Through our new #BeThatGirl initiative, women professionals at SDG&E are volunteering as role models and mentors for young girls in our communities, encouraging them to pursue studies and careers in engineering, meteorology, environmental science, computer science, biology and biotech, and many other STEM fields (STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math.) Our role models remember when not too long ago they were the only girl in their science or engineering classes. Today, they are dedicated to overcoming the severe underrepresentation of women in STEM careers. They are connecting directly with young girls to let them know that they, too, can have a great STEM career. They, too, can BeThatGirl!
Growing up in Filipino culture, Beverly Raposa recalled that there was always a handful of people who discouraged her from becoming an engineer because they believed engineering was a “man’s job”, and women were more suited to being nurses.
Despite the negativity and financial obstacles, Beverly followed her passion and earned not just a bachelor of science in electrical engineering but also a master’s in electrical and computer engineering.
Today Beverly is an engineer in our Distribution Operations Division, and she’s an advocate for getting more girls into science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers. She wants young people, especially young girls, to understand that they can overcome any obstacles to achieve their educational and career goals.
“As a first-generation college student pursuing a degree in electrical engineering, I felt like I was defying social norms,” she said.
Inspiring Others with Her Personal Story
In the hopes of inspiring young people to follow in her footsteps, Beverly recently spoke at “She-roes in STEM.” The event was organized by MANA of North County, which is dedicated to advancing the educational and social achievement of North County Latina students. SDG&E partners with MANA to provide mentors for Latina teens at four schools in Carlsbad. Many of these teens are on track to become first-generation college students.
At “She-Roes in STEM”, Beverly shared her personal story with a group of girls, answering their questions about what it took to get to where she is today and what a career in a STEM field is like.
Beverly started a as an intern in our Transmission Planning Group 2015. Upon completion of her internship, she was hired as a full-time electrical engineer and has been a member of the SDG&E family ever since.
Going the Distance to Reach Her Goals
Born and raised on the tropical island of Guam, Beverly was introduced to electrical engineering by her older brother, who majored in it in college. She excelled in high school – graduating as the valedictorian – and as a college freshman, was already committed to pursuing an electrical engineering degree.
The challenge was how to pay for an education outside of Guam. The University of Guam did not have an engineering program. “I knew the pressure was on to figure out how to pay for school and I was determined to achieve my goal despite our financial situation, “ Beverly recalled.
Thanks to multiple scholarships from the Government of Guam and the University of Portland, in addition to federal financial aid, Beverly was able to pursue her undergraduate studies at the University of Portland. Prior to leaving the island for college, she had never stayed in America for longer than three weeks. “Moving to a new place without friends or family in the area helped me become a stronger person and gave me a unique cultural perspective. I soon realized that I can go the distance to reach my goals,” she said.
Going for Higher Education
During her time at the University of Portland, she realized there was a lot more to learn about power systems, so she moved from the Pacific Northwest to the Midwest to earn her master’s degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. As a graduate student, she was nominated by the university faculty for the Support for Under-Represented Groups in Engineering (SURGE) Fellowship. The fellowship helped defray part of the cost of her education.
If there is one piece of advice Beverly could give to all the young girls out there who aspire to a STEM career, it would be to never give up on a dream, no matter the financial obstacles.