“Complex” is one way of describing Giorgio Trettenero's Hispanic background. Trettenero was born in Peru; he then spent ages five to eight in Chile because of his father's job, and subsequently lived in Colombia until coming to Georgia Tech for college. He's currently a third-year student in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE).
“I do feel very connected to Peru, but I spent a lot of time in Colombia,” Trettenero said. “Those are my deepest roots, but Peru is where my family is. I wouldn’t say I have a favorite country, but instead, something to love from both places.”
For Trettenero, the hardest part of moving frequently was having to leave family, friends, the culture, and the geography of each country behind. “But you can always take something with you,” he noted.
Trettenero has never stopped eating Peruvian food and listening to Peruvian and Colombian music, and he has kept letters and a Chilean flag from his friends in Chile. He also keeps a time capsule in Colombia filled with pictures with friends, memories from events, and souvenirs from the different countries he’s lived in. Even in Georgia, he has found a taste of home at an international farmers market that carries Peruvian, Colombian, and Chilean foods and candies.
Trettenero has also identified benefits from living in various countries, as it has made him more open to meeting different people and stopped him from making assumptions.
“I think even when coming to Tech and meeting a lot of other people from different Hispanic places, the main thing you notice is the presence of stereotypes,” he explained. “Some people have never left Peru, Chile, or Colombia before. People from Peru will say stereotypical stuff about people from Chile, like commenting on how they speak. When I hear that, I’ll say, ‘I’ve lived there. I know them. I don’t think you should say that.’”
At Georgia Tech, Trettenero has found a tight community in the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), through which he has met friends who make him feel like he’s back at home. He has also gained many professional experiences provided by the organization.
“In STEM, even though it’s growing as a field in Latin America, job prospects don’t look that good,” Trettenero said. “Whenever we do talk about opportunities for Hispanics in STEM, we talk about moving to the U.S. or Europe.”
Now that he is at the Institute, Trettenero has been taking advantage of every opportunity possible to enhance his trajectory toward a career in STEM. His current career goals are to start out in software engineering and then later move into a management role.
“The Hispanic presence in STEM has been growing very rapidly,” he said. “Something I appreciate a lot is diversity. I think the best thing about having Hispanic people in STEM jobs is being able to provide new perspectives to you and the company as a whole.”
H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering