Tell us a little about yourself.
Hello, Ola, Oi! My name is Jorge Martins and I’m a student at Wentworth Institute of Technology majoring in Mechanical Engineering and minoring in Manufacturing Engineering. I’m a leader, an inventor, and a dreamer. I was born and raised in Cape Verde Santiago-Praia. I will be sharing with you on how I overcame my barriers to study mechanical engineering in a new culture. The reason why I decided to share my story today is that I see a lot of people coming to the U.S with the same goal as me but they end up giving up on their journey due to challenges they face. I hope this article will inspire everyone that went through the same difficulty that I’ve been through and overcome these barriers.
Coming to the United States about four years ago with my twin brother made me face a lot of challenges in the beginning of my journey. The language, the culture, the people, were all new for me. I had to find a way to quickly learn everything to continue with a normal life. My transition from Cape Verde to the U.S was very difficult; I even remember times where I used to cry at night wanting to go back to Cape Verde. This transition forced me to become an adult faster than most of my friends back in Cape Verde.
I came to this country with a dream that people call “The American Dream.” I was ready to give all I got pursue my degree in Mechanical Engineering. Unfortunately, due to financial issues it wasn’t possible to attend a University at first. Even though I had a high school diploma, I had to get another one when I came to the U.S. I went to Brighton High school to obtain my high school diploma while learning English and adjusting with the American culture. In my high school journey, I was able to make new friends and join multiple clubs such as the Robotics and the volleyball team while getting A’s in all my classes. Having perseverance and dedication allowed me to finish high school for the second time (first diploma was from Cape Verde) with a GPA of 4.2 out of 4.0 and I was able to get a full-ride scholarship to Wentworth Institute of Technology. Things finally started to get better.
Being accepted at Wentworth with the City of Boston scholarship was like a dream come true. I am currently a rising senior at Wentworth, and I was able to get out of my comfort zone by pursuing leadership positions for clubs. In my freshman year, I co-founded the Cape Verdean Student Association (CVSA) on Wentworth campus with the primary goal of spreading the Cape Verdean culture through various cultural events, meetings, and professional development activities. My sophomore year I joined the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and the Commuter Assistant role while being the CVSA chapter president at the time. Being part of these two clubs and being an advocate for the commuters and diversity at Wentworth allowed me to be more comfortable on campus.
I’ve met people with similar culture and ethnicity that allowed me to create a stronger bond with them. My junior year, I joined the Wentworth Track & Field team while doing all the other clubs and leadership positions. Being part of all these clubs, leadership positions, sports and being a full-time student allowed me to master my time management skills and become a better leader.
What advice do you have for students that have gone through a similar journey like yours?
BE PROUD OF WHO YOU ARE!
At times people say bad things about you or look at you in a weird way. People will have a different opinion about you. My advice is that when things like that cross your way make sure to remember who you are and your roots. By connecting with your roots, it would make you stronger than anyone trying to put you down. For instance, in my freshman year of college, my classmates didn’t want to let me speak during group presentations because of my accent. They would give me two-three sentences to say, so that the professor knows that I did something. It wasn’t till my sophomore year that I realized that if I don’t stand up for myself, no one will. Therefore, BE PROUD OF WHO YOU ARE AND EMBRACE THAT.
With a positive mindset, great things come with it. I always remember being positive about things that I wanted in my journey. By thinking positive, I was able to obtain my goals.
Always ask questions (there are no silly questions)
Always be hungry for more knowledge about things. Don’t be afraid of asking questions about things you don’t know because you might miss a big opportunity. Sometimes international students think that the door for a lot of things are closed for them because they hear people saying it, but they don’t go and ask if that’s true. Well, I say always ask questions even if they sound silly. It doesn’t hurt to know more.
Get out of your comfort zone
The only way to overcome your weakness and be a better person in life is to go out and do things that you have never done before. This way you will meet and make new friends for life. You will create a better persona of yourself.
What got you interested in Mechanical Engineering?
Growing up on a small island surrounded by a good number of natural energy sources made me believe that nature has a lot of benefits that we are not taking advantage of. As a future Mechanical Engineer, I want to be able to contribute towards the development of renewable energy sources and contribute in new ways of using it as well.
Do you have advice for students that are looking to major in Mechanical Engineering?
Know what area of Mechanical Engineering you want to focus on.
Mechanical Engineering is a big area of study and you can do anything this major. Therefore is important to know what you want to do with this degree to save you something finding a job in the future. If you can go to career fairs and ask questions about different companies so that you know what job opportunities are out there. The tech industry is changing, therefore, do your research on new tech being released out there. Also, connect with professionals on Linkedin and the STEAM Boston website.
What extracurricular activities are you involved in at Wentworth?
- Co-Founder of the Cape Verdean Student Association (CVSA)
- Commuter Assistant
- National Society of Black Engineers
- Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers
- Diversity Advocate
- Wentworth Track & Field Team
- Resident Assistant
What is your favorite place in Boston?
South Boston – Castle Island