Scholar of the Week

Cristina Chavez
University of Notre Dame
Personal Donor - Stephanie Aceves

The mantra “Anything is possible if you’re a Chavez” has always been in the mind of Cristina Chavez and is exemplified by her strong commitment to the pursuit of a STEM career. In recognition of her outstanding work and continued dedication to supporting students in STEM, Cristina was awarded the 2019 Latina STEM TEAM Scholarship by Great Minds in STEM. This scholarship was made possible through the generosity of a personal donation from Stephanie Aceves, who herself is a GMiS Scholar Alumni.  Currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Notre Dame, Cristina plans to graduate in May 2020.

Cristina attributes a great deal of her drive to her Grandmother, whose pride, determination, and self-reliance all served to inspire her to seek a career in engineering. Though she is a petite woman, Cristina’s Grandmother has made a giant impact on her life, and she shares, “She has encouraged me to be myself and explore all that may be offered to me, and as long as I am confident and driven, I can succeed.”

Since the moment she began attending the University of Notre Dame, Cristina involved herself in the school’s academic community, joining the Balfour-Hesburgh Scholars Program aimed at helping students from underrepresented populations thrive on campus. Through her continued involvement, Cristina has served as a mentor and tutor to students like herself in years prior. In addition to her work with the Balfour Program, Cristina worked as Makerspace Teaching Assistant for the Notre Dame Mechanical Engineering Department, guiding mechanical engineering students through the process of rapid-prototyping through 3D-printing.

Through exposure to spy-craft and espionage work in a high school course, coupled with her love of STEM, Cristina was inspired to pursue an Intern position at the Central Intelligence Agency. Cristina’s work at the Agency gave her real-world experience and motivation to pursue a career in Intelligence..

In her sophomore year, Cristina joined the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center Student Advisory Committee (DPAC), where she promoted artistic events and Hispanic culture, additionally serving the Cavanaugh Hall Council as an Academic commissioner. Cristina’s proudest work was through the School’s Society of Women Engineers (SWE) student chapter, where in addition to mentoring young women entering the field of engineering, she helps organize and participates in Big Sis-Lil Sis, a program designed to help older SWE members mentor new freshmen during their beginning year.

Cristina continues to serve the STEM community as a role model to others and seeking ways to help others achieve their goals. Though she has achieved much on her own, Cristina remembers the determination of her Grandmother, inspiring her to push further. For her academic excellence and efforts to support students in STEM, GMIS looks forward to her future career and is proud to recognize Cristina as Scholar of the Week.

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