Name: Kimberly Lopez
College (Current or Future): Mercer University
Major/Intended Major: Mechanical Engineering & Spanish
Financial Aid Program: Dual Enrollment, HOPE Scholarship, Tuition Equalization Grant, Georgia College Completion Grant, Scholarship for Engineering Education
Kimberly Lopez excelled in math and science in high school and felt as if the career field of engineering spoke to her.
“As an engineer, I need to be able to communicate with other people, so this is giving me helpful experience that I’m going to need with whatever industry I’m in.”
Regardless of the many different career fields within engineering, the numbers show a lack of females. According to the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), recent reports show women represented about 34% of all STEM workers. Something Lopez has noticed for herself.
“When I first started, there weren’t a lot of women in the (engineering) classes and it did feel isolating, particularly a lot of Hispanic women, which felt even more isolating,” said Lopez, who majored in Spanish to improve the speaking skills she grew up with at home.
According to Pew Research Center, Hispanic workers remain underrepresented in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workforce. But over the past decade, there have been incremental gains and Lopez is an example helping to close that gap.
“As I finish my college career, I see the incoming freshman and notice it’s about half (female),” said Lopez. “Honestly, that’s motivated me to keep going and become someone who can tell little girls that they can do this.”
A fourth-year senior, Lopez has already started applying to positions within the construction industry, using her engineering skills to assist with development right here in Georgia. To further serve as an example for the next generation of female engineers to follow.
“There are people that want you to see you succeed, they want to see this change happen,” said Lopez. “People will be more than willing to help you but it is important to take that first step in reaching out to others to ask for help.”