Last month, Olsson assistant engineer Adrian Tarango had the opportunity to speak with Hispanic youth from the U.S. and Mexico about career possibilities in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). He was a panelist at the Spanish-speaking virtual series, Líderes Hispanos en la Ciencia. The online event connected youth with STEM leaders and was put on by the Arizona SciTech Festival and Univision Arizona Contigo.
We recently caught up with Adrian and asked him a few questions about his path to engineering and his experience being a panelist for the Líderes Hispanos en la Ciencia series.
Q: How did you become interested in STEM?
A: From a young age, I found out that I was good at math and working with numbers. My first language is Spanish, so when we moved to the United States at an early age the only subject I understood at first was math. Numbers are a universal language and I think that speaks volumes and shows the importance of STEM education. Later in high school, I took my very first physics class and I was hooked. STEM guided me into engineering, and I knew that’s what I wanted to develop a career in.
Q: Why did you volunteer to be a part of the Univision Líderes Hispanos En La Ciencia series?
A: Líderes Hispanos En La Ciencia provided me with an opportunity to reach out to the Hispanic community throughout the United States and some states in Mexico to let students know that STEM has great career opportunities and there is and will continue to be a huge demand for engineers and scientists all over the world. I know that it isn’t easy coming to this country and getting a STEM-related college degree, but if I made an impact on at least one person watching the series, then I would consider that a total success.
Q: What was your favorite part of the virtual event?
A: There were two other panelists at the event with me and they had very similar stories to mine, yet they grew up in different countries. It was very interesting to see how we all knew from an early age that STEM would guide us to our future careers. I also enjoyed answering all the questions from the virtual audience and being a part of an event that’s making a positive impact on youth who are interested in pursuing a STEM-related career.
Q: What's the best aspect of having a job in a STEM-related field?
A: I enjoy the diversity of work that we do at Olsson’s Grand Island, Nebraska, office. We help a lot of surrounding areas, and it is very pleasing knowing that our work greatly impacts those communities. I worked on many improvement projects in Grand Island so it is always a proud moment when I drive through those areas, and I can tell my friends and family that I was involved with those projects.
Q: What is your advice to students who want to go into engineering?
A: My advice to engineering students is to look for opportunities that will help grow their critical thinking, creativity, and teamwork abilities. It is never too early to look for internships, jobs, or hobbies that will help you develop important skills for engineering careers.
The Arizona SciTech Festival is the country’s third-largest STEM festival, hosting 3,000 events and partnering with more than 900 organizations. More information about virtual and in-person events can be found here.