Scholar of the Week

Liliana Montes De Oca
California State University, Los Angeles

Liliana Montes De Oca was born to hard working Mexican parents who inspired her to make the most of her life. Being the youngest in her family, Liliana’s parents were protective yet supportive of her and her decisions. They encouraged her to choose a career that would afford her security and stability. She watched attentively as they sacrificed their dreams to give their children opportunity in the United States – only to come to the realization that the best work they could find in the U.S. would be in a factory. 

Liliana used her upbringing and her parents tenacity as fuel to help her get started on a path to success. She enrolled at California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA) as a mechanical engineering major and is expected to graduate in 2017. Quickly realizing that she had just walked into a very male dominated field, she decided to join an on-campus organization to empower herself and continue to explore her passion for the automotive industry. 

Liliana realizes that Hispanics are underrepresented in STEM fields and it has become one of the main motivations behind her pursuit of higher education. She hopes to represent the Hispanic community as a leader on and off campus. Liliana has managed to maintain a record of academic excellence while participating in professional development opportunities. She still finds time to engage in community service activities and consistently participates in CSULA programs designed to help middle and high school students enter the STEM fields.

Liliana’s story of stuggle, pain and problems have shaped her character into an outstanding strong individual in society. She has self-motivation and a drive to succeed, regardless of the circumstances faced in the field of engineering. For these reasons, Liliana was named a 2015 HENAAC Scholar, who received the Victoria Alegria Tracy Memorial Scholarship.

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