Dona and Beth are at //Build this week teaching creatives about holograms with the Holographic Academy. While downing copious amounts of coffee, they were reminded of fellow coffee addict Flor Albornoz who they met this summer. They loved Flor’s dedication to tech as well as dressing for her name. What? Read on!
Tell us a little about you.
I moved to the US about 5 years ago from Lima, Peru (born and raised there) and I’m studying Electrical Engineering at Purdue University.
I am involved on campus in multiple ways – such as being the President of the IEEE Student Branch, Microsoft Ambassador and a tutor for the Minority Engineering Program. It’s important for me to be able to guide future engineering students, and help kindle their passion about STEM, and I am able to do that by being involved in these organizations.
Outside of school work and large amounts of caffeine doses, I rock climb and work out as a form of stress reliever. Lately, I have also been very into origami; I have mastered the “valley fold” just enough to be able to make an origami rocket and 3D animals.
Tell us about what you’re wearing.
I’m wearing a butterfly/flower dress that I paired with black (golden heel) shoes. I purchased the dress recently and I am in love with how classy and fun it looks! The shoes are from H&M, and they’re my favorite pair of heels by far; I love the detail in the heel and how it can match with any type of outfit – I’ve worn them to both formal and causal occasions. A pair of black heels truly is a woman’s best friend!
In Spanish, my name means flower so I always try my best to pair my clothes with bright flowery themes. There is no season that will stop me from wearing bright flower colors in a daily basis. It’s my way to try to balance out the weather and make each day a little happier.
How did your style evolve to what it is now?
My style has DEFINITELY evolved the most in college. I used to wear long baggy shirts, sneakers and jeans –I was trying too hard to fit in as an engineering student. In a way, I had lost my personality and I wasn’t being true to myself. My outfits made me feel uncomfortable and it was when I joined a sorority full of other women engineers that I decided to embrace my feminine side. I began to experience with patterns and colored jeans. Soon enough, colored jeans became part of my signature style! Most of my colored pants range from pink to bright yellow.
After finding my clothing style, I started experimenting with makeup – which I was extremely bad at to start with. I usually go for a natural makeup; mascara, filled eyebrows and lip gloss are my to go for any occasion.
Recently, I have been experimenting wearing skirts with ankle booties. At first, I was extremely self conscious about it -what will the world think about my feminine features? OH, the horror!- but then I started owning my style. I realized that I don’t need to ask people permission for the way I dress (of course, as long as it is professional) but more than anything, the way I dress as a woman doesn’t affect my performance on a day to day life.
When I chatted with Dona about this topic, she made a good point that if I fake trying to fit in by being something I am not, then I am not bringing 100% of myself to the task I have been given whether that’s school or a job. Those words have made a lot of difference on how I see myself.
I love dressing up because it gives me a confidence boost. I live by the motto, “When you look good, you feel good and you do good.”
Any advice for a young person thinking about getting into a STEM field?
Do it! I chose STEM because I wanted to facilitate the day to day lives of people. My major gives me the opportunity to make this possible by allowing me to see all the fields (medicine, consumer products, power and much more) where engineers are valued. A lot of people might not see it this way but engineers have a much closer connection for the betterment of humanity. Engineers put together tools that allow people to remain connected and explode their full potential.
Second, you can do ANYTHING. Really, you can do/be anything you want, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. There’s this stigma that women in STEM break easily or aren’t able to “handle the work”. Please, do not listen to those possible. The only person who knows how far you can go in your career is yourself: you are the ones who set the goals and makes the plan to get there.
You will be surprised with how far you can go in this field by proving people wrong. I’ve been in positions where I have been told that I am not good enough for my major and maybe I should study something else; I never gave up on my goals. There are times where you have to be the one patting yourself on the back for the amazing work you do – Be confident.
Anything else you’d like to share with the audience?
As we keep changing into different phases in life, it’s easy to put our well-being at the bottom of our to-do list. It’s easy to forget who we are because we try to hard to fit in with the rest. Don’t be afraid to show the world and yourself who you are. Don’t forget that you possess qualities that no other can provide and you also see the world in a different perspective that no one else will. Be bold. Say what you want to say. Do it with passion. Dream wide awake. You are a unique person who has tons to offer so don’t let anyone dull your spark. When times get tough, remember that where there’s a will, there’s a way.
What is the best way (if any) for people to follow you on social media?
You can find Flor on facebook.
We had such a lovely time shooting Flor – the evening summer lighting was perfect, her dress was so colorful and her shoes oh my gosh! We can’t say enough of a resounding ‘yes!’ about her attitude towards engineering’s relationship with humanity. We love that Flor is definitely not impostering and instead, relishing being her lovely, talented self. We can’t wait to see what she does next!
Beth and Dona