My guest today is Javier Tiscareño. Javier grew up in Southern California with his immigrant parents and two younger brothers. His parents have less than a high school education and worked hard to instill that education was the path to a better life for their sons. After a clever and timely intervention by an El Rancho High School mentor, Javier enrolled at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. Javier credits the Maximizing Engineering Potential program with giving him the skills and motivation he needed to complete his degree. Javier has worked for a few different engineering firms and has 12 years of experience working on significant Los Angeles infrastructure projects - a tunnel and track design for the LA Metro Purple line, expansion of the 405 freeway, an automatic people mover for LAX, and the LA River Bike Path. Javier is currently a Project Manager at MA Engineering. Here is a little of his First Gen Journey . . .
Javier discussed the lessons and people who influenced his First Gen Journey. Here are a few highlights:
· The influence of high school mentors on Javier’s decision to pursue college (3:35)
· Javier’s expectations for college (5:12)
· The difficult academic transition Javier faced and how the Maximizing Engineering Potential program at Cal Poly Pomona helped him thrive at school (6:24)*
· The ways in which college helped Javier grow as a person (10:40)
· Javier reflects on whether his major was a good fit (14:35)
· Javier’s experience navigating his career (17:10)
· The importance of networking and building relationships; plus the surprise skill that can help in an engineer’s career – kindness and empathy (21:30)
· The role of luck, timing, and seizing opportunity (24:25)
· The First Gen conflict of humility versus having to prove yourself (25:20)
*Javier referred to MEP as the Minority Engineering Program but the name of the program is actually Maximizing Engineering Potential.
1. Find a program to help you fill in the gaps with academic skills, job search skills, networking skills, leadership skills, etc. Search your college website or connect with a professor/staff member who can point you in the right direction. If you are an aspiring engineer, check out the National Association of Multicultural Engineering Program Advocates (NAMEPA).
2. Find a way to intern or shadow people in the field you are interested in before deciding on your major or before deciding on the industry you want to work in.