Scholar of the Week

Yessenia Toscano      
California State University, Los Angeles

As a recent graduate from California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA) with a dual Bachelors of Science in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering as well as a double minor in Mathematics and Management, Yessenia looks forward to obtaining her Master's degree to start her career in the automotive industry. Yessenia's passion for engineering is indisputable, which is why she is one of two students, who received a $2,500 Victoria Alegria Tracy Memorial Scholarship.

The Victoria Alegria Tracy Memorial Scholarship, presented by Dr. and Mrs. John Tracy, is awarded to qualifying undergraduates attending California State University, Los Angeles, in memory of Victoria Alegria Tracy, a loving and supportive mother, who had a passion for education and was always encouraging students to continue along in their studies, and persist through the challenges.

Yessenia is a self driven well-rounded individual, who maintains balance between financial independence and good academic standing. As her parents moved out of state, Yessenia was forced to live on her own. She began working for a catering company, in 2006, at the Sunset Restaurant and Bar and achieved the title of captain. There, she is responsible for organizing and maintaining the facility for special events as well as supervise her staff of eight employees. Having to become financially independent, Yessenia has learned to juggle two, sometimes three jobs. She was a math tutor at the Theodore Roosevelt Middle School in Glendale from 2010-2011 and a math facilitator at CSULA. In 2012, she became a student assistant for the mechanical engineering department, where she learned to recognize and resolve stressful situations.

Looking to apply the knowledge learned in the classroom, Yessenia joined and became the team lead for the EcoCar2 Hybrid Vehicle Design team at CSULA, in 2013. She managed her team to make sure deadlines and assignments were completed and learned to work with Nastran NX and Teamcenter to create an FEM model. Looking to contribute to her community by providing eco-friendly cars, this opportunity was the perfect fit for her. As her advisor, Dr. Guillaume stated, "She is always working toward bettering herself by steering her future career in a way that challenges her talents while maximizing her interest."

Contributing to her community is Yessenia’s passion, and she has done so by staying active in organizations that brings awareness of Latinas in engineering. Yessenia is a member of the Society of Women's Engineering (SWE), American Society of Civil Engineering, and Society of Hispanic Engineers and Science Students (SHESS). She also participated in the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), where she was the membership chair in her freshman year, the Vice President in her sophomore year, and membership chair in her junior year. Yessenia was also an active member of the American Society of Mechanical engineers (ASME), where she served as the freshman representative, and in her junior year she was treasurer. She was also a part of the AERO Design team in her freshman, sophomore and junior year. She is also the recording secretary member of the Pi Tau Signma honor society. Through her intensive extracurricular achievements, Yessenia has managed to maintain a competitive academic standing.

Yessenia is truly an outstanding individual with an abundance of passion for helping her community. She states, "In 25 years, I see us having a different world; I picture more hybrids on the road and even all-electric vehicles... But why should I wait 25 years to see my involvement to the community and see how my degree will impact me, when I can start now?" Making the world we all live in a better place is Yessenia's goal, and she is well on her way to making that difference, one car at a time.

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