My name is Laura Garcia Garcia. I was born and raised in Madrid, the capital city of Spain. During my high school years I was unsure about what field to choose for my undergraduate studies, as I had interest in different sciences, such as psychology, business administration and engineering. During my senior year I realized that Physics was one of my favorite courses and that I loved thinking about how all of that theory applied to the world surrounding me. That helped me make the decision of pursuing my engineering degree.
I graduated from Madrid Polytechnic University with a degree in Industrial Engineering. During my final years I developed an interest in Electrical Engineering and Power Systems, so I decided to keep learning about it. I moved from Madrid to Chicago, and attended Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), where I graduated in 2015 with a Professional Master in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Moving abroad was one of the most important decisions I had made by the time, and I can say it was a good one. It allowed me to learn a lot of new things about myself, meet people from many different countries and cultures, and continue my studies in a very different environment.
Throughout my time at IIT I also learned about the power and energy industry, and about some of the latest innovative technologies that are being introduced into this area. I had always been interested in renewable energies, but I discovered a lot of new and exciting areas of research for me, being Microgrid Technology where I set my focus. During the summer of 2015 I had the opportunity to intern for ComEd, one of the nation’s largest electric utilities serving 3.85 million customers. I worked with the Smart Grid & Technology department, where I was able to practice some of the learnings that I got from my Master’s classes, reassuring my interest in this field.
After my graduation I came back to ComEd as a full time employee, and I joined a group of ten recent graduate engineers in a rotation program that allowed me to rotate through six different departments throughout the company. I got to work with the distribution and transmission planners, capacity planners, reliability engineers, and the field engineers, getting to know which are the different types of jobs within the utility industry and gaining the understanding of how the different parts of the electric system come together as a single entity. During this period of time I also got the opportunity to attended different training sessions, building up on my professional skills as well as getting hands-on experience with power equipment. Recently I finished this rotation program, and I got back to the Smart Grid & Technology group where I will keep learning and growing as an engineer.
ComEd supports young girls interested in STEM fields by organizing different activities for them and providing them with grants to continue their studies and boost their potential. I have had the opportunity to support some of these initiatives such as the Ice Box Derby, where the girls transform an old fridge into a racing car. I love seeing how girls keep being interested in STEM fields even though it may not be the average choice, and I love working for a company that gives them support and recognizes the value of diversity on the industry.
I joined Women in Power after attending the PES 2015 general meeting and getting to know the group’s initiative. Since then I have participated of monthly webinars and different educational and networking events that WiP host. I think it is necessary to show the importance of diversity in this industry, and WiP is a great place to do it by participating in networking, educational and career development events. I invite you to join us in our journey towards a more diverse and inclusive power and energy industry, and to be part of this empowering network!