Lead Program Manager
Humanities and Engineering, MIT
Group Manager of
Internet Advertising Technologies, working in product
development providing strategic direction to a group that
designs, develops, tests, and releases products.
"Don't take it easy
in you junior and senior year in high school and stop taking the
math or sciences because they're not required after a certain
point. Even if you decide not to go into some sort of pure math
or science, those classes give you a wider range of
opportunities when you are applying to colleges or even just
going out into the workforce. I don't think a lot of students
always understand how early in their school life they start
limiting their choices and how those limits affect their
"So, my future goals are to retire at age 45, which is probably about
eight years away that I feel like I've contributed to the engineering
profession, you know, in a very positive way, that I've also contributed
to my co-workers, to other people that I've met and that now I want to try
to do some things for myself and my family. So actually the other part of
my life has been writing, that my degree is in humanities and engineering
so the other part is writing. And I've actually been a poet since I was,
well, since I can remember really. And I've certainly kept up with it so
I've been doing readings and I've been published in journals. I have a
book that I've co-edited that's coming out this fall so I've still kept
with it and what I'd like to do is go into that full time and then use the
engineering experience that I've gained to work really a lot more
intensely with kids of color and girls to try to encourage them to go into
Marissa Martinez of Microsoft Corporation is both an engineer and a poet.
As a lead program manager, she is responsible for two aspects of the
product development cycle. Program managers, she explains, "are
responsible for the overall product design what the product is going to
look like, how it interacts with the user and for the project management.
So they have to coordinate the efforts of the development team, the
testing, any sort of documentation that goes along with the product and
make sure that everybody comes together at the end when we're supposed to
ship the product."
As a poet, Martinez has published in journals and does readings. She has
also co-edited a book of poetry. She plans to retire early from
engineering to dedicate part of her life to her writing and to working
with children of color and girls.
Even now, Martinez gives time to young adults who are not ordinarily
encouraged to go into math and science. "One of the things that I do quite
frequently is talk to kids primarily kids in middle school or even in high
school and I actually try to do events where I'm talking with either girls
or kids of color. I find that they don't often have role models who are in
an engineering field that they can look at and say, 'Wow, I can do that
too.'" She advises kids not to "take it easy in their junior and senior
years and stop taking the math or sciences because they're not required
after a certain point. Even if they decide not to go into some sort of
pure math or science, those classes give them a wider range of
opportunities when they are applying to colleges or even just going out
into the workforce. I don't think a lot of students always understand how
early in their school life they start limiting their choices" and how
those limits affect their future.
Another piece of advice Martinez gives young adults is to find a mentor.
"A lot of adults ignore or don't encourage someone who seems to be outside
the bounds of what is expected, and a lot of times kids of color who are
really interested in math and science fall into that category because it's
unexpected more so that it's unusual. So I always try to tell them to find
somebody who really believes in them that will encourage them." And she
tells kids to be persistent. "If they go to an adult and the adult isn't
that person, they should go and find another one. There must be somebody
that you can find that's going to help you, that's going to be able to
give you the information that you need, or give you some counseling, or
give you some direction on those things that are important to you."