CREATE Scholar Franchesca Fajardo

A Q & A with one of the scholars from the NSF-funded "Creating Retention and Engagement for Academically Talented Engineers" program. Franchesca is a member of the first cohort of CREATE program scholars.

CREATE Scholar Franchesca Fajardo

Franchesca Fajardo’s career goal is to enter industry right after graduation and to be able to gain real-life experiences throughout college with research and internships.

CREATE Scholar Franchesca Fajardo

A Q & A with one of the scholars from the NSF-funded "Creating Retention and Engagement for Academically Talented Engineers" program. Franchesca is a member of the first cohort of CREATE program scholars.

Franchesca Fajardo’s career goal is to enter industry right after graduation and to be able to gain real-life experiences throughout college with research and internships.

CREATE Scholar Franchesca Fajardo

Franchesca Fajardo’s career goal is to enter industry right after graduation and to be able to gain real-life experiences throughout college with research and internships.

Hometown: Las Vegas, Nevada

Civil Engineering Major (Class of 2023)

What got you interested in engineering?

I've been studying Engineering since freshman year of high school. My dad worked at different construction and engineering firms and I kind of got influenced because of that. But I think the moment that I really got into Engineering was when I went to Europe in Sophomore year of high school. I really admired the architecture of the buildings and how they were able to stand for so long. I started doing more research and I learned more about the different fields of engineering. I really wasn't sure if I was going to continue to pursue engineering in college but after that trip, I knew that I was on the right path.

What impact do you hope to have through your engineering career?

The impact that I hope to achieve through my engineering career is to be able to inspire other women and minorities interested in STEM fields or any other fields that they are interested in. I grew up thinking that engineering was a masculine career and that I wouldn't be able to make it far, especially as a woman of color. But I hope that throughout my engineering career, I can show people that anything is possible while hopefully breaking any stigma involving race and culture. I hope that by graduating and pursuing an engineering career, that in itself will be an impact for others to feel inspired to pursue what they wish.

What does the CREATE program mean to you?

To me, the CREATE program is an important group of people that will help me graduate and learn successfully throughout college. CREATE provides resources that I probably would not have access to if not for the program and is also a reminder for me to stay on track with my studies. I am really grateful to be a part of CREATE and grateful for the opportunity to be surrounded by talented engineers.

In what ways has your peer mentor helped you?

My peer mentor, Steffany, is really helpful with advice. When I started gaining an interest in study abroad she talked about her experiences with study abroad research and provided different resources that I can contact to learn more. Steffany also helped with thinking of long and short term goals for the semester and school year. Those goals helped me stay on track and helped me figure out where my focuses should be in college. She was also really helpful with getting familiarized with campus the first semester and the fact she checked up on us from time to time really showed how much she cared.

What advice would you give someone looking to follow in your footsteps?

An advice I would give to someone looking to follow in my footsteps is to never give up. Freshman year of college was rough for me. I went through a tough time settling into the college lifestyle. I had left my hometown and was entering a completely new city where I knew nobody. I was starting to feel lots of regret and wondered if college was right for me. First semester did not turn out well but it was definitely a learning experience. And I made myself promise to never disappoint so many others and especially myself ever again. I worked even harder the semester after and I did whatever I could to bring up my grades. Therefore as another piece of advice: I strongly recommend using ALL of your available resources: create study groups, ask questions, go to tutoring, and especially go to class. Those resources are available for a reason! So if you ever feel like falling behind, just make sure to pace yourself, you'll catch up. Don't doubt yourself and keep going.

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