Meet Claudia Rivas the young lady that never gives up. All her life, she has tried to go for bigger objectives. She took to engineering, a male dominated profession, where she worked hard to build a successful career. Then she also was chosen champion for change by Empower Women and just recently, she got this scholarship to study in China. The scholarship took about 2 years of preparation but she didn’t give up in spite of people telling her it was impossible. Against popular perception, Claudia says her scholarship was complete product of hard work and focus.

Claudia Rivas is a native Spanish who she speaks English and Portuguese. She says “I feel myself as a global citizen, I enjoy traveling and would never get tired of that. I would say that I wanted this big change because I was feeling I needed a purpose. All my life, I did what I was supposed to do, so I wanted to be independent and live by my own terms.

Speaking of Shanghai, she said “I have been in Shanghai for one month, I really didn’t have that big cultural shock because Shanghai is a very modern and futuristic city. I feel very good, I like the efficient public transportation and the thousands of opportunities this city has. Many people, specially Latinos feel scared of just the word “China”, but I have to say this is a very rich country with a highly developed economy and more opportunities than Europe for example. The problem of course is the language. I’m challenged to speak Chinese but I still can communicate since this a multicultural and friendly city for foreigners. I invite you to apply for a place to study in China.

Talking Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, she says “Industrial engineering is a very attractive career for women, so about 30% of class mates are female. But some other STEM careers like system engineering, telecommunications engineering, chemical engineering have not many females. I feel the gap is closing every year because the country is somehow trying to promote more science careers among women. We have a council of science and technology but still don’t have a ministry specialized in science. I believe in maybe 10 years we might have that ministry and the gap would be finally reduced.”

We talked about women empowerment and she said “Peru; where I come from, and all Latin America are still very traditional. I have seen very smart girls preferring to marry rather than develop a successful career. It is a choice because that is probably what makes them happy. I guess the reason is the environment they grew up, where they have an image of a father that was authoritarian and a mother who teaches girls that the only way to be happy is to be married which is not true. I guess in my case it was different because my father was very supportive with my dreams and he always told me I could achieve anything I want. He saw me as a smart person who was capable of doing anything even if it was something for boys. He is a true feminist yet I never realized it. My mother and my family in general have been very supportive. Although they sometimes though I was a little insane because of my ways of thinking, they never cut my wings.

I had a nice time chatting with Claudia Rivas and wrapping it was such a big deal. But I finally asked her to give her parting words to that young lady with limited options and she said “I would have to say if you are reading this, is because you probably already think different and have dreams. I can tell you sooner or later if your put in effort your dreams will become true. Now it might seem too far away but if you develop a plan with small goals, you will be able to achieve whatever you wish. The opportunities for studying and working are out there, just invest your time relating with the right persons, participating in everything that will add to your career and do not listen to what other say. I did that and now I am in another other part of the world, Thank you.

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