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MANA de San Diego empowers young Latinas

A handful of SDG&E employees work as mentors and volunteers to help guide these young women.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — San Diego Gas & Electric Company has been supporting MANA de San Diego programs, which include Hermanitas and the Latina Success Conference, for over a decade. 

A handful of SDG&E employees work as mentors and volunteers to help guide these young women. Andrea Saucedo is one month into her new job as an Associate Engineer at SDG&E.

“I analyze the structures in the substations which can range from the foundations to how tall a pole can be to analyze how many conductor can be placed on the pole itself,” said Andrea.

She is currently working in a rotation program, where she’ll spend several months at a time learning the ropes of different engineering jobs at SDG&E. 

She says the support structure at her new workplace is encouraging.

“It’s very inspiring to see someone at SDG&E who has been there for years tell me like, ‘hey, you can be here for years too, you can succeed, you can grow out of this position and progress within the company,” said Saucedo.

Saucedo grew up in San Diego in the Lincoln Park area and recently graduated with a civil engineering degree from U.C. Irvine. 

She has participated in MANA programs since 2015, and says that all the ongoing support has made a big difference.

“Even during college, I would get care packages straight to my dorm, and it was just very nice to have empowering Latinas in the professional setting reach out to me to tell me, ‘hey, you can do this,’” said Saucedo.

About a month before her college graduation, Saucedo was contacted by a mentor with MANA de San Diego.

“She raised these important questions of ‘what are you going to do after college? How do you see yourself in five years? What kind of company do you want to work for?’ These are all questions that I should’ve been asking myself,” said Saucedo.

These MANA programs focus on college preparation and career placement for young Latina women. Some SDG&E employees work with MANA by providing mentorships and sharing opportunities about STEM careers.

“We out there and say ‘hey, you can be a meteorologist, you can be a software engineer, you could also be a civil engineer,’” said Leticia Cervantes with Sempra Energy. “Just going out and letting people know that these careers are available.”

Excited to be working in her new career, Saucedo wants other Latina women to know they can get there too, and she had this advice to share.

“It is possible to break these barriers that are in our path and to just not be afraid to ask for help and to seek resources that will push us and pave the path for success,” said Saucedo.

WATCH RELATED: San Ysidro Health taking part in campaign aimed at getting Latinos vaccinated (August 2021)