STEM Professional of the week

Jose Cartagena      
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts

Jose Renato Cartagena’s life started as a young man on a farm, where he was raised by his mother who was a Vice Principal of the school she founded in their home town. At the age of 12 he was influenced by his priest to attend seminary school, where he would remain for four years. 

By the time Jose entered high school, his passion for engineering was clear. He enrolled in Technical Institute Ricaldone, Silesian high school in the country’s capital and shortly after began pursuing an electrical engineering degree at UCA Jesuit University. That goal, however, was cut short due to the turmoil caused by the country’s on-going Civil War. Jose was six months shy of completing the program when he decided to seek a more stable environment in the United States. He came to the U.S. from El Salvador with a vision and determination to succeed.  

Jose made a home in Los Angeles, CA and quickly dedicated day and night hours to learn the English language. A year and a half later, Jose would once again begin his journey to higher education. He was accepted to California State University Long Beach (CSULB) as a sophomore in the electrical engineering department. Unfortunately, he was only able to transfer one year’s worth of credit but unfazed, Jose studied and worked full time eventually earning that once elusive degree. 

During his senior year at CSULB, Jose was accepted into Disneyland Resort’s internship program. He hasn’t looked back since. Jose is currently a manager for Project Engineering at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. In this position, he is accountable for providing architecture and engineering support to the entire Disneyland Resort.  He ensures all projects and assets are safe and code compliant. 
For more than 15 years, Jose has been a member of the Electrical Engineering Advisory and Development Committee at California State University, Long Beach. This program improves the curriculum for the university’s electrical engineering students. It uses feedback from the industry and coursework assessment as they apply to real world engineering. 

His religious training and desire to help others never left him and he continues to serve both the educational institutions and the Salvadoran community. A strong presence in the Salvadoran community in California has demonstrated his commitment to mentoring and encouraging youth to obtain a higher education with an emphasis on STEM programs.
Jose is a Registered Professional Engineer and holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from California State University, Long Beach. In October, Jose was honored with a Luminary Award by Great Minds in STEM.

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