By Maya RectorDayana Hijaz graduated in 2015 with an MEng degree in Mechanical Engineering and a concentration in Product Design. She currently works at Tesla, where she develops software tools that aim to automate the engineering and sales designs of energy products. She is passionate about sustainable transportation and energy, and she stresses the importance of self-empowerment as a woman in STEM.
Do you have any advice for current Berkeley MEng students?If you are looking for an engineering job, work on projects that are technical and try to truly understand how things work. Be curious. Also, SCRUM [an Agile framework for completing complex projects] is important — pay attention in the engineering leadership classes!
What did you do after graduation?I spent a couple of weeks with my family then started my first job as a PV Designer II at SolarCity where I designed precise layouts for rooftop photovoltaic systems and performed structural and electrical analysis.
What are you currently working on?I am currently working at Tesla with an awesome team, developing software tools that aim to automate the engineering and sales designs of multiple energy products, including Solar Roof, PowerWall, EV Charging, and PV Solar.
What do you miss about being a student at the Fung Institute?I miss the late nights spent at the old Shattuck building and working with friends on cool projects. I also miss the case studies we did in bootcamp with Professor Fleming and the engineering leadership classes on project & product management, entrepreneurship and leadership.
What have you found most rewarding about the work you’re currently doing?The most rewarding aspect of my job is the fact that I am consistently challenged. I am forced to grow beyond my current abilities or knowledge, which makes me feel that the person I am today is better, stronger and smarter than the person I was yesterday. To add to that, I am proud to be part of a movement that is on the bleeding edge of revolutionizing the world’s access to sustainable transportation and energy.
How has the Berkeley MEng program helped you prepare for entering the field you’re currently in?The MEng program nurtured my leadership and communication skills which have aided me in establishing various networks and relationships within my company. These relationships have helped me grow into my current role.
The MEng program nurtured my leadership and communication skills which have aided me in establishing various networks and relationships within my company.
Do you have any advice for being a woman in the field, and has that affected you at all (positively or negatively)?I am lucky enough to work in a company where I never felt that being a woman was holding me back from opportunities. Tesla actually has a Women In Power group from which I met my mentor. She is — for lack of a better term — a badass. My first advice for young women in the field is to seek out your own badass mentor and empowerment group! My second piece of advice is don’t ever doubt yourself or your capabilities as a woman engineer or scientist. There are enough walls put forth by society that we are slowly bringing down — no need to add your own.
Do you have any quotes/fun facts about yourself that you’d like to share?Quote: “Change your mindset: obstacles are just re-directions.” — Badass Mentor
Fun fact: I sometimes watch Wonder Woman trailers just to get amped up.
Alumni Highlight: Dayana Hijaz, Class of 2015 was originally published in Berkeley Master of Engineering on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.