Interviewing Gabriella Garcia

Gabriella Garcia is a Hispanic woman and the daughter of immigrants from Colombia, Cuba, and Spain. Currently, she is a high school senior at the City College Academy of the Arts and simultaneously taking courses at the City College of New York (CCNY). She has a passion for the sciences and aspires to study engineering at CCNY. On her off time, she enjoys photography and playing games with her family. Gabriella has also been announced the High School Initiative in Remote Sensing of the Earth Systems Engineering and Sciences (HIRES) Ambassador for the summer 2022 program!

What obstacles have you faced in your journey as a Women in the Earth System Sciences? How did you overcome them?

I think the biggest obstacle I’ve faced so far is seeing the wide gender gap in my classes. When you’re told about the incredible lack of women in STEM fields, it’s very, very different from when you personally witness it; it can introduce a bit of imposter syndrome and feel intimidating. Overcoming this was through a realization: I had put in as much, sometimes more, effort than my peers so I deserve to be in this field. If you have the qualifications, there should be no reason why you cannot participate in a particular group, whether that’s a class or a workplace.

What has been your biggest motivation?

My biggest motivation is my determination. Even in the most difficult situations, I simply refuse to quit because my desire to see this situation through and reap the benefits is much stronger than my desire to give up. I did the HIRES program during the summer of 2020 and during this time there were many instances where I could’ve given up; I vividly remember one instance where I struggled to figure out the correct code. Coding is not my strong suit and the program was very demanding and moved at a very fast pace. I dug down deeper, attended extra sessions with the instructor, and hunted for answers until I could run my code and it produced the desired outcome. In fact, I was able to help one of the other students participating in HIRES with her code after I figured out mine.

What advice would you give young women who are interested in the Earth Systems Sciences?

Take every opportunity you can get. You never know what doors will be opened because of those opportunities and the experience you get from them. Don’t be dissuaded if you receive opposition. If you have haters, it just means that you have something they wish they had whether that be talent, determination, or creativity.

Thank you to Gabriella for participating in this interview and being an role model to other young women in the Earth Systems Sciences!