Scholar of the Week

Cody Silva
University of California, Santa Barbara

As a first-generation college student, Cody Silva understands and appreciates the value of every opportunity presented to him. Drawing inspiration from his rich Hispanic Portuguese heritage, he is determined to make a meaningful impact on the global STEM community. His dedication to helping others led to his recognition as an Outstanding Graduate Student Leader at the 2019 Great Minds in STEM Conference, where he also received a 2019 scholarship from The Boeing Company. He is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB).   

During his adolescence, Cody became aware of the continual trend of trade workers and laborers in his family, along with the hardships this entailed. As he witnessed the socioeconomic impact of such a cycle, he became increasingly determined to pursue higher education.  However, he was unable to form a strong foundation during his high school years, which made the pursuit of a college degree an even greater challenge. Fortunately, Cody enrolled at American River College (ARC), where he discovered his passion for engineering. During this time, Cody ascertained that he wanted to be, as he describes, “a man of principle.” He explains, “I chose to pursue engineering to create not only a better life for myself, but to make a meaningful and lasting contribution to my country and the world.” 

At ARC, Cody joined the Math, Engineering, and Science Achievement (MESA) Program. His involvement with the organization offered him a chance to start helping others early in his academic career. While working as one of the program’s tutors, he assisted other students in areas such as chemistry, computer programming, physics, and mathematics. Cody also notes that his MESA membership has provided him with many impactful leadership opportunities. For instance, on behalf of the MESA organization, he petitioned for California legislators to provide sustained funding for programs that aim to increase Hispanic enrollment in higher education.   

After attending ARC, Cody participated in a Summer research program at Colorado School of Mines. He then went on to study at UCSB, where he is now pursuing a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering with a focus in Signal Processing and a Minor in Computer Architecture. Great Minds in STEM has sponsored Cody’s attendance to three GMiS Conferences, from which he has gained the opportunity to meet exceptional role models and find pivotal internship opportunities.  Some of Cody’s past internships include positions at both The Boeing Company and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. As a GMiS scholar, Cody has gained valuable exposure to the aerospace industry, the relevance of which he explains, “projects in aerospace intersect neatly with my academic interests in automation.” He hopes his graduate studies will prepare him for a career working with autonomous vehicles and machine perception systems.   

Throughout his journey, Cody has welcomed every challenge as a chance to grow and to motivate others through sharing his experiences. He notes, “The years that I spent in pursuit of my dreams will remind me that destiny is not preordained, and that through perseverance, life’s trials are always occasions to discover opportunity.” For both his academic achievements and his outstanding motivation to make our world a better place for all, Great Minds in STEM proudly recognizes Cody as Scholar of the Week.

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