Maria Fernandez Porrata has been a mentor in the South Florida region for 16 years. She was first introduced to Future City in 1999 when her son participated. Seeing her son compete got her excited about the program. A civil engineer and the past president of the Miami-Dade American Society of Civil Engineers as well as the Cuban American Association of Civil Engineers, Maria was well suited to become an engineer mentor.
Maria’s best memory of Future City was when she brought the students from the 2013 South Florida team to the White House Science Fair. “I was emotional seeing our group of girls in the White House speaking to the President about their model and ideas for a cities of the future. I grew up in Communist Cuba where that didn’t seem possible.”
Maria’s role as an engineer mentor has enabled her to be a role model for young women in the program. “I want to be able to show girls that they can be engineers and the field needs them! Future City gives girls the exposure to engineering and shows them the skills that go into it, such as communication and presentation, planning, and teamwork. At the end of the competition I see them grow and their confidence soars from everything they’ve learned.”