Find your passion and take chances

 |   Beatris Mendez Gandica

My passion for technology led me to Wisconsin to pursue a bachelor’s degree in information systems.

I was fortunate to start my career at Microsoft through the Microsoft Academy of College Hires. As a young girl, I had never imagined making the first steps of my career in such a respected company.

However, during my first week, I felt extremely torn. I found myself with access to so many resources, while back home in Venezuela, people were suffering because of the country’s harsh situation and lack of opportunities.

These circumstances inspired me to push myself to grow within the company and help pave the way for the next generation of Latinos. With this goal in mind, I created Nuevo Foundation, a non-profit organization that inspires kids to be curious, confident, and courageous by discovering the world of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), exposing them to technology and its possibilities.

One of the most moving moments I have experienced, so far, was after a talk with children from underrepresented communities in Wisconsin. A group of girls approached me and shared that they now felt inspired to pursue a college degree. Before their experience with Nuevo Foundation, they didn’t know that someone like them could become an engineer, or even work for a company like Microsoft.

I am constantly vouching for the importance of pursuing opportunities with a growth mindset. At Microsoft, I am encouraged to do that while embracing my heritage every day. I felt incredibly proud when Microsoft allowed me to run its official Instagram story and speak Spanish to their over 1.8 million followers. I was wowed! For me, that reflected a change in the company’s culture.

My message to the Latino community and women who want a future in STEM is to explore all the available resources, take chances, and most importantly, be true to everything that makes you you!

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