Anne Mayoral is the program director for Girls in Engineering (GiE), Berkeley Engineering’s signature outreach program. Anne is a rocket scientist turned toy and exhibit designer, with a passion for hands-on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) education. She believes strongly in “learning through play” and encourages learners to get their hands dirty as a means for developing intuition, a deep understanding of the world, and comfort with making mistakes. Anne strives to promote diversity in engineering and increase access for underserved and underrepresented populations; cultivate curiosity and appreciation for the natural world; create safe, supportive and welcoming learning environments; and build capacity through learner-led, inquiry-based opportunities and empowered making. Anne earned a B.S. and M.S. in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and a B.A. in industrial design from the Academy of Art University.
How did your career path lead you to your current role?
I started as a defense contractor, mostly doing signal processing and algorithm development; it was the field experiments and hardware design I loved, though. But I felt hesitant to ask questions and didn’t know how to tinker. So I pursued toy design to develop those skills and, secondarily, to design hands-on museum exhibits to help others like me. As a designer, I had was able to work on a wide variety of projects, including helping design an indoor mini-golf course; re-imagining afterschool STEM programs; collaborating with museums; developing educational tools and curricula; and building movie props and a museum exhibit. My current position felt like a natural extension of my prior work, and I’m fortunate that I get to put all these skills to use.
What exciting projects are you working on?
I’m expanding GiE to include year-round programming, including lab and campus tours, STEAM workshops, and a spotlight speaker series, all geared toward the K-12 audience. These events will offer more exposure to what a STEAM career could look like and give the public a chance to connect with the campus community.
Besides your work, what’s something that you’re passionate about?
The environment and living in harmony with nature. While not always easy, I try to walk this lovely planet as gently as possible and give back as much, if not more, than I take. This attitude permeates everything I do. It helps me be resourceful, think creatively, and act intentionally. Part of that includes creating as little waste as possible and designing and engineering for “cradle-to-cradle.” It takes extra work and planning, but I think it’s worth it!
What’s your favorite spot on campus?
There are so many lovely spots—Cal has a gorgeous and vibrant campus! If I had to pick, I’d say sitting by Strawberry Creek near the statue of coach Pappy Waldorf sipping a tasty mug of hot chocolate from Café Think.