Scholar of the Week

Kaitlin Miller      
University of Houston

Kaitlin Miller, recipient of the 2016 HENAAC Scholarship sponsored by Chevron in the amount of $5,000.00, is currently a sophomore pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Houston. An ambitious and motivated student, Kaitlin is dedicated to achieving her academic goals with an eye for becoming a STEM leader, who is prepared to solve problems on a global level. Her inner drive to work hard and make a difference, has propelled her through life as she continues to excel in her academics at the University of Houston.

The Hispanic influence in Kaitlin’s life has been one of limitless empowerment. Her “Abuela” came to the U.S. through Spain and Central America, moving to New York and struggling to assimilate. Through her fierce and independent drive, her “Abuela” returned to school for a degree later in life and traveled the world. This fighting spirit is part of Kaitlin and her sister’s history and her Hispanic roots and family traditions is what makes her live her life with passion and has provided a strong moral compass and courageous spirit to do anything she sets her mind to. Choosing to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering, an often male-dominated profession, has not deterred Katilin’s ambition but fuels the drive in her to be a female STEM role model and empower those in her community to become whatever it is they want for themselves.

This past summer Kaitlin had an opportunity to study abroad and traveled to Israel and Turkey on a university sponsored trip where she immersed herself in another culture for the first time in her life. This experience was part of Kaitlin’s goal to become a well-rounded engineer, able to tackle any problem and lead others to think in broader terms as well. In an increasingly global world, the ability to work with people who think differently than she does is extremely important to Kaitlin. With the educational experiences she has now, she hopes to become a STEM leader who is prepared to solve problems on a global level.

Through Bonner Leaders service learning organization, Kaitlin has had the opportunity to tutor 7th grade students at KIPP Intrepid middle school in writing which has instilled in her a desire to one day work as a high school math teacher in inner city schools. However, Kaitlin plans to first work in the corporate field of engineering, which will provide a solid financial base to better allow her to uplift others. Kaitlin’s plans post-graduation is to enter the corporate world as a full-time engineer, spending precious time in the field, “boot to steel.” This experience and technical training will better enable her to accurately solve problems and prepare her for leadership roles. Being able to see the products of engineering first hand and see how it works, will allow her to better design and keep in mind the big picture as she designs and fixes new things.

An inner drive to work hard and make a difference has propelled Kaitlin through life. Her plans are ambitious, but she is certain that as she continues to excel as a student and involve herself in worthwhile groups and activities, her aspiration to do fulfilling work can become a reality. Focus, dedication, hard work and success is a conscious decision that Kaitlin is prepared to make as she commits to becoming a rising STEM leader and raising others around her.

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