A Strong Advocate for Diversity


Gracieli Posser, Ph.D., was born in Tapejara, Brazil, a very small town, where she lived on a farm until she was 12 years old. Gracieli was 10 years old when she saw a laptop for the first time. It belonged to her uncle, who was studying computer science, and she was fascinated by it. It was then she began saying she would study computer science like her uncle.

As she got older, she forgot about her fascination with technology and instead explored other career options, like math, biology, and pedagogy. When she was finishing high school and decided which courses to take during her first semester at Universidade Regional Integrada do Alto Uruguai e das Missões, computer science caught her attention once again. Studying computer science allowed her to work during the day and study at night. As she navigated the computer science space, she quickly realized it was a male-dominated field, which she hadn’t previously known because her parents never treated any career as gender-based.

So, when she saw her computer science class list and realized there were very few women in the class, that didn’t faze her until her first days at the university. At that time, it was uncommon to have women in technology classes and some students underestimated them. Luckily, she had great professors and classmates who supported these women and diversity in tech. Gracieli continued her education and obtained a B.S. in computer science. She graduated with two other women and was recognized by the Brazilian Computer Society as the best student in her class.

Helping Others

Gracieli feels very lucky to have had great teachers along her journey, and while attending university, she used her strong background in math to help other classmates.

Gracieli says students in the United States have many more opportunities and resources than students in Brazil. While the universities in Brazil have very good curricula, they lack financial investment, so professors must do a lot with very limited resources, she says. Gracieli’s favorite subjects were always related to math, physics, digital circuits, and logic. Those drove her to pursue a master’s and Ph.D. in microelectronics, both from Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul.

Learning and Teaching

Gracieli, who works for the computational software company Cadence, was introduced to the company’s tools during the first semester of her master’s program. She used the Cadence Virtuoso platform first, and then the Genus synthesis and Innovus implementation solutions. She enjoyed working with the tools so much that she began helping as an assistant teacher in other classes that used the tools. For Gracieli, to be working with sophisticated tools from a large company like Cadence was a dream.

When she got the opportunity to intern at Cadence in its Austin, Texas, office, she jumped at the chance. Working in industry is much different than working at a university, and it was a very challenging transition, especially in the first two months. But she loved her team and the work she did, and she eventually received an offer to work at Cadence full-time.

Working with a diverse team empowers her to advocate for more diversity. Her team members serve as an example that diverse teams and diverse ideas complement each other and build very strong working relationships.

Following Her Passion

What most excites her about her work is problem-solving and the idea of developing and having access to technology that won’t be widely available for another five years. Building the future amazes her.

Gracieli is a passionate advocate for the inclusion of women in tech. She is a member of multiple organizations within Cadence, including its women in technology scholarship committee, digital and signoff group, new college graduate committee, women’s voices groups, and Latinx and women groups.