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Drivers of Innovation: Taking on a Challenge Can Lead to Success in STEM Classes and Careers

To help celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, Enrique Jimenez discusses his journey to engineering and UL.

Headshot of Enrique Jimenez

October 4, 2021

Enrique Jimenez works as a UL engineer with the Appliances, HVAC/R and Lighting (AHL) team in Querétaro, México. He earned his bachelor of science degree from the Instituto Tecnológico de Querétaro, where he studied electronic engineering specializing in mobile and wireless communications.

What led you to pursue engineering and then a job at UL?

I first wanted to be a musician because I play the drums and bass guitar. As I researched potential jobs, I discovered electronic engineers could apply their skills to music by working on musical equipment, such as amplifiers and guitar pedals. So, I decided to pursue engineering. Once I started working, my interest in other areas of electronic engineering grew, and now music is my hobby.

After graduating from Instituto Tecnológico de Querétaro, I found a job listing for UL on LinkedIn. I liked the description but wasn’t sure I had the skills. I decided to apply, looking at it as a learning opportunity and a challenge. Thankfully, my managers took a chance on me. I appreciate that they believed I would learn the role and allowed me the opportunity to grow into the position.

What do you like about your job and working at UL?

I love that there is always something new, and I am always learning. I also like that everyone at UL is willing to support one another and offer guidance whenever needed.

With a background in electrical and lighting solutions, I started here in lighting. Now I am working with refrigerators, hand-held tools, soldering irons and lighting. I’m also helping customers get Norma Oficial Mexicana (also known as UL MX NOM Mark) certification. I enjoy learning about each standard and working more on the administrative side of things now, too.

What are you proud of about your Mexican heritage and culture?

I feel everything in our culture is incredible — from the art and music to the food. However, in Hispanic culture, family is the most precious thing that we have. I enjoy seeing my parents regularly, and we also have larger family celebrations. For example, every year, we get together to celebrate Christmas, New Year’s and any other holiday to have a good time together. Mexican families have a tight bond, and we stick together.

How can we encourage more Hispanic/LatinX students to pursue STEM careers?

People in Mexico tend to think math is difficult. About 40 students started in the electronic engineering students when I was at university, but only about 12 graduated from the program. I’d recommend that people try not to be afraid of math and STEM classes. I took it as a challenge because I didn’t want math to be a barrier. With time and preparation, you can achieve what you want. STEM classes are interesting, and you learn a lot.

Before industry moved in, people wanted to leave the Querétaro area once they finished school. There were not a lot of opportunities here. But the city has grown over the last 20 or 30 years as companies, such as UL, have opened facilities here. People want to be a part of that, and people from other cities are now moving here. So, everyone needs to be on the top of their game to remain competitive. I think this change is great, as it pushes people to learn more and go out of their comfort zone.