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Ivana Nunez

“My mentor never let me get away with saying, ‘I can’t do it.’ That was never an option. I want to give my students a role model so they can see women doing this.”

Ivana Nunez teaches Electrical Installation at Queens Vocational and Technical High School in New York City – the same high school she attended. Interested in both plumbing and electrical, her mom told her to pursue electrical because “it’s less dirty and you can do that job.” She graduated, worked as an electrician and then returned to teach.

Ms. Nunez has advised the White House on bringing women and girls into trades and STEM classes. She also shared her strategies in one of the learning modules featured in last year’s Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence.

“Society, cultures, families dictate, ‘girls do this, boys do this.’ It’s time to break that barrier and show them, ‘It has nothing to do with your gender, your appearance. This is the work you have to do, it is expected of everyone. It’s time to boost these girls’ confidence.”