My Bradley Internship at Boeing

By Merari Lizeth Velázquez

I'm a dedicated first-generation Latina pursuing business marketing professional sales and double minoring in finance and business management and leadership. I love being involved on campus serving in executive roles for the Association of Latino Professionals For America (ALPFA), the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), the Spanish Club, the Women in Business (WIB), and others. I also tutor K through 12 students through America Reads and work at David’s Bridal in Peoria. 

I am also a site leader for the SERVE organization which has Serve on Saturday days for students to volunteer in the community at soup kitchens, nursing homes, schools and shelters. I was raised by poor immigrants, so I like giving back. My family was on the other end of the stick going to second-hand stores for clothes, getting food at shelters and churches and relying on nonprofit organizations to get by. I’m grateful and blessed to have had a hard and motivating single mother who put me in a position where I can attend a university of my choosing and become the first person in my family to get a college degree and start a professional career.

Choosing Bradley University was a pivotal decision shaped by the opportunity of a full-ride scholarship, a lifeline that made pursuing higher education feasible. Amidst other enticing offers, Bradley stood out for its moderate size and vibrant community, a blend that resonated with my aspirations. I immersed myself in the campus during two separate visits. These excursions highlighted the array of programs and facilities available, offering glimpses into the enriching experiences awaiting students. Captivated by the inclusive atmosphere and diverse opportunities, I committed wholeheartedly to Bradley, embarking on a journey of learning and growth in a setting that felt like home.

In 2022, I attended the ALPFA convention with the BU Chapter in Orlando, Fla. During the job fair, I visited the Boeing booth to pick up some merchandise, and I came out with an interview time for an internship. Before the interview, I researched the company and was thoroughly impressed with the company and its history. I ended up getting a 12-week internship at Boeing in St. Louis, in the BDS 777x Finance division. 

I was able to hone my data analysis skills and became proficient in Microsoft Excel. I learned to navigate the professional environment with confidence, shifting from a cautious mindset to viewing myself as an equal member of the team. Overcoming imposter syndrome as a first-generation student in a predominantly white, male environment was challenging, but I discovered the power of self-acceptance and building diverse connections. This transformative experience not only enhanced my professional skills but also instilled a sense of belonging and confidence in my capabilities.