In Part 1 of my interview with Maira Garcia, we learned that Maira was a control-systems engineer at Honeywell working on turbofan engines and that she is passionate about engineering. In Part 2 of the interview, Maira shares her passion and enthusiasm about life in general and what advice she’d give to her younger self.
Suzie: What hobbies or activities do you do outside of your engineering job?
Maira: Anyone that knows me, knows that I have so many hobbies. And the biggest one is blogging– it encompasses all my other hobbies. Outside of work, I run a food, travel and adventure bucket list blog, Enthusiastic About Life, that focuses on all my hobbies: eating new food; traveling to new places and discovering new cultures; going on adventures, like hiking, running, exercising (yoga!); and crossing off random bucket list items like officiating weddings. I also really enjoy spending time with my family and friends and bringing them on my adventures. I also really enjoy reading and listening to technical lectures in my free time. It’s amazing to see what people are accomplishing.
Suzie: Tell me more about Enthusiastic About Life.
Maira: Enthusiastic About Life is my passion project; it’s all about inspiring and empowering others to live their best enthusiastic life and to go after what they want. It’s a personal blog, so of course I talk about my [engineering] job on there and the mentoring that I do. In my blog, I mention how rewarding it is to go out and help others. I talk about the opportunities I am given with my job, and I talk about lessons learned from my job. I take the same work ethic I have for engineering, and I apply it to Enthusiastic About Life. I also am always mentioning how grateful I am to have a job that I love and how it’s a complete gift. I’m hoping that when people read about how much I enjoy my job, they are inspired to pursue a career that makes them happy.
Suzie: If a student heard you talk about Enthusiastic About Life, what is something you’d want him/her to take away?
Maira: I would want the student to see how passionate and enthusiastic about life I am. I want them to see that you should have passions in your life, and that your job can be one of those. The biggest piece of advice I would give to students in school is the same advice I was given as a freshman: ‘Think of the end goal’. Anything is difficult if you want to do an excellent job at it.
Every major has its difficult parts– those impossible classes, the tests that make us have all-nighters, the projects that last forever– and the important thing is to always think of the end goal. Think of what you want to accomplish after you graduate; think of what you want to work on. I always had my eyes on working on the coolest aircraft and that is what got me through Fluid Mechanics and Numerical Analysis. It’s okay to have a few stumbles on the way to your degree; the important thing is that you walk out with working knowledge. Your grades are just a tiny part of it. You’re never going to get there if you’re walking without direction.
In terms of career, I would say, find a role model/mentor in every step of your career and actually talk to them. Befriend them and find out how they got to [each step in] their path and see yourself in their [path]. Surround yourself with people who will make you better, and those role models/mentors will do just that. Most people are just waiting to share their careers and advice with you, especially when they are so passionate about their careers.
Suzie: Last take away—what one thing do you know now that you wish you knew when you started out in engineering?
Maira: I wish I had known how easy it is to get over the intimidation of reaching out to a Senior/Principle/Chief Engineer, a Director or Program Manager, or an Engineering Fellow and ask for career advice. I wish I had known how willing people are to help in this industry. I was so shy when I started, and everyone above my rank was so intimidating. But those people are willing to talk to you, especially if their passionate about what they do. I’m hoping that by me sharing this, students and professionals will have the push they need to make those connections.
Thank you Maira for bringing your enthusiasm to this interview and for your insight on engineering! To learn more about Maira and Enthusiastic About Life, please follow her on Instagram , Facebook or Twitter. Make sure to use the hash tag #EnthusiasticAboutLife!
This piece comes to us from one of our amazing community members and content volunteers, Suzie Olsen. Her bio is below, be sure to check out her awesome website and if you would like to work with us you can email us here!
Suzie Olsen is a Staff Systems Engineer in Phoenix, AZ. When she is not busy building and maintaining the search and rescue system for the US Coast Guard, she is performing science experiments and engineering design projects with K-12 students. To encourage all students in science, technology, engineering and math,she has written the book “Annie Aardvark, Mathematician.” You can learn more about Suzie here!