Scholar of the Week

Leticia Santana      
Cal State LA

Leticia Santana, a junior mechanical engineering student, at California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA), is the recipient of a 2013 HENAAC/Victoria Alegria Tracy Memorial Scholarship. She was among two recipients receiving a $2,500 scholarship on behalf of Dr. and Mrs. John Tracy.

The Victoria Alegria Tracy Memorial Scholarship was initiated in honor of Dr. Tracy’s mother, Victoria Mari Alegria Tracy, who had a passion for education, and always encouraged students to continue with their studies, and persist through the challenges they encounter. This scholarship is awarded to an outstanding STEM female student attending CSULA.

Leticia Santana has had a passion for car engines for as long as she can remember. When she told her father she wanted to be a mechanic, he replied, “You can take mechanics to the next level.” This marked the beginning of Leticia’s drive for a higher education, and it is evident through her many extracurricular activities, leadership positions as well as her well maintained GPA in a rigorous mechanical engineering program with an emphasis in thermal systems.

Leticia is the youngest of seven siblings, and she is the first to attend a four year university. Experiencing first-hand the challenges of attending a university, she aspires to be an inspirational role model by advocating STEM degrees to younger generations from underrepresented communities. She is well on her way of achieving this goal by actively participating in the Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) Program, the Society of Hispanic Engineering and Science Students (SHESS), the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), and Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE).

Having overcome every obstacle that crossed her way, it is no surprise that she assists her professor in teaching Jiu Jitsui and Tae Kwon Do to a class of 30 students looking to obtain a black belt. She also instills discipline, respect and confidence, so that the students can apply these qualities in pursuing a higher education.

She is described by her colleagues as “always willing to give a helping hand and professional advice over and above her normal call of duty.” Her mission is to advocate STEM. As she states, “I am a mountain climber that will not stop climbing till I get to the top of the mountain.”

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