For as long as I could remember, I enjoyed going to school because I could access books, ask questions, and challenge myself. I performed well in all subjects throughout my education, but I lacked guidance. The schools I attended often did not have counselors and my mother had only attained a primary education. As a result, by my junior year, I still did not know what college was, whether I could afford it, how’d I get there, and what I’d do there. Slowly, I began to find the answers to these questions by looking up different career paths, colleges, scholarships, and entrance requirements. While I still did not have it all figured out or fully understood the rigor of my career choice, I applied to college. Soon after, I was starting my first day at UCLA as a civil engineering student!
At UCLA, I joined the Center for Excellence in Engineering and Diversity (CEED), which helped me transition into college, provided me with resources, and partnered me with a lab where I studied the properties of construction materials for a quarter. I was fascinated by research and when the quarter was over I found a lab that conducted community-engaged research on a wide array of environmental topics that interested me. In addition to research, I also explored working in the government sector by interning at LA Sanitation where I assessed four wastewater treatment plants and reviewed industrial wastewater discharges. While both were invaluable experiences to me, I decided to pursue a PhD.
I am currently a 2nd year civil engineering PhD student at UCLA specializing in environmental engineering and water resources engineering. I still love to read, ask a lot of questions, and challenge myself daily. When I graduate, I hope to become a professor and help other Latinas obtain a STEM degree by mentoring and partnering with organizations to teach girls how to code.