Ximena Martinez is passionate about STEM education, advocacy, and making tech more accessible and equitable.
Mena started Latinapowerpuff to address the lack of representation in STEM and to combat her own imposter syndrome. Even now, Mena realized a lack of Latina role models in STEM. As a first-generation college student and Latina, Mena uses her platform to encourage women and girls from underrepresented backgrounds to pursue STEM degrees and careers. Mena is currently pursuing her PhD in Higher Education and Student Affairs.
How did you get into STEM?
I was first interested in STEM when I participated as a mentor for Girls Who Code at my internship at Adobe.
Who inspires you in STEM?
The community of amazing women in STEM I have been able to connect with online
How did you become passionate about STEAM education?
I became interested during my time working in corporate responsibility when I saw how impactful it could be to make STEAM education more accessible and equitable. I now want to focus my own research in this area.
How did you get started with Latinapowerpuff.com?
It was just a way to express myself but grew to a blog offering resources and an online shop and community!
What has your experience been like as a latina in STEM?
It has been a lot of me being the only and the first to do things. It’s not easy being that person or feeling like you are being forced to speak for an entire group of people. That’s why mentoring is really important to me.
How did you overcome imposter syndrome?
It’s been a bit of a process for me and I’m still working on it. I think I just focus on being myself in the workplace and helping others navigate their journeys.
What’s been your experience as a first generation student?
I’m really grateful for the opportunities I have earned and for being able to pursue higher education, but I also have seen all the work that needs to be done in academia and in the tech field as a result and I feel a calling to be a part of the solution.
How has being a Gates Millennium Scholar helped in your education and career?
It’s changed my life! I have been able to connect with scholars from all over the country.
What’s been your most exciting experience in STEM?
I would say being able to graduate with my MS in Information Systems as well as being part of this great community of people in STEM who are working diligently to make it a better place for more people.
What’s something about your field that you wish others knew about?
That you don’t have to be a “certain kind of person” to pursue a career in tech or information systems. You can be you and bring your own unique perspective and ideas to the field.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
To really focus on creating a strong network and going out of your way to show people you appreciate them who have helped you get to where you are.