Guadalupe “Lupita” Villanueva
Senior, Petroleum Engineering
Counselor, G.R.A.D.E. Camp
“I used to work as a babysitter while in high school. When I was getting ready to go to college, one of the ladies I worked for asked me what I’d be doing. I wasn’t too sure, my mom had mentioned business. The lady, who was a petroleum engineer, told me all about her work and experience, and how it gave her the opportunity to travel across the world. That really caught my attention and interested me.
It turned out that I really like petroleum engineering. I had the opportunity to go for an externship with ConocoPhillips last year and we went out to a drilling rig. It was a pretty eye-opening experience for me. I was able to see what I have been learning in my classes actually being applied in real life and see other people in the field and what they have accomplished in the industry.
Unfortunately, I never attended G.R.A.D.E. Camp as a camper. I really wish I would have because I think this experience would have helped further cement the idea that I wanted to do engineering. It’s good to start at an early age and introduce girls to engineering just because their minds are really open to anything at that point, so it’s valuable to have camps like G.R.A.D.E. Camp.
I started as a mentor back in 2015. I really enjoy being able to motivate these girls and inspire them and show them what engineering is. It isn’t just math, science and numbers, there’s a lot of things that you can do with engineering, and there’s a lot of creativity involved.
I really like being able to show them how to do the robots and help them learn new skills. I hope to show them that while it’s not going to be easy, there is a way to do it and you can reach your dreams.”
G.R.A.D.E. stands for Girls Reaching And Demonstrating Excellence. G.R.A.D.E Camp is a one-week program for girls, ages 13 to 17, at the Cullen College of Engineering at the University of Houston.