STEM Professional of the week

Carolina Harris      
Chrysler Group LLC

Ever since she was a little girl, Carolina Harris knew she wanted to get to know the world and travel. She also knew she liked math and science, so when faced with the choice, it made sense for her to attend a Technical high school in her native Mexico. During this time, she studied English for three years, not fully understanding at this time how much this would benefit her in the future.

After graduating from high school, Carolina continued embarking on her educational journey, where she would delve deeply into her passion for the sciences, eventually earning an Industrial Engineering degree from the Mexican National Technical Institution in Mexico City. Soon after graduating from college, she was hired by a local company that manufactured small engine parts, seals and gaskets. Since Carolina had studied English, she was the only engineer who spoke the language well in her company. This would be key in separating herself from the rest of her fellow engineers and gave her the opportunity to travel to Michigan to learn about manufacturing processes and production lines. Carolina’s journey to the United States officially began in 1996 and after three years in the States, she found herself interviewing with one of the automotive industry giants – Chrysler.

Today, as an accomplished and innovative project engineer with more than 20 years of experience in the automotive and manufacturing industries, Carolina has demonstrated her effectiveness as a leader. Carolina started as a release engineer, working with chassis components for the PT Cruiser, and is now in her first years as a Program Management Innovation Specialist for Chrysler LLC. In this capacity, she facilitates and leads innovation workshops with cross functional teams to compile top ideas through affinity techniques. In the process, she works with internal and external resources to quickly prototype and prove customer value for implementation in future programs.

Her project leadership role on Chrysler’s Fiat 500e program was effectively notable in the areas of translating customer interface to engineering action on Chrysler’s first ever all electric vehicle. Carolina brought a balance of customer empathy, creativity and engineering to her work. She translated the customer voice into proposals for the development team to focus discussion and accelerate successful execution.

Carolina knows that having a degree in STEM has allowed her the experiences to learn, grow and contribute in many different areas. The young girl who once dreamed of exploring the world is now able to do so, because she understands that “with a STEM degree, the sky is the limit.”

Carolina earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from the National Polytechnical Institute in Mexico City, Mexico and was recognized as a Luminary Honoree at the 26th Annual HENAAC Conference in October of 2014.

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