Scholar of the Week

Cynthia Morales      
University of Texas at El Paso

Cynthia Morales was a freshman at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), pursuing a mechanical engineering degree, this past academic year. As the first to attend college in her family, understanding that perfection comes from error has eased the weight that comes from being the first to experience college. With the thought that a degree in engineering would be especially difficult for a female Hispanic, she followed Robert Arrighi's philosophy for motivation, "The way you learn anything is that something fails, and you figure out how not to have it fail again." It is this quote that has given her confidence to strive for exceptional academic performance.

Graduating from Father Yermo High School (FYHS) with an outstanding 3.98 GPA, is a testimony of her vast academic achievements, and is evident why Cynthia received a U.S. Navy STEM Scholarship in the amount of $10,000 toward her first year of studies. The U.S. Navy STEM Scholarship is GMiS most competitive scholarship for incoming first-year students attending a Hispanic-Serving Institution in pursuit of a STEM degree.

Having a clear understanding of the difficulty in obtaining a position with her eventual employer, NASA, Cynthia is determined to achieve the best in her academics which cannot go unnoticed given the numerous awards she earned. In high school she placed third in her science fair along with an Honor roll award and National Honor Society diploma. She was also named Secretary of the National Honor Society in 2011 and took on the role of President in 2012. It is no surprise why Juan Garcia, her math teacher, described Cynthia as "consistently demonstrat[ing] an ability to rise to any challenge that she faced." Having ranked 6 out of 52 students at FYHS demonstrates her capabilities in overcoming any obstacle on her path in her endeavor for success.

Cynthia aims for exceptional academics. She realizes a strong academic foundation is critical as a future professional engineer. Helping her community with projects that will advance their technological resources and positively impact people's health is her ultimate ambition. She desires to manage a company based on robotics, mechanics and prosthetics to improve the health of her community. As she continues to stimulate her interest in mechanical engineering, she keeps in mind Cory Doctorow's advice, "We don't care about what you did yesterday--we care about what you are going to do tomorrow." With this in mind, she aspires to become an engineer that will transform tomorrow through the development of new life enriching devices.

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