Scholar of the Week

Guadalupe Cortes      
California Polytechnic University, Pomona

Guadalupe Cortes was awarded a 2016 HENAAC Scholarship sponsored by Edison International in the amount of $2,000.00. Currently a senior at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, she is pursuing a degree in Civil Engineering. A highly ambitious and driven student, Guadalupe hopes to be an inspiration to other students, particularly Hispanic women, to pursue a degree in engineering. “My culture, professional aspirations and outreach within the Hispanic community has given me the qualities to strive for success and be an inspiration to others by one day becoming a licensed civil engineer in the state of California.”

When Guadalupe began considering college, she had not heard of the acronym or meaning of STEM. Guadalupe did not personally know any engineers, much less Hispanic engineers when she chose to study civil engineering. Once she was introduced to the field of engineering, she quickly found her calling and knew that it was important to educate others about STEM careers.

Being a first-generation college student meant that Guadalupe had to navigate her way through uncharted territory, a path that has required a tremendous amount of work and determination. Through her involvement in various clubs and organizations, she networked with upperclassmen and graduate Hispanic engineers, who motivated her to follow in their footprints. Guadalupe found herself seeking opportunities to be more involved with promoting engineering to minority students. She found these leadership opportunities with the Society of Hispanics in Science and Engineering (SHES). In SHES, she has participated in outreach events at elementary and high schools where she talked to students about STEM careers.

Guadalupe knew she wanted to choose a career that not only provided stability in her life, but that would make an impact on the greater good. She gained real-world experience in civil engineering during her internship at the Eastern Municipal Water District in Perris, CA. During her internship, she was assigned to the task of updating the website with the current O&M manual and was exposed to various components of the wastewater treatment facility as well as each of the processes.

As a member of the engineering honor society, Tau Beta Pi, Guadalupe is well on her way to graduating with a civil engineering degree this June and becoming licensed in the state of California. She is aware that this will require focus and hard work and is up for the challenge. Ultimately, Guadalupe hopes to be an inspiration to future Latinas in STEM and a motivating factor for them to pursue a degree in engineering.

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