Diana Trujillo | The 2019 MAKERS Conference
Diana Trujillo, Mars 2020 Arm Science Surface Phase Lead, opens up about being an immigrant who turned a far-off dream into a reality from 2019 #MAKERSConference at Monarch Beach Resort.
- Please welcome Diana Trujillo. [MUSIC PLAYING] [APPLAUSE] DIANA TRUJILLO: Thank you. For the last 18 years, I have introduced myself as Diana like you just heard it-- or Dee-ahna. But my actual name is Lady-- that's right, Lady. I didn't come up with that. Lady was the name that my family put on me-- that women on my family call me Lady Diana Trujillo. Their idea was that I was going to reach far beyond their expectations. Their idea was that I was going to go for those dreams that they couldn't achieve. So they called me after Lady Diana, of course. But, you know, I felt less of royalty and I felt more like a badass space warrior princess. So, yeah, that was me. I used to think one day, I'm just going to do that. One day I'm going to be this badass space princess, but I have no idea how to get to space because Colombia doesn't have a NASA equivalent, so I'm not sure how these plans will work. But we'll figure it out. The women in my family gave me a lot of the strength that I have today. They gave me-- if you're Colombian, you understand this-- [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]-- which is the willing to fight for what's right. And they pour everything on us. They gave me everything they had. And for three generations, the women in my family built a family, built a business, built a home. For three generations, the women in my family started with nothing and they succeeded. And for three generations, as soon as they succeeded, the men in my family left them. And they left them with nothing. They left them with nothing, but what they didn't realize is that they left me with three gifts-- which I'm sure they didn't think they were gifts-- they were shaping me into something else, supposedly. But the first thing is they used to say I was altanera. Altanera means extremely disrespectful to men. [APPLAUSE] I got that crown-- this is why I feel now like the queen princess-- I got that crown because I will not keep my mouth shut when they will mistreat the women in my family, especially when they will abuse them. [APPLAUSE] Then they proceeded to say that I didn't know my place. I didn't know my place because I could not keep my mouth shut when they would try to diminish the women so they could feel powerful and on top of everything. And then they said the thing that made me very confused also is-- you're not a girl. You don't look like a girl. You don't dress like a girl. You're not exposing your body as you should as a girl. Like, no. That makes me feel uncomfortable. I don't want to display my body that way. So for many, many years, I felt like the only job that I had, I sucked at it-- which it was a job that I didn't even want to have which was to be a good girl and get married, whatever that meant to the men of my family. Now as soon as my dad got divorced of my mom, he came to me and said, you know, it's time for you to leave too because my plans do not involve you. My plans are to move on to a different family, a newer family, one that doesn't have you guys around. So I found myself in the United States with no money, with no language, with no immigration status at all and not knowing what I was going to do with my life. But then one night, I was looking at the stars and I was looking at the moon. And I thought, I got to do better than this. I gotta do better than this. I need to become the Latina woman that I am supposed to be. I need to become that Latina woman that will fulfill the dream of my women-- not the dream of the men, the dream of my women. I need to become that Latina woman that will have the life that my mom, my great grandma deserved. Like three generations, they couldn't do what they wanted. I need to do it for them. I want to live a life where I can fulfill my intellect with education-- an education that will give me purpose and mission. [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]-- space exploration is too difficult, you're not that smart. I'm telling you this because I love you. Are you serious? I want to stop here and remind everybody 2% of the STEM jobs in the United States are held by Latina women. We need to increase that. We need to increase that. And we think about like where is it coming from? Well, your entire life your parents, your dad, the men in your family tell you that you aren't good enough, you're not that smart. Let the LEGO for your brother, not for you. You play with dolls. I also wanted to live a life where I can work on a task that I chose-- a task that will give me meaning to me, not a task that was specifically designed for my role. I wanted to live a life where I could have everything. Where I could have my family and I could also have a career. [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]-- pick a simple career if you don't want your man to cheat on you because he will feel less than you if you're too busy and if you're more successful than him. It's like-- so am I supposed to be submissive? Because that's not the word that defines me. I'm supposed to be altanera, which was a little bit better than submissive in some cases. So I wanted to live a life where I can do what was morally correct and not feel defiant or out of place. I wanted to live a life where my whole self is sufficient and I don't have to feel like I need to adjust myself because I speak too much or because I speak too fast or because I speak up. [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] is not what you said, it's how you said it. I think it's because I said something is what you mean. [APPLAUSE] I wanted to live a life where everything that I have in my heart I can put out there and nail it. I wanted to be my space warrior. And I'm here to tell you today that I had to redirect my life. I had to redirect the way that I was thinking about it. I had to redirect the way that I was approaching life, because I realized that whatever tools life have given me were actually a good thing if I transformed them into a positive thing. Yes, there were a lot of things that were happening in my life in the past. But there were things that also taught me to find my [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]-- my will to fight. And today, I want to tell you that I am here to help you. I'm here to inspire you. I'm here to remind you that we women have value. That it's not that I'm special that I was able to come out of a home where there was a lot of domestic violence. It's because I tried to redirect my life. And I want you also to consider the fact that yes, we have moments where we're scared. Yes, there moments where you don't even know what's going to happen to you because you're so petrified. But then it is up to you and to God to define who you are and who you are to become-- nobody else's. So I'm here to just remind you to inspire you and to tell you that we can make it work. You got this. I got this. I'm not special, so we can all do it together. [APPLAUSE] Today, I am part of an international team of scientists and engineers. I was part of a small team that landed an SUV-sized laser beam eye nuclear power robot on the surface of Mars. And, like the video said, I am now also part of a team that is tasked to discover or to answer one of the most fundamental questions that we all have, which is, is there life out there? Now I want to tell you, though, that we all deserve to be in that room-- we women, we Latina women deserve to be in that room when we actually discover the unthinkable. When we realize that there's something out there bigger than us, we all need to be in that room. Because when we do it, we're not going to do it as subdivisions, we're not going to do it as different teams. We're going to do it all of us together as planet Earth. Thank you very much. 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