Sr. Controls Engineer
Scientific Systems- Ride
Walt Disney Parks & Resorts
It is the dream of every employer to find an intern so good that they simply have to hire them when their internship ends, just to keep them in the company. That is exactly what The Walt Disney Company did when they transitioned Paula Quintana from her internship as an Electrical Engineer in the Architecture and Facilities Engineering division and hired her as Senior Controls Specialist in their Rides division. Employers simply do not want to let her to leave, so naturally she combines her full-time responsibilities at Disney with a continuing DSP consultancy with her previous company, Canam Technology (CTI), where she helps design radio protocols.
Growing up in San Jose, Costa Rica, Ms. Quintana had no idea that one day she would be designing the Trim Brake Controller for the Big Thunder Mountain attraction at the Disneyland Resort or defining technical requirements for a vehicle pusher at the Space Mountain attraction. She did know, however, that she loved science and engineering and earned her B.S. in Electrical Engineering magna cum laude from one of the best schools in the country, the Costa Rica Institute of Technology (ITCR).
After graduation, Ms. Quintana briefly taught at her alma mater, before joining the R&D unit of CTI, the company she had worked with on her graduate project, a DSP-based AM & FM multi-language emergency override system for the company’s RF repeaters, as an Electrical Engineer. Moving to CTI’s headquarters in Long Beach, California, she quickly earned her M.S. at California State University, Long Beach, published three academic papers, worked as a research assistant for the university, and received a place on the “Graduate Dean’s List of University Scholars and Artists” for the electrical engineering department, the school’s award for the top graduate student in their respective field.
Ms. Quintana is a member of the Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers (IEEE), the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) and is a dedicated mentor to junior staff at work.
-By Vinnie Longobardo