“One of the things that I want you to walk away with today is, don’t let anyone tell you what you can do and what you cannot do. You’re the only one that can say what you can do,” she told campers.

During her climb to success, Camacho found mentors and people who believed in her, but she also encountered discrimination. This fueled her determination to prove to her naysayers, and herself, that she was intelligent, qualified and capable of overcoming stereotypes despite the cards life had dealt her.

Camacho encourages students to take a class with her at the West campus, saying, “My reviews might not be the best ones, because I am tough. I will expect the best, but I will give you the best from me.”

She challenged the mostly Latino audience in an effort to make students set high standards for themselves and strive to be the best.

“I understand where you come from, but I will train you,” Camacho said. “I’m like the military; I’ll break you and then I will make you.”

She shared her story of growing up in California, the anger that fueled her perseverance, her college experience at Wellesley — being different and not fitting in — and her teaching job at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, all along the way breaking barrier after barrier for female minorities in STEM.

Camacho closed her inspiring lecture by highlighting the diverse population of counselors, professors and staff at ASU, a resource that other universities may not have. At ASU, Latino students can find people who can relate to them — important to students who, for the first time, will leave their mostly Latino community and will be out of their comfort zone when they attend college, she said.

Catanese said that during the weeklong camp, many kids said they hadn’t had a lot of hope for going to college before now, but all of that has changed.

“They actually know there are resources for them, there’s financial aid for them, there’s people that want to help them,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if your family makes $14,000 a year or $60,000 a year. What matters is that you have a dream and you follow that dream.”

Catanese plans on holding the camp again next year, inspiring more students to pursue their dreams and go to college.