Scholar of the Week

Diana Castro
California State University, Long Beach

As a proud Latina, Diana Castro is the first to acknowledge her simple upbringing as her biggest motivator. Like many first-generation college students, she grew up with little and her parents struggled to help with her academics. Nonetheless, they always provided their best to create a bright future for their family. Her parents were the first to encourage Diana to pursue higher education. They taught her to value opportunities presented to her and stressed the importance of education. They instilled in her the values of hard work, determination and “familia” and taught her the importance of remaining humble and giving back to her community.

Diana is currently a senior at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), pursuing a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering with an emphasis in astronautics. Her goal is to contribute to space exploration as an engineer and astronaut, upon earning a masters and a doctoral degree. To accomplish these long-term goals, Diana goes above and beyond completing the required coursework by engaging in academic and community involvement. This past summer, she began her journey with an internship at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA.

In college, Diana quickly realized the need to bridge the gap of Latinos in engineering and became involved with minority engineering organizations. she is currently Co-President of the MAES student chapter at CSULB (Latinos in Science and Engineering) where and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE). As the MAES Science Extravaganza Chair, Diana was able to secure professionals from Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Raytheon and Hyundai to assist and enhance student learning at the Science Extravaganza. The Science Extravaganza brings hundreds of middle school students to the CSULB campus to participate in STEM workshops and competitions designed to spark their interest in STEM.

Diana has faced many ethnic and gender obstacles in her undergraduate career, which have served to motivate her to achieve her goals. She continues to be an inspiration for future generations of Hispanic students in STEM in the hopes that more Latinas will pursue engineering. With lofty ambitions and altruistic motives, Great Minds in STEM was proud to select Diana as the 2016 Outstanding Engineering Undergraduate Student Leadership Award recipient and a Ray & Carmela Mellado scholarship recipient.

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