Scholar of the Week

Gema Loera      
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

Gema Loera is a rising senior pursuing a civil engineering degree at California State Polytechnic University of Pomona. In fall 2014, as a Class of 2014 HENAAC Scholar, she received a $1,000 HENAAC Scholarship sponsored by Southern California Edison.

A hard-working student, Gema has stayed focused on her studies, despite the diagnosis of her mom, with liver cancer. In her own words, “A STEM leader never gives up, and it is always competing to be the best of the best though at the same time is humble in its triumphs.”

Gema has received numerous awards and honors including the National Associated of Women in Construction, Inland Empire Chapter Scholarship, Southern California Association of Governments Scholarship, Riverside Construction Company Harmon/ Lounsbury Scholarship and Women’s Transportation Seminar Inland Empire Scholarship. Gema has also been on the Dean’s list since 2013.

She is a member of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and Society of Hispanics of Professional Engineers (SHPE) . She has also volunteered with the Western Riverside Council of Governments, in Riverside, CA, where she led field investigations, surveys, impact studies, and research to compile and analyze data on economic, social, regulatory, and physical factors affecting land use.

Gema plans on earning her professional engineering license. After obtaining her masters degree, Gema has an ambitious plan of starting her own minority-owned business. Her plan is to go into business, with her sisters, who also will have graduated with an engineering or architecture degree, and focus their efforts on the Hispanic community. Her motivation to continue growing in this field is to create better housing designs and more effective construction codes that will serve to protect people living in earthquake-prone environments like California and Haiti.

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