Careers and civic responsibility
By Coleman Cornelius | Jan. 1, 2023
A ROBOTIC TOY DRAGON – fabricated with purple scales and butterfly wings – represents much of what Victoria Pea and her sister, Elizabeth Pea, hope to accomplish in their careers.
That might sound curious at first. Yet, the dragon’s recent creation required expertise in electrical and computer engineering and the work of a team scattered around the world; the interactive marvel went to a child with cancer who asked the Make-A-Wish Foundation for a toy dragon because she couldn’t have a dog or cat. Victoria led the project on behalf of her company, Arrow Electronics.
Advanced technical skills. Teamwork and critical thinking. Giving back to the community. These are a few hallmarks of a successful career, the sisters said.
“For me, a career is taking skill sets and things you’re passionate about to new places and spaces to make an impact. A career can take you anywhere. It’s not just about surviving – it’s pursuing a greater cause or a greater calling,” said Elizabeth, who works with her sister at Arrow.
The Pea sisters grew up in Aurora and became first-generation college students at the urging of their parents. Both attended Colorado State University in Fort Collins. In 2017, they graduated together – Victoria with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and Elizabeth with a degree in business administration and concentrations in both computer information systems and supply chain management.
HOW THEY PAID
- Multiple scholarships
- Work on campus
- Federal student loans
- Elizabeth: saved by attending community college, then transferring to gain bachelor’s degree
- Victoria: debt is manageable
- Elizabeth: debt is paid off
Victoria delivers a robotic toy dragon to a child with cancer. Photo: Ellen Jaskol
While at CSU, both sisters completed internships at Arrow Electronics, headquartered in Centennial, on the south side of Denver. When they graduated, both were hired by the global technology company, ranked No. 104 on the Fortune 500 list. Victoria is an engineering services project manager; she works with sales teams, field engineers, and on social responsibility projects. Elizabeth is a project management analyst; she evaluates international work processes and standards for success.
On any given day, the two might interact with colleagues in Mexico, England, China, or India. And both sisters, who are Black, are committed to encouraging other young people of color to seek education in science, technology, engineering, and math so they, too, are prepared for invigorating careers in STEM fields. To that end, the Pea sisters were leaders of the CSU chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers; now, they lead STEM programs for local schoolkids of color.
“I have gifts and talents I’ve been blessed with that I want to make sure I share,” Victoria said. “I think it’s important to ask, ‘What kind of impact are you making in the world?’”
Photo at top: Elizabeth Pea, left, 28, and Victoria Pea, 29, grew up in Aurora and graduated from Colorado State University in 2017. Elizabeth completed her degree in business administration; Victoria earned a degree in electrical engineering. Both work at Arrow Electronics in Metro Denver.