Hi there! My name is Marieli Rubio and I am a first-generation Latina studying Civil Engineering at Santa Clara University.
How did I become interested in engineering?
Growing up, my parents would encourage me to build and fix things when I was bored. I would make piñatas, design mini towns out of sticks, and make perfumes by mixing different plants from our garden. I’ve always been fascinated by architecture, providing clean water to communities, and the design of roads and bridges. I knew I was passionate about problem solving and helping society become more sustainable, but I was unsure which major that fell into.
When my father passed away while I was in high school, I was unsure whether college was still an option. My mom encouraged me to still apply, and I was fortunate to have received scholarships from various universities. I entered SCU undeclared unsure what major/career to pursue. I took my general ed classes, and when nothing clicked, I decided to give my interest in engineering a chance. I took an Intro to Engineering course and was instantly amazed by concepts like frugal innovation, design thinking, and the power of engineering to create change.
I transferred to Civil Engineering at the end of my freshman year and became involved in organizations like the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and Society of Women Engineers on campus. They were an extremely helpful support system, as I constantly faced imposter syndrome and questioned whether I had the brains and drive to not fail out of engineering. They provided a safe space for me to voice my concerns and meet strong and inspirational women.
With the mentality of “Haz lo que puedas, lo mejor que puedas” and “Echale ganas mija,” I have been able to navigate my way through engineering with the help of so many people. I highly recommend sending cold emails and conducting informational interviews with professionals to learn whether it is something you’re interested in doing. Find your support systems on and off campus to help you during challenging times. We all face different types of hardships, but having a growth mindset and learning from those experiences is priceless. Don’t underestimate your intelligence, and know that hard work and resilience pays off. It really comes down to confidence and believing in yourself that you can do it!
Check out my blog where I share my college experience and explore various facets of life such as health, relationships, and career exploration.