PES Women in Power (WiP) fosters a more diverse leadership by supporting the career advancement, networking and education of women in the energy industry. IEEE PES WiP is impacting the lives of young engineers throughout the world.
Rosa Mejia, a WiP member from El Salvador gives her perspective on her professional journey:
“I am an electrical engineer. I graduated from the Central American University José Simeón Cañas of El Salvador. I specialized in renewable energy, precisely in photovoltaic systems. I also have a master’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in logistics and international trade. I currently work for a private company in photovoltaic project management.
My interest in engineering began at the age of 15 when I decided to study at the technical high school in electronics. At school, there were only three women out of 50 men and it was very complicated to deal with this situation. Gradually, I exhibited great courage and my abilities in orderto get the respect in the technical and academic areas. It was a very similar situation in university, but since I already had the experience of high school, I was able to adapt quickly. I was the only one to graduate in my discipline from the university in 2009.
In university, I got specialized in the energy efficiency area after 4 years of studying. This led to a career in maintenance and energy efficiency in factories. In 2012, I was given the opportunity through the government of El Salvador with an alliance in the RPC government to study a postgraduate degree in renewable energy at Hunan University. It was the first time that I heard about the topic, my interest compelled me to apply for scholarships and with the recommendations I got from IEEE members, I was accepted. I spent 6 months in various cities in China learning about the different elements and tools of renewable energy, such as photovoltaic, wind, biomass, as well as the form of conventional renewable energy generation and hydroelectric. We visited several power generators of different types and equipments in factories for renewable energy generation. It was a very interesting experience. I returned to El Salvador in 2015, where I finished my master’s degree in business administration. This helped me a lot in the project formulation aspect. I am currently finishing my master’s degree in logistics and international trade; it has helped me to present projects abroad.
In my country, I have had the opportunity to develop photovoltaic energy projects for industries, hotels, shops and residences. It has allowed me to know the different facets of this technology; I have also had the opportunity to develop projects in regions of the country, such as Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua especially. I thank to the partnerships I’ve had with companies and IEEE professionals.
IEEE has been very important in my life. I met the institute in 2006 in a congress of professionals that was held in El Salvador, CONCAPAN, I got involved as a volunteer on behalf of the university, at the time I became a student member and we resuscitated the student branch of the university that was inactive. I have participated in the student events in Costa Rica in 2007 and in Nicaragua 2008. I like the developmental opportunities that IEEE offers regarding leadership and empowerment, which are rare to learn in the university. Besides, IEEE has formed in me the ability to create contacts for not only professional relationships but also friendship. It has also allowed me to learn in a particular way with the webinars and in the different trainings offered from IEEE. It has enhanced my team work skills, and the cooperation between all the volunteers. Additionally, IEEE has strengthened my global relations with different people beyond El Salvador.
As a member of Women in Power, it has strengthened me personally to know that there are other women like me who struggle every day to develop in the field of electrical power engineering. I have met women engineers who have helped me and who have been my mentors for 11 years of volunteering. I feel very proud of being able to belong to this group that, although small, is very united and that we can learn each day from each of the different skills we have.
As a member one can take advantage at the level he or she wants. It is not only to be attentive to the information, but also to investigate the news that IEEE PES has provided monthly. That is why I invite other women like me every day to develop their career in this difficult world of engineering that was originally for men but now little by little has become a more equal world for all.”
IEEE PES WiP Chair