After earning a bachelor’s degree in computer science in 2006, Karla E. Bracamonte began an internship at Intel. The very next year, the Sonoran native was granted both, American citizenship and a full-time position at Intel as a tester in the Digital Home Group. She then became a software validation engineer before moving on to become validation lead. Currently, Bracamonte works as a software quality engineer supporting Intel’s IoT group.
What first prompted your interest in STEM?
My brother bought me my first desktop computer when I was 17 years old. He noticed that I used to spend hours in my high school computer room and, and he worked very hard to get me the computer. At the time, we lived in a small town in Mexico where luxuries like home computers were rare.
I enjoyed spending hours completing my school assignments at home, while my schoolmates waited in line outside the school computer room. Later on, when I came to U.S. at 26 years old, I continued to have an interest in computers and emerging technologies. When I was working as a custodian at Arizona State University (ASU), I would ask the students about their major. Since I always had an affinity for math and computers, once I heard about the field of computer science, I knew that was the major I wanted, even though I didn’t speak English yet.
How did you learn about the internship at Intel?
I went to a job fair at ASU Fulton School of Engineering looking for opportunities and while there, I met an Intel recruiter. He let me know Intel was looking for new talent; I explained to him that I was a little more than one semester away from graduation and he suggested that I apply for an internship. After hearing about the internship program, I became excited about the idea of working as an engineer for Intel.
How difficult was it to learn English, work and care for your family while pursuing your degree and interning at Intel?
Caring for my family while working as a custodian, interning and learning English at the same time was very difficult, especially because I sacrificed time with the people most important to me—my kids. I used to wake up at 3:30 a.m. Monday through Friday to start work at 4 a.m. I was the lead custodian and I needed to sign up my custodian crew and give instructions before their shift started, and then I would work with them until noon. Afterwards, I went to classes or my internship, and then do homework in the library until it was time to pick up the kids. Then I fixed dinner, ate with my family, cleaned the house, and prepared for the next day. I used to study during the weekends, only spending one or two hours with my kids, and using that time to make sure they were doing their schoolwork. My mom and dad always complained that I didn’t participate in family functions, but I joined as much as I could.
What is your current position at Intel? How do you think your background applies to your success today?
I’m a software quality engineer, supporting Intel’s IoT business. I get incorporated with programs from the early stages to make sure teams practice best software quality processes to release software with the highest quality possible. I came to this country to work hard and achieve my dreams, and I consider myself an efficient worker. I started on a validation team, then I worked three years learning software quality and how the industry develops software, which involved me in supplier software development teams. I also like to think that raising three kids with my husband gave me many of my project manager skills.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
I am proudest of my family. I have been married with the same man for 27 years; together for 31 years. All of the challenges we encountered in our early life have helped make our relationship stronger. I’m proud of my kids, they demonstrate strong values and always have a willingness to serve. I’m also proud of my journey to the U.S. and my ability to accomplish my dreams of working as an Intel engineer.
Photo Credit: INTEL CORP