It was ten years ago that Lyn Gomes first saw an announcement for a Techbridge Role Model Training through Chabot Space & Science Center, and thought it was the perfect opportunity. When she was a student at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Lyn remembers being the only woman in her mechanical engineering classes, and was determined to give back. Since graduating, Lyn had considered volunteering with a cause for girls to pass on what she’d learned in becoming a mechanical engineer, but worried about saying the wrong thing, talking over the girls’ heads, or not knowing how to manage the classroom.
“On my first classroom visit, I remember being nervous,“ Lyn recalls, but reminded herself “there is nothing worth doing that doesn’t scare you at first.”
A life-long lover of making, creativity, and taking things apart, Lyn told the girls about her hobbies, her childhood, and her job. As an engineer, Lyn tunes green buildings to save energy as a Commissioning Agent and Mechanical Engineer at kW Engineering where she is a licensed professional engineer, LEED Accredited Professional, and a CLCATT (a licensed California Lighting Control Acceptance Test Technician). The girls responded with such excitement, and she had so much fun with them, she left feeling thoroughly inspired and energized. Lyn has been a supporter and role model ever since.
Lyn now has a collection of the many thank-you notes she’s received from students and Techbridge program coordinators. Over the years, Lyn became a favorite in the classroom, and eventually was invited to join the Techbridge Board and Bay Area Advisory Council.
Among her favorite memories with Techbridge is a visit to Lincoln Elementary School a few years ago. The 5th grade girls were younger than she was used to and she felt uncertain how the afternoon would pan out, but was happily surprised. “They were so excited about being able to take something apart,” says Lyn, “They were so interested in what it was, and what was inside, and how it worked, and what else they could do with it!” She loved the chaotic excitement about the experiment, and enjoyed letting the students explore.
“Other girls wanted to take apart the motors and I was like ‘YEAH let’s take apart the motors!’”
When asked her main advice for new or current role models, Lyn suggests “Don’t be afraid to gush about what you do.” She went on, “engineers are taught to be very formal, and we aren’t taught to change the presentation style to other audiences. The difference [in showing your passion] is really huge.”
About her work with Techbridge, Lyn says, “I am proud to be a part of a program that gives girls a safe place to show their interest in STEM and helps them develop confidence in their abilities.” She goes on, “I make a difference. But I can only make a difference because of Techbridge. For me it is the best volunteer outreach program that I have ever been a part of!”
Lyn continued, “I love the results that Techbridge gets through their longitudinal surveys and the hard number results. I have really loved watching Techbridge grow and blossom.”
The Techbridge team has so much respect for Lyn, and it was heartwarming for us to hear her praise. Today, we celebrate Lyn in this public thank you note: On behalf of the many girls whose lives you’ve impacted, for your passion and countless hours, for being a champion of Techbridge, thank you Lyn!