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Engineering Her Future

Camila remembers the exact moment she realized she wanted to study engineering. Standing in Times Square, surrounded by iconic buildings and remarkable infrastructure, she felt called to build. She enrolled at Essex County College, but quickly discovered she needed support that she couldn’t get at home as a first-generation college student. When she joined America Needs You, a whole new world of possibilities opened up.

“Before ANY, I wouldn’t even raise my hand in a classroom. But after all the workshops that I have been to, I learned it’s important to put yourself out there and share your ideas. That has helped me network when I go to conferences or even school, to network with my professors and ask questions. I always thought I was a few steps ahead of everyone because of ANY.”

With the help of her Mentor Coach, Michael, Camila transferred to the New Jersey Institute of Technology and is getting crucial hands-on experience.

ANY takes LinkedIn very seriously: have a profile, have all your skills listed up there. They even teach you how to find different jobs, how to find the right job for you. I took those lessons and started to look for internships. I applied to a lot, but one really caught my eye.”

After an intense panel interview that included the President and Vice President, Camila became the very first intern for Professional Women in Construction, a nonprofit that helps connect women in construction, engineering, and architecture. Although her supervisor was the Marketing Manager, she was able to shadow a project engineer, project manager, and a safety manager, giving her on-the-job experience at different engineering roles.

I’m not going to lie, it is hard. Engineering is very, very complicated. But I like being part of that low percentage of women in STEM and honestly learning about all the opportunities that we have.”

Camila already has several internship offers for this summer, putting her firmly in charge of her future. She knows her success isn’t just her own.

“To get here was challenging enough, learning a new language and getting used to the culture. I also have a little brother. He does everything I do, so I know that if I make it, he’s also going to want to make it. That’s what keeps me going.”

Support ambitious students like Camila and help us build a more equitable future by making a tax-deductible donation to America Needs You.

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