Female Engineering Boss: Martha Salinas, Campus Celebrity

Name: Martha Salinas

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Year: 2nd

Hometown: Whittier, CA

What is it like as a woman in engineering?

The few girls that there are, you become friends with extremely quickly. You realize just how nice a lot of the guys are. Surprisingly, you don’t even really notice just how many girls are in the class just because you’re so focused on the subject matter.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Hopefully, I will be working for either a car company like Volkswagon or BMW or for a computer company like Apple. It would be awesome if I get onto the Google X Team and work on the Google Car or Google Glass and the top secret stuff they do.

What is your favorite thing about Cal Poly?

The people! Everyone is honestly just so genuinely kind and considerate. Everyone wants to help you out any way they can. I don’t think I’ve ever met a person that I don’t like.

What is your dream job?

Having my own company, building and designing my own motorcycles and making custom bikes and cars. If I could, that’s what I would do. Or working on movie sets for action scenes, building the equipment and the sets.

If you could go anywhere in the universe for a day, where would you go?

Does this include alternate universes? Like Disney? Let’s see... I would enter the "Mulan" movie and save the entire country, as a woman. I would go into Mulan’s universe and be her.

What event in history would you want to be a part of?

When the sound barrier was broken and you had all those test pilots that became famous for being a part of that. That was one of the things I was going to do before deciding to come to Cal Poly, I was going to join the Navy and become a pilot or engineer for them.

Tell us about your trip to Arizona sponsored by Apple!

The Grace Hopper Conference was a convention for women in computing. It was amazing! Four days, basically all expenses paid...Arizona was gorgeous. Apple decided to sponsor a few mechanical and electrical engineering women to go. There were a ton of forums like resume building and networking opportunities. That’s how I got to know about the Google X Team. I also got to talk to Apple when they held, kind of like, a cocktail party with us. It reminded me of why I wanted to be an engineer in the first place.

How do you manage 17 units and a 40 hour work week?

Coffee. The key is coffee and knowing at what point you just have to go to sleep.

Why did you choose Cal Poly?

I went on a trip North with my school junior year of high school. We went to five different schools and Cal Poly was my favorite. At the time, I didn’t know what I wanted to do exactly, but I knew I wanted to work with cars. And when I found out Cal Poly was known for engineering, I just fell in love with it. When I was waiting for acceptance letters, I really only wanted to hear from Cal Poly. If I hadn’t gotten in, I really have no idea what I would be doing right now…but I got in, so it's all okay!

What’s your favorite pastime?

Watching Netflix! Literally the most basic thing to say but…just... Netflix. Its just beautiful.

What show do you binge-watch on Netflix?

I have "Gilmore Girls"…childhood favorite, that’s how I learned all about boys.

What piece of advice would you give to freshmen?

The advice that I got when I was a freshman, was that its going to be hard. And its going to get harder. And then its going to get harder, and then its going to get even harder. But by then, you wont even care. And I’ve never heard truer words. Because it has been getting harder, but you know, at the end of the day, you’re gonna get your sh*t done either way, and you're going to pass your classes.