Inspiring women in STEM: Olivia’s story

Apr 5, 2023

As the first in her family to attend university and to become an engineer, Olivia is determined to set an example that inspires other women in STEM. Growing up in a small indigenous community in Mexico, she dreamed of a life of independence beyond traditional gender roles. Her family’s long journey to the United States during her teen years only deepened her resolve. She says, “In my home culture and in other cultures around the world, women are supposed to just get married and take care of children. I wanted to show myself and my sisters that we could all succeed in higher education, even in male-dominated STEM fields.”
Olivia threw herself into her studies at her local community college: learning English, her third language, and enrolling in as many advanced math classes as she could. Soon, with the encouragement of her professors, she transferred to Washington State University to pursue a degree in Civil Engineering with a focus on infrastructure and the environment. She says, “I feel like I can make a difference in teaching new generations about the impact we humans have had on Mother Nature.”
For Olivia, the WWIN Star Scholarship has been a source of personal inspiration and encouragement as well as financial support that has removed roadblocks and distractions from her path. She says, “The stories of other women really inspired me, and receiving the scholarship helped relieve my financial stress. Now, my sole priority is doing well in all my classes and realizing my dream of becoming an engineer.”
Olivia’s success has already inspired two of her sisters to follow her to WSU, one of whom is also pursuing a STEM major. “I’m so proud to feel like I have made an impact on all of them,” she says. “Sometimes we need a little push to believe in ourselves – and I want to inspire more women to go for it! I strongly believe making education more accessible to women can bring great benefits to our society.”


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