MARIANA CARVALHO

Solutions Engineer, Dell

Founder, Brazilians in Tech

 

Heritage: Brazilian

By: Frank Morris Lopez

 

Awards & Recognitions:

  • Young Hispanic Corporate Achiever HACR, 2021

  • Equals in Tech Brazilians in Tech Award Finalist, 2021

  • Women TechNetwork Community Award Finalist, 2021

  • Pass It On Award from Anita Borg Institute, 2018 

  • Quality Drive Management Award, FedEx, 2017

Mariana Carvalho has made several huge jumps in her life — leaps of faith that would improve not only her life, but ultimately the lives of others.

 

Six years ago, in a bid to shift careers, Carvalho moved from her home country of Brazil to Jackson, Mississippi. “Since then, I’ve realized my skin has a color and my voice has an accent,” she said.

 

Carvalho left behind her career in marketing for a whole new world in computer science. She knew it was the future — a field where the money was good and jobs were in demand — and a field that could use more representation from people like her.

 

While in the computer science master’s program at Jackson State University, Carvalho found herself extremely isolated. “We were a class of 20 people, and just three of us were women,” she recalled. “I knew I had to find my tribe.”

 

She set out to do just that. Scholarship opportunities allowed her to travel to 10 states with women wanting to pursue a career in technology. “There’s a space for us. You just really have to pave where you want to go,” Carvalho said.

 

Her career would then take her to Boston — “another culture shock,” she said — where she landed a job at Dell Technologies.

 

Frustrated at times by the male-dominated industry, Carvalho continued to seek out connections with others. She found groups for women in technology and groups for Spanish-speaking Latinas in technology, but nothing really catering toward Portuguese-speaking Latinas from Brazil. In 2019, she formed Brazilians in Tech, a nonprofit dedicated to helping Brazil close the gender gap in technology. 

 

“How can I tell a girl who lives in a remote area in Brazil that she can code if she doesn’t have access, the sources, or if she doesn’t see someone like me?” Carvalho said.

 

In the past few years, Carvalho has mentored more than 130 women and people of color, working with organizations in both the United States and Brazil.

 

While Carvalho may have won many honors over the short span of her new career, she is not satisfied. “Just because you win an award doesn’t mean you stop what you’re doing,” she said.

 

In the end, it’s helping others that drives her work. “My mother tells me I cannot hug the entire world,” Carvalho said. “Though we can’t do everything, we can do anything.”

 

And that’s something she hopes other Latinas — Brazilians included – will take to heart.