Aerospace engineer Gloria Mae Guzman remembers time at CCC

Alumnus shares life and experiences in college


Denis Perez / The Advocate

Aerospace engineer Mae Guzman speaks to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) students about her journey from Contra Costa College to UC Davis after her Stem Café seminar in GE-225 on April 4.

By Denis Perez , Editor-in-chief

To fully comprehend her class studies, senior production aerospace engineer Gloria Mae Guzman kept her hand raised and always asked questions during her time at Contra Costa College from 2005 to 2009.

Then at UC Davis (where she transferred) she participated in multiple extracurricular activities.

In her junior year at Davis she obtained a three-year internship at United Technologies Company (UTC) and since 2012 a full-time job at UTC and Guzman.

Through all that, she kept asking questions about everything she said. 

“It isn’t necessary for the people in my position to know how the aerospace technology we produce works because the plans are there for the floor engineers to follow. But I have made it a goal to be able to build them myself,” Guzman said.

Therefore, when asked what she learned at CCC that she takes with her everywhere Guzman said, “To just ask questions so you know what the hell is going on.”

Guzman spoke to students about her journey from CCC to UTC during a seminar with CCC’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) majors in GE-225 on April 4.

Guzman, who emigrated from the Philippines to the U.S. in 2002, explained her work with life-saving systems in military jets and airplanes at UTC.

“These technologies include canopy ejections, ejection chairs and rocket motors on F-16s, F-15s, F-22s, T-50s, Boeing 777s, Boeing 767s and Airbus 380s,” she said.

“I know the in and outs of the technology I work with and that has been very helpful when communicating with the customers,” Guzman said.

Because she is able to have a better conversation with her customers about the product she is building, she is able to work more efficiently with them, she said.

Chemical engineering major Vy Nguyen said when Guzman mentioned customer service being a key component to her success, there was a part of her that got excited.

“I have a part-time job as a cashier so I see that experience as a new value,” Nguyen said.

Building relationships with people is not something traditionally taught in her classes but now she sees it as helping out for her future, she said.

“I’m not the best communicator and I have an expectation that talking with people won’t be the most important thing, but I want to get used to it,” Nguyen said.

She said from Guzman’s talk she learned that part of communicating is also finding out what is going on in campus. Nguyen said  that there are a lot of college services that she doesn’t use or clubs she isn’t part of. 

Nguyen said she now would try to participate in more extracurricular activities to build up her knowledge about herself and her interests.

“When I transfer I want to be involved in things that fuel my passion rather than the courses that are just laid out for my requirements. I am doing OK in the classes, but none of them interest me the way I want them too,” she said.

STEM professor Seti Sidharta said getting students inspired is the whole point of a speaker’s time with the students.

Since Guzman was very active during her time at CCC she was always a mentor for younger students, therefore having her back to share her life with students was natural.

Sidharta said, “The more the speaker resonates with the audience, the better the message is received.” Guzman was very relatable because she is like the students.

“She was the loudest one when she was here,” Sidharta said.