufacturing side of it is really cool because like I
38:02
said, it's an experimental plane.
38:04
It's the first time it's ever being done.
38:06
And there's only two women on production floor.
38:09
It's me and another female and she's a woman of color and she's
38:12
amazing too.
38:13
And I remember when last year in December, I got to be part of
38:16
that and I just like looked around the room and I was like, oh
38:19
my God, oh my God, I'm the only woman here.
38:22
Oh my God.
38:23
And I was like, oh, wait, no, there's, there's so and so, oh
38:25
hey, hey, but there's only two of us.
38:27
It's all men, it's all men.
38:30
I was like, dude, you know, like what year is it?
38:32
And what company is this?
38:34
Right?
38:34
But it's so cool to me too because this is history and we have
38:39
these cool pictures and you know, there's other projects
38:42
that I get to do at my job.
38:44
And again, sometimes I can't talk about them, I'll talk about
38:46
them later in the years.
38:47
But just to be part of that.
38:49
I was like, wow, like, I'm part of this history and besides
38:53
you know, engineering stuff working within Lockheed, I
38:56
do a lot of STEM outreach and I do a lot of like, community and
39:00
volunteer, volunteer work within the STEM community.
39:03
Really?
39:04
So I do a lot of volunteer work, going to high school, to middle
39:07
school.
39:08
That's awesome.
39:09
I love that because I feel like those are like the pivotal times
39:12
in kids' lives where they're like, figuring out what they
39:16
want to do in the future.
39:18
And like, I, I just wish I had more, I have that opportunity
39:22
in high school of like people coming at me being like, hey,
39:25
this is what I do.
39:26
It's awesome to hear.
39:27
I do a lot of talks for colleges.
39:29
Like I did one for Santa Clara University.
39:31
I went to our local Elementaries and middle school.
39:34
So I do a lot of that.
39:35
Um And it's really, to me, it inspires me.
39:38
It makes me happy doing that because I remember when I did a
39:41
middle school, which was my first time doing middle school
39:43
Normally stick with high school and college because they're
39:45
like, ok, I want to get a job.
39:46
How do I get a job?
39:47
Just tell me like, that's all I want to know.
39:49
Ok, I'll help you.
39:50
But middle school kids were like, wait, that's cool.
39:53
Like a plane and it flies and it's this and it's that and it's
39:56
like, yeah, you're hearing it from a different perspective
39:58
from an environmental health and safety engineer.
40:00
I'm telling you how we make the planes and how it impacts the
40:03
environment and how we, you know, save the environment again
40:06
Earth Day.
40:06
Hey, we love our Mother Earth.
40:08
How can we protect her?
40:09
And then also from an occupational health.
40:11
Now the nation has gone through COVID and that changed my,
40:15
my world tremendously and how we can keep our employees safe
40:19
from COVID.
40:20
So your mom and dad get to go home to you at the end of the day.
40:23
And then also from a safety aspect from safety control, safety
40:26
engineering aspects on how we keep that plane in the sky and
40:29
keep all of the employees safe who are building that plane
40:32
I mean, so many different ways to look at it.
40:34
But dude, I could talk about it all day and a field that I didn't
40:39
even know existed.
40:40
So it's cool to learn.
40:42
And honestly, it's so funny because I feel like a lot of people
40:45
relate to this.
40:45
It's like, I have no effing idea how a plane flies.
40:49
Like I should know, but I don't, but someone will tell me and
40:53
I'm like, oh, that makes sense.
40:54
And then you see an airplane flying and you're like, no, but
40:56
like, how is it doing?
40:57
That?
40:58
Things are crazy and that's so cool that you get to work with
41:01
them.
41:01
Yeah, it's really cool.
41:02
But I mean, prior to working within aerospace, I've worked
41:06
in construction.
41:07
I've worked in chemical manufacturing.
41:09
I've worked in agricultural and horticultural industry
41:12
I've worked in pharmaceuticals, so I've worked in numerous
41:14
different industries.
41:15
I didn't want to specialize in one thing I told myself, I want
41:18
to be the person who knows a little bit of everything.
41:20
Right.
41:21
I want to say that I did this, this and this and I really was trying
41:23
to look for that window of what do I really want to do at the end
41:26
of the day when I was younger and I didn't know and I needed to
41:29
try everything.
41:30
I needed to figure it out.
41:31
And this is obvious, I feel like everyone knows it and we keep
41:34
repeating it.
41:34
But every path is different, like your path is different from
41:38
your brothers and it's different from mine and my family and
41:41
all of that.
41:42
So it's so it's honestly more encouraging to hear that because
41:47
it's like, OK, I know I can do this because I'm going to do it
41:51
my own way.
41:52
I just know that I can because I also took tools from like all
41:56
of these different people that I admire and that I look up to
41:59
and now I know I can do it.
42:00
And I'm going to tell you if nobody told you today, I'm proud
42:04
of you because what you're doing today.
42:07
No, honestly, it's what you're doing today is utilizing your
42:10
voice and creating a platform to speak on the behalf of the
42:15
Latinx community and for women in stem bro, like I can't emphasize
42:21
this enough for years and years being a woman in engineering
42:23
of like we talked about the stigma, the stereotype.
42:27
And now all of a sudden, I'm getting invited to talk about what
42:30
I do in my work.
42:31
Like what you think is cool.
42:34
What?
42:34
It's not me who likes P pe oh my God.
42:37
You know, it's really inspiring.
42:39
And even when other women get this message, we tear up because
42:43
it's like, yes, we were little girls who like this and now it's
42:46
cool.
42:47
I want it to stay cool forever.
42:49
And I'm proud of you and you are worthy of all the greatness
42:52
of all the amazing things that your siblings have done because
42:55
like we said, we don't need to compare them or compare ourselves
42:58
to them when we go to bed.
43:00
Are you happy?
43:01
That's all you need to ask yourself.
43:02
You did what you could today.
43:04
You made it a good day.
43:06
You're ok.
43:06
You have food on the table, you have good health.
43:09
Your family is happy.
43:09
You have a roof over your head.
43:11
I have some good and I'm ok and I'm ok.
43:15
That's all that matters.
43:16
At the end of the day, I'm proud of you too.
43:18
Thank you.
43:19
I'm so inspired by you just talking to you and getting to know
43:22
your life and everything this is.
43:24
We're just like girl talk right now.
43:26
We just typing each other.
43:27
This is the benefit mascara.
43:28
Don't do that to me.
43:30
I love that.
43:31
Well, I had so much fun talking to you and getting to know you
43:35
and sharing your story and I really appreciate you hyping
43:39
me up because I needed that today.
43:41
You don't hype up all the girl.
43:43
You don't even know.
43:44
I'm like banging on the table, but you don't even know I needed
43:48
that today.
43:48
So I really appreciate that and right back at you and I thank
43:53
you again.
43:54
Just thank you.
43:55
I can't thank you enough for being on astronaut's daughter
43:57
And you know, I hope everyone takes what you had to say because
44:02
you had some really great advice and really great resources
44:05
and I'm going to cheer you on from the sidelines in your career
44:09
And I'm not sure you want on Tik Tok and be like, do that one song
44:12
do this, follow me on tiktok because I do some tiktok with
44:16
Paulina and they're pretty cute.
44:18
But no, thank you for having me.
44:20
Thank you for letting me talk about environmental health
44:22
and safety.
44:22
And in closing, I will say again, you know anyone who's listening
44:25
if you have questions, if you're dealing with bullying,
44:29
sexual harassment or don't know where to go to or if you need
44:32
help with a resume, a cover letter you want to network, you
44:35
need job interview tips.
44:37
Ask me, please feel free to reach out to me for help.
44:40
I've done so many job interviews.
44:43
I've even done the job interviewing for hiring engineers
44:47
You know, I know what to ask what to look for, what we need, what
44:50
we don't need.
44:50
And again, I'm no expert but learn from my mistakes.
44:54
So then you don't have to make them.
44:55
And that when you get to do it, boom, it makes it easier for you
44:59
I've always said, you know what representation matters.
45:02
You cannot be what you cannot see.
45:04
You're seeing me right now right here talking about it and
45:07
I'm not charging you.
45:08
This is for free.
45:09
I want to help you.
45:10
OK.
45:10
Let's say that again.
45:11
It is for free.
45:12
It is for free, like utilize it if you need help with the resume
45:16
like come to me, I'll help you if you need help with how to negotiate
45:19
because women are underpaid man.
45:21
I'm going to show you how negotiate do a 10% increase.
45:24
And this is what you're going to say.
45:24
You're going to sign on bonus relocation fees, ask, ask because
45:29
if you don't ask the answers always know.
45:30
So thank you.
45:32
And again, I'm proud of you.
45:33
I'm proud of you.
45:34
Thank you so much.
45:35
I'm proud of you too.
45:35
Thank you.
45:36
Thank you.