Occupation: Lead Product Engineer at Eaton Hydraulics
Country of Birth: Mexico Current: Eden Prarie, MN
“When I first decided to go to college, my dad actually did not want me to go to college. He used to say, ‘Women usually just marry, have kids, and stay home.’ I think this was part of the culture in Mexico.”
Karina was born in Mexico where her dad worked at an oil company and her mom was a stay-at-home mom. She had a unique schooling experience at a young age: a technical school that allowed students to earn a lab technical degree in addition to a high school diploma. This opportunity piqued her interest in a STEM profession, particularly industrial engineering. When she first wanted to pursue university, her dad’s cultural expectations created an obstacle for her to overcome. Still, her mom sought out a job to help provide money to pay for tuition, and in no time, Karina earned her Bachelor of Science in industrial engineering. She started working after that to help create instructions for manufacturing lines and to improve her company’s work.
Karina’s company opened doors for her to continue developing professionally, and soon she was regularly traveling between Mexico and the United States to complete her work duties. One day there was an opening position at the company’s headquarters as a product engineer in Minnesota. Karina’s hiring manager advocated for her and soon after a few rounds of interviews, she obtained a work visa to Minnesota. Although it came with responsibilities she had not yet learned, Karina embraced the new position and the new weather; she also took on more classwork and certifications in order to excel in her new role.
Karina is blessed with an American husband; they have two children together and is raising them in a biracial and bicultural family. In addition to her primary work responsibilities, she has more recently taken on roles in her company to serve on their Inclusion Employee Resource Groups, helping to promote a more inclusive and equitable work culture for people from a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds.