Scholar of the Week

Andrea Zapata-Volkmar
University of Florida
Brady Scholarship

All her life, Andrea Zapata-Volkmar has understood the value of support, and how it can change lives. For her contributions to and guidance to minorities in STEM, Andrea was awarded the Brady Scholarship, presented by Great Minds in STEM (GMiS) at the 2019 Conference. Currently attending the University of Florida (UF), Andrea is poised to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial and Systems Engineering in December 2020.

The youngest child from a single-parent home and a first-generation college student, Andrea is no stranger to facing challenges. Though self-determined, she credits her discipline, character, and faith to her family and the experiences they have been through together. Whether it was the persistent pursuit of citizenship for 20 years or the sacrifices needed to provide her with the best education possible, Andrea’s family showed her not only their dedication but also the value in lifting others for the better of all.

With her family’s lessons and support, and strong desire to learn about the world around her, Andrea enrolled for courses at UF where she quickly excelled. Most recently, Andrea’s academic achievements earned her a selection by NASA to participate in an exclusive joint social media venture with the Department of Defense and SpaceX, and a Quality Assurance Intern position at L3 Harris Technologies.

Andrea served as a student fundraiser on behalf of the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering, where she initiated a series of successful marketing campaigns that resulted in a weekly average increase of $3,000 for scholarships with the University of Florida Foundation. Currently, Andrea serves as a representative for the UF Industrial and Systems Department for the Benton Engineering Council.

As an Event Manager for the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineering (IISE) Mentor/Mentee (M&M) program, Andrea helped facilitate the mentoring of new students by Hispanic Alumni, sharing “it's one of my favorite mentorship programs to be a part of, serving the Hispanic community as a student mentor for our future generation." Andrea’s time as the President of the UF chapter of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS) organization allowed her to organize UF volunteers who tutored and mentored students at local middle schools and high schools.

With her graduation date drawing nearer, Andrea continues on the path to her dream job of innovating industrial engineering solutions for NASA. Though she has accomplished much, Andrea has not forgotten the sacrifices that were made on her behalf and remains committed to providing the support and guidance minority STEM students need. In recognition of her role as a model student and advocate for others, Great Minds in STEM is proud to recognize Andrea as Scholar of the Week.

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