Today, we are pleased to introduce you to Alejandra Muñoz Villalobos who is a Front End Developer I IT Engineer from Mexico! Read on to hear about Alejandra’s STEM story, and please don’t forget to visit her Instagram page for some very fun and inpirational content (more links in the next section).
As we continue through the month, we hope to bring interviews from women in as many STEM disciplines and regions of the world as possible. Stay tuned!
Links and resources
If you missed last week’s interview with Alveera Ahsan, you can find it here!
The Interview with Alejandra Muñoz Villalobos
- Name: Alejandra Muñoz Villalobos
- Age group: 22-25
- STEM Field of Study (or profession): Front End Developer I IT Engineer
- Online Handle (Instagram): girlcodemx
Q: Do you have a favorite quote? What is it and who is it from?
“Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it” - Bill Cosby
Q: What was (or is) your favorite subject in school and why?
Alejandra: “Operating Systems, my professor knew pretty well about the subject and I learned as never before of how everything works”
Q: What was your daily routine like (in school, work, or at home). How might this have impacted/influenced your participation in STEM?
Alejandra: “I would wake up early, study during the mornings, work during the afternoon and self-study on my free times and weekends. This helped to keep improving in what I do.”
Q: Describe the first time you heard about STEM, why was this an appealing thing to be a part of?
Alejandra: “I mean, I just admire women that have done extraordinary things thanks to technology, science and mathematics, and I’ve always wanted to do a change in this world by contributing to something big.”
Q: When was the first time you became actively involved in STEM? Do you recall a specific project or initiative?
Alejandra: “It happened when I took part of an IT career and decided to start building sites and developing tech projects.”
Q: How have your beliefs, motivations and aspirations changed over time? When did a career in STEM become a priority or choice?
Alejandra: “First of all, I love what I do, I feel passionate for keep learning about my field and that’s why I spend time self-studying, but also, I’m full with so many inspiring women that motivate me to keep going and together make a change in the tech world.
My aspirations is to become one day an influencer and inspire other women to be part of a career in STEM.”
Q: Who has served as an ‘influencer’ in your path to a STEM focused education and/or career?
Alejandra: “One of my best friends, he was such a great developer and he shared with me his love for building technology and I felt inspired to do the same. I wanted to study medicine and I never considered before anything related with technology, but suddenly, it happened… And I decided to give IT a chance and felt in love inmmediately…”
Q: What is your dream job? Can you see any roadblocks or challenges which might be influenced by your gender?
Alejandra: “I want to become a great CTO one day, that fights for equality, I know to get there it will be hard and will require several sacrifices but not impossible and I’m sure I can make the change….”
Q: Are hobbies in STEM important? What about hobbies in general? Can you share some of your hobbies that may (or may not) have contributed to your STEM involvement?
Alejandra: “YES!!! First of all, one of my main hobbies is to be part of tech meetups whenever I can and become a speaker, I’m a shy person and it helps me to share my ideas and ask for help whenever I’m curious about something….”
Q: Has there been any point when you (or someone close to you) wanted to give up STEM (work, hobby, both)? What made you stay?
Alejandra: “Me! Like x10000 times, being a girl in tech is not easy and not only because it requires time and sacrifices to learn a lot of new stuff and keep learning technologies, also because I could feel the difference that was made between male and female developers.”
Women in STEM Impact
Q: What does STEM mean to you?
Alejandra: “In few words, the superpower that we need to change the world. Whatever we want to create or develop we will need it…”
Q: What are some of the personal experiences - or compelling arguments - that have influenced your thinking around gender and STEM, and have motivated you to get involved in being an advocate for change?
Alejandra: “My path since I started as a girl in tech, made me experience all kinds of things, I could feel that people wouldn’t believe I could do it and get a job as a developer somewhere in Europe. Also, I would get rude comments about my work and my capacity of learning new stuff, which I think people that do that, cannot be ever called leaders, being a leader means trying to push people to be better not to make them feel like sh*t.”
Q: Can you talk a bit about some of the specific ways you have advocated for change? If so, please tell us more about the successes and challenges you faced?
Alejandra: “I think what I most feel proud of is that being an American and after a long of hardwork and interviews, I got a job in the beautiful city of Budapest as a front end developer, where I met the most awesome team and I became a better developer in all ways :) “
Q: Do you have a network of women in STEM around you to share knowledge and remind you you are not alone? If so, how did you go about creating that network?
Alejandra: “Sure, I would love that people get to know me by my instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/girlcodemx/ or my personal site: http://girlcodemx.azurewebsites.net/
I’ll soon publish my personal blog, I would love to know everyone’s story and meet more girls in tech!”
Q: Do you have a mentor or friend who inspires you? How/Why? (someone you know personally)
Alejandra: “Yes, I always get inspired by someone really special for me, he keeps me going and always gets the best version of me….”
Q: Are there any (YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, etc…) influencers out there who inspire you regularly? How/Why?
Alejandra: “YEES! Everyday I get inspired by so many Instragram influencers that are girls in tech! I just love them!! “
Q: Top three changes which could make life easier for Women in STEM?
- Don’t ever ever eveeer stop believing in yourself
- People always talk, stop listening and keep moving forward
- Be curious and always have someone to look up to, surround yourself with people that know about your field and never hesitate to ask for something
Advice to the younger you and women considering a career in STEM
Q: Which achievement do you look at and think “I’d love to go back in time and tell younger me that this was possible”?
Alejandra: “My first time moving alone to Budapest to work as a front end developer… I would tell my younger self that everything is possible, that it requires sacrifice… YESS! but the award is just amazing….”
Q: If you could go back and change one thing in your STEM path, what would that be?
Alejandra: “PFF, to stop worrying about what people thought about my skills….. I mean I just listen now to constructive feedback, aint got time for haters or negative comments…”
What advice would you give to women who are 1) Curious about STEM, 2) Questioning their STEM related studies, 3) Questioning their STEM related career?
Give yourself a chance to explore STEM! You won’t regret it, maybe it will happen as me, I never thought of joining it and here I am! Working hard and trying to inspire more women to be part of it!