Paulina is an amazing EHS engineer at Lockheed Martin, a STEMinist, and ultimate hype girl! She has gone through breakups, career changes, and has worked her ass off to be where she is now. She faces challenges head-on along with her sidekick-Kevin! (pictured with her) Her mission is to empower other Latinas to pursue careers in STEM.
I initially reached out to Paulina to interview her on her experience being a Latina in STEM. That interview turned into a one hour long conversation about literally everything. She is one of my favorite instagram friends I've made!
What is one piece of advice that you always refer back to?
Everything you do you need to ask yourself, "how does this affect me personally?" When I say personally, I'm talking about mentally, physically, and spiritually. When you go on Instagram- mentally, are you happy? or do you feel anxious? Physically- does your body tighten? Do a full scan and remove anything in your life that is toxic.
How do you manage your time when you feel like you have so much to do?
I recommend dividing your to do lists in two sections. On one side write down your work to-do list and on the other side write your personal to-do list. Your main goal at the end of the day should be to just do one item from each section. Don't put pressure on yourself to complete every single thing from each list because you'll feel defeated. If you can accomplish one task from your personal and one task from your work, you're going to feel like you succeeded for that day.
What was the best advice you've gotten growing up?
The best thing I could've learned growing up was learning from everyone else's mistakes. Growing up, my mom would always treat me and my brother like little adults. She never sheltered us and wanted us to see everything that was going on around us. So that meant if there was drama in the family we would be involved, especially if it was bad. For example, if so and so was in jail, we would go over what is incarceration, what are drugs, etc. My mom would showed us everything so we would learn from their mistakes.
How do you make sure you're surrounded by supportive people?
I realized that it's okay to love people from a distance. I love them and wish them nothing but love and success, but I've realized that there have been people in my life that weren't necessarily happy for me. And it's okay. There are periods in our lives where people are meant to be there and then other periods where they are not.
What are some resources and advice that you can give to someone who wants to learn more about EHS?
If anyone's interested in going into environmental health and seeking resources, I would definitely recommend doing your research. You can always reach out to me, but there are really good websites like EHStoday.com and EHScareers.com. These two websites are dedicated to environmental health and safety roles. So if you want to get an internship, a job, want to shadow someone, or volunteer, then these two websites will give you that helping hand.
You can also reach out to recruiters by putting your resume and cover letter on these websites. They are great resource to reach out to professionals to connect with them and ask them questions.
Which technology are you excited about seeing come to fruition?
It's a program called Quest X-59. This plane is a close collaboration with NASA and Lockheed. This plane is special because a lot of our fighter jets are super loud so we are creating a plane that will go at a fast velocity without the crazy loud noise. It’s an important cause because overtime the sound causes damage to your hearing and body.
As an environmental safety specialist, I'm working on the plane in its' whole entire operation, but i'm also working with other engineers to figure out how can we break the sound. Not only will this help with innovation in the future, but also from the Department of Defense. It's a program that I'm very, very happy to be a part of.
You can follow this amazing woman on her Instagram: Paulinacastrellon