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“My first scholarship was from the Boeing Com- pany, and I was a NACME (National Action Council for Minorities in Engineer- ing) scholar for several years,” she recalled. “Fi- nancial aid covered almost all my tuition when I was an undergraduate. When I got to graduate school, I received a fellowship from the Center for Energy and Sustainability funded by the National Science Foundation. This center fully funded my master’s degree. I also worked part time starting my sopho-

And if you have to take a break from your studies to work full-time, this can be a learning experience too. Norma attended the University of Houston (1998-2004) as a chemical engineering student and completed three co-ops at Dow Chemical. Then she took a break to work and save money to finish her education. She says that the time in industry taught her new skills and was very valuable.

Meline Baghdasarian, California State Univer- sity, Los Angeles

more year at school and then got a paid internship the follow- ing two summers.”

Twenty-something, Cuban-born Maria R. Martinez, who came to the United States in 2009 as a high school senior, recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineer- ing from Florida International University.

“I financed my entire career through scholarships, fellowships and grants,” Maria said. “During my undergrad, I obtained the Ronald McDonald Scholarship, Bank of America Scholarship, Jorge Mas Canosa Scholarship, Florida Structure Engineering Chapter Scholarship, American Association of Civil Engineers Scholarship, and Cuban American Association of Civil Engi- neers Scholarship, among others,” she said.

Norma Manzanarez, currently a chemical engineering stu- dent at Lamar University and summer intern at Bayer Material Science in Baytown, Texas, also took the initiative and applied for scholarships.

“There are many available,” she said. “Sometimes it is just a matter of searching for them and applying. It takes some time filling out applications, but it is worth it.”

In 2006, Stanford established a $10 million financial aid program for Latin American students. The Ale- jandro and Lida Zaffaroni Scholarship and Fellowship Program was partly funded by gifts from a group of more than 35 associates who credited Zaffaroni with providing inspiration, mentorship and friendship dur- ing the course of their careers. Zaffaroni, an innova- tor in biotechnology and drug delivery systems, and generous humanitarian with close ties to Stanford, died March 1 at age 91. His deepest personal sat- isfaction came from finding new ways to apply the findings of science to the treatment of disease and the prevention of human suffering.

52 HISPANIC ENGINEER & Information Technology | Fall 2014 Maria R. Martinez, Florida State University



As a freshman, Maria was a tutor in the Florida International University Student Support Service Office. During her sopho- more year, while going to school full-time, she worked as a learning assistant in the Algebra Lab. She completed an engi- neering internship which opened doors to conduct research as a Ronald E. McNair fellow in the Titan America Structures and Construction Testing Laboratory under College of Engineer- ing and Computing Dean Amir Mirmiran, who Maria says has been a mentor and a driving force in her success.

Maria continued working with the structural design team while undertaking internships including one with the Florida Department of Transportation, earning a coveted NACME Fellowship, a Florida-Georgia Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation scholarship (FGLSAMP), and making the Dean’s list. FGLSAMP, a National Science Foundation Project, includes over 500 talented undergraduates in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) majors.

Upon graduation, Maria plans to pursue a master’s in struc- tural engineering at Stanford University, where she earned a fellowship and scholarship that will cover her tuition and living expenses.

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