How are you connected to the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion (CSDI) or the Office of Hispanic Initiatives (OHI)?
I’m a Goizueta Fellow, and I participate in outreach events through the OHI. Some outreach events I participated in were manning a table at the graduate student expo and volunteering at the GoSTEM event. I also was a social mentor through the SURE Program through the Center for Engineering Education and Diversity (CEED) this past summer. As a social mentor, I guided three Hispanic students as they participated in a summer research experience at Georgia Tech. I gave them advice about grad school applications and fellowships and grad school life in general.
What advice would you give to students on succeeding academically at Georgia Tech?
Since I’ve only been at Georgia Tech as a graduate student, my perspective is a little different, skewed more towards being successful in graduate classes. To be successful in graduate classes, it’s important to read the textbook and stay on track with studying the notes. It’s also essential to refresh on any undergraduate material that pertains to the course and any mathematical concepts that will be used throughout the course.
I can also speak about my undergraduate experience. I think the key to succeeding academically is to study continuously throughout the semester, and not waiting until before the exam. This is often difficult in undergrad because you’re taking so many classes, but even spending just a few minutes studying each day can make a big difference. In undergrad, I spent 15-30 minutes before each class reading the previous lecture’s notes. This helped me keep up with the class content and not fall behind. I was also able to make a list of questions that I had and could ask the professor in class.
What advice would you give to students on acclimating socially to Georgia Tech?
At Georgia Tech, especially as a graduate student, it’s very easy to feel socially isolated. As a graduate student, you’re so focused on being successful in your research and classes that it can be difficult to make the time to reach out and meet new people. I’d recommend students to try to get involved in one club. Choose something that is important to you and make an effort to get involved, whether that’s a faith-based organization, an outreach event, or a fun social club. I recommend only choosing one maybe two ways to get involved. Due to the rigor of Georgia Tech classes, it’s important to not stretch yourself too thin by participating in many extracurricular activities.
Where have you worked while at Georgia Tech, and what did you enjoy about that experience?
As a graduate student, I have worked in my research lab, the Spray Physics and Engine Research Lab (SPhERe Lab). We investigate the fuel injection process in diesel engines. As an experimental student, I spend time working in the lab with my colleagues. Our lab is a one of the labs in the Ben Zinn Combustion Laboratory. We have a high temperature, high pressure spray chamber which can simulate engine relevant conditions. I’ve enjoyed both the experimental experience (setting up my diagnostic and taking data) and the data processing experience (writing code to process the data and analyzing the results). It has been a fantastic opportunity to grow in these skills, which I believe will help me in my future career.
What has been your favorite Georgia Tech experience?
As a big sports fan, I love attending the Georgia Tech football games. I try to attend about one to two games per season. I love the Georgia Tech traditions, fight songs, and school spirit. I also enjoy the sense of camaraderie that you feel while at a game.
What are you involved with on campus, and why?
Although my time is limited as a graduate student, I’ve been involved with the Catholic Center and the OHI and CEED. It was important for me to find a faith community on campus. The Catholic Center has allowed me to grow in my faith and build community. It was also important for me to volunteer with OHI and CEED. As a Hispanic female in engineering, I’ve experienced firsthand the lack of diversity in engineering. I’ve seen the lack of support and mentorship that Hispanic students (women in particular) receive when it comes to pursuing higher education. For these reasons, it was important for me to participate in outreach events through these offices on campus.